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Woman Worried About Railcars with Unknown Contents

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HARLINGEN – A Cameron County resident is worried for the safety of the people in her community.  

Harlingen resident Benita Menendez said she’s concerned by the unknown contents of the train cars near her home.

“They’re parked for the entire weekend and every weekend, for at least the last month or so,” she said.

A CHANNEL FIVE NEWS crew went to the Harlingen neighborhood on Friday and saw the trains stationed in the area. But by Monday, they were nowhere in sight.

Some of the train cars had HazMat placards with code “1993” on them. According to the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, the code means combustible chemicals can be carried inside.

“If this was combustible material, are these tanks full?” questioned Menendez. “Do we know? Has anyone been informed that they are going to park here for the whole duration of the weekend?”

Menendez added she’s concerned for her neighbors.

“There’s a lot of elderly people. There’s a lot of children involved that live here, and there’s even a school! Stuart place Elementary and I’m concerned,” she said.   

The Rio Valley Switching Company has managed the railroad in Harlingen, in addition to McAllen and Edinburg, since 1993.

RVSC sent us the following statement, which reads in part: .

“RVSC is currently using some of its tracks to store idle railcars. All of the storage cars currently on RVSC’s tracks are empty. Some of the railcars being stored have placards indicating that the prior load may have contained hazardous material. Regulations require that any car that last contained hazardous material must display a placard, even though the car is a residue empty.”

The Federal Railroad Administration regulates the operations of the Rio Valley Switching Company.

The company urged the public to contact the proper authorities if they see suspicious activities:

“RVSC encourages the public to contact the RVSC office or local law enforcement if anyone is observed trespassing on the railroad right of way or tampering with any railroad equipment. In short, if you see something, say something!”

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