Re “Keeping cars on tracks is key” (Letters, Feb. 4): Improving the bodies of railroad tank cars is a good thing. However, there’s no way to keep tank cars on the tracks.
Put on your hiking boots and walk a few miles of railroad tracks (at a safe distance). Nearly every cleat on every railroad tie is loose or missing. Every time a railroad car’s wheel travels over the rails, the ties sink for that moment due to the weight of what the wheel supports. After occurring a few hundred or thousand times, the spikes will work themselves up and out of the tie.
There’s more to rail safety than spending billions more on new cars. Instead, why not spend more time and a lot less money on corrective installation of the rails!
Everybody knows what a catastrophe a derailment means. I remember when tank cars full of poison derailed up around Dunsmuir and dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons into the Sacramento River. Fish were jumping onto the banks (to their deaths) to escape the poison. That poison settled at the bottom of Shasta Lake. Just one more reason to improve the rails.
Jim Bonetti, Waterford