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Mayor’s efforts to tackle railway safety may make national news

AurorMayor tom Weisner | Submitted

Nov. 2013

Aurora Mayor tom Weisner | Submitted Nov. 2013

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Updated: March 7, 2014 1:45PM

AURORA — The producers of a national TV news show may be interested in highlighting Aurora’s interest in railway safety in a possible upcoming program.

Aurora Director of Communications Clayton Muhammad confirmed that Mayor Tom Weisner talked to producers affiliated with the “60 Minutes” TV news program on Tuesday. During the telephone conversation, Weisner discussed railway safety, a “passionate topic” for the mayor, Muhammad said.

The discussion was for background on the Canadian National Railway and railway safety reform, Muhammad said, ahead of a potential future program on the topic.

Since the Canadian National Railway and EJ&E Railways merged in 2008, rail freight traffic has quadrupled and has had a direct impact on Aurora and other communities, Muhammad said. As a result of the merger, Weisner joined forces with Barrington Mayor Karen Darch and other leaders to establish TRAC, a coalition of communities focused on implementing additional mandatory safety precautions and standards in the railway industry.

The freight trains on railways contain crude oil and ethanol, which has proven disastrous in cities such as Rockford, where one fatality occurred after a train derailment in 2008. On July 6, 2013, following another derailment in a town in Quebec, Canada, a train exploded and caused the death of nearly 50 people, Muhammad said.

Weisner wants to shed a national light on rail safety reform and has asked the U.S. Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration to address these issues.

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