Railroads are a critical component of transportation infrastructure in most countries. In the United States, trains move heavy goods such as coal, wood, and steel throughout the country with an efficiency that cannot currently be matched by trucking or air freight. Additionally, passenger trains provide transportation to commuters and occasional travelers alike. Despite the overwhelmingly positive aspects and relative safety of the railroad industry, these heavy payloads have the potential for creating overwhelming disasters to individuals and communities that are built around these mechanical giants of industry. The most deadly potential of the railroad industry comes from the accidental or intentional release of hazardous materials, which range from radioactive to corrosive chemicals and flammable gasses. Additionally, these materials may combine in a violent manner to ...

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