Feds: Chicago train derailments, track sabotage “unrelated”

5 October 2007: Trains are a favorite target for Islamic terrorists. It was just three years ago that Islamic terrorists detonated bombs on trains in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and injuring nearly 2,000 others. In fact, there have been over 200 incidents of Islamic terrorist attacks on trains, train tracks and rail facilities within the last ten years -  although these reports rarely secure the public interest they deserve in the media. Perhaps that is why many people throughout the U.S. have not heard about the sabotage to the rail tracks in the Chicago metro area discovered by authorities on 24 September 2007. Inspectors checking the track found that over 30 railroad spikes that hold down metal plates that bind the rails to wooden ties underneath were intentionally removed “by a person or persons unknown.” The spikes were taken from tracks that affect three commuter lines including the Metra Electric Line to University Park and Blue Island, and the South Shore Line to Michigan City and South Bend, Indiana Combined, these lines carry about 40,000 people daily.

According to one federal law enforcement source close to the investigation speaking to the Northeast Intelligence Network on the condition of anonymity, investigators found that the spikes were removed from a specific and strategic portion of the tracks in an open and unguarded area. According to this source, the number of spikes removed and the location from where they were taken are of particular concern, and suggest that the perpetrators had studied the lines and perhaps even conducted surveillance on the trains. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information pertaining to the potentially deadly incident.

This week, however, authorities publicly denied that the removal of the railroad spikes had anything whatsoever to do with the separate derailments of two commuter trains this week - derailments that occurred on the same track as the removal of the spikes last week. According to authorities investigating the derailments, they determined that heavy vehicular and train traffic caused a “slight separation between the tracks,” leading to the derailments of two slow-moving trains near a busy crossing on Tuesday night. The cars remained upright and no injuries were reported.

The federal law enforcement source speaking to the Northeast Intelligence Network expressed concerns of an increased number of similar incidents in the Chicago area, adding that the security is not keeping up with the demand as it should. Currently, the United States has more than 140,000 miles of track that carry millions of rail passengers every year, and hundreds of freight trains that carry hazardous materials which pose a significant risk to those who work on or live near railroad tracks.