August 8th, 2013
05:14 AM ET

Spain: Rail chiefs quizzed over safety

Spanish rail chiefs are testifying on safety before lawmakers Thursday, two weeks after 79 people died and scores were injured in a horrific derailment in northwestern Spain.

Gonzalo Ferre Molto, president of state-owned rail infrastructure company Adif, and Julio Gomez-Pomar, president of state railroad company Renfe, are expected to detail what steps are being taken to improve future rail safety.

As of Thursday, 38 people remain in the hospital, six of them - all adults - in critical condition. No nationalities were given for those still hospitalized.

The July 24 derailment near the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela shocked the nation.

Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag
April 23rd, 2013
04:22 AM ET

Oil, money, politics: Keystone XL hits a snag

The politics of oil and ecology have put President Obama between a rock and hard place, as he faces a decision on whether or not to permit construction of a new pipeline. The squeeze just got tighter with a new, negative environmental assessment.

The Keystone XL pipeline will give America energy independence, thousands of jobs, important industrial infrastructure and won't cost taxpayers a dime, say proponents. Many of them are Republican lawmakers.

It is dangerous, inherently filthy and must be stopped, say opponents, some of whom are Democrats who helped get the president elected.

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Reports: Concrete balls keeping some off Indonesian train roofs
A train passes through a newly installed iron support with hanging concrete balls in Indonesia last week.
January 23rd, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Reports: Concrete balls keeping some off Indonesian train roofs

Is the threat of getting their heads smashed by a concrete ball enough to prevent people from riding the roofs of Indonesian trains?

Depends on whom you ask.

"From our monitoring so far, the roofs of the trains have been clean (from riders) after the concrete balls were put in place,” a spokesman for state railway company Kereta Api Indonesia, Mateta Rizalulhaq, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.

The devices erected over some train tracks are called Goal Bola-bola, or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains. The balls are about 10 centimeters, or 4 inches, in diameter and are painted silver. They a strung in groups of a dozen each over each track. The first ones were deployed Tuesday.

But in a Globe report on Saturday, Eman Sulaiman, chief of the Bekasi city station, near which the first set of concrete balls were strung last week, said some people are still trying to ride, donning motorcycle helmets for protection.

Passengers are climbing onto roofs after trains pass the obstacles, according to a report Friday in the Jakarta Post.


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Filed under: Indonesia • Railroads • Transportation • World
January 18th, 2012
07:16 AM ET

Indonesian railway stringing concrete balls to deter roof riders

Indonesia's state railway, Kereta Api Indonesia, has begun stringing concrete balls over rail lines to prevent people from hitching free rides on top of its trains, according to local news reports.

The devices are called Goal Bola-bola , or goal balls, as they resemble soccer goals with the grapefruit-sized concrete balls strung from chains, according to a report in the Jakarta Post.

Trains in Indonesia are often overcrowded.

The railway said it resorted to using the concrete balls after previous anti-roof-rider efforts - including greasing the roofs, spraying roof riders with colored water, and detentions and fines - didn't stop the practice.

But a human rights group says the balls expose violators to a punishment as severe as death for a minor infraction.

“Picture this: If a student has to take the train, he or she would face the threat of being killed by the concrete balls. Now his right to get to school safely is simply violated,” Yosep Adi Prasetyo, a spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, told the Jakarta Globe.

The balls will only be used on lines that run locomotives, according to the Globe report. Lines with electric trains will use swinging doors that will allow the electrical connectors through, but not roof riders.

Adi told the Globe the real problem isn't freeloading riders, but that there aren't enough trains to accommodate demand.

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October 7th, 2011
07:50 AM ET

800 evacuated after Illinois train derailment

About 800 people were evacuated Friday morning after a train derailed in Tiskilwa, Illinois, authorities said.

The 126-car train was hauling ethanol alcohol when some of the cars derailed around 2:20 a.m., the Bureau County Sheriff's Office said.

Additional details were not immediately available.

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Florida governor won't take federal funds for high-speed rail
February 16th, 2011
09:51 AM ET

Florida governor won't take federal funds for high-speed rail

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has declined federal money to build high-speed rail projects in the state.

Filed under: Florida • Politics • Railroads • Travel