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Integrity Of Train Rail Questioned

Sun., June 4, 1995

Burlington Northern freight trains rumbling through Rathdrum have weakened a railroad crossing, says a mechanic who works nearby.

Don Head of Norm’s Conoco Service on Idaho Highway 53 said the tracks at the Mill Street crossing dip three inches under trains’ weight and the wheels literally leave the rails when a train roars through town.

“When they get moving about 50 or 55, you can see the old tanker cars’ wheels bounce off the track,” Head said. “The rest of the train keeps it on the line.”

Burlington spokesman Gus Melonas in Seattle said the heavily used track is checked routinely and crews were expected at the site Wednesday.

“We inspect the track on a regular basis to ensure it meets FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) regulations and requirements and BN’s regulations,” he said.

Any area of track that does not meet specifications is immediately taken out of service. Melonas said the line through Idaho is among the smoothest in the nation used by Burlington Northern.

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