Rail System Faces Questions of Security of Haz Mat Cars

More risks than derailment: Storage and security of cars with dangerous chemicals becomes an issue

At JCI Jones Chemicals in northwest Charlotte, three rail cars that carry chlorine were parked on a rail spur beside the plant on a recent day. It was unclear whether the cars, which sat inside a tall, chain-link fence topped by barbed wire, were loaded.

Jones makes bleach at its Charlotte location and transfers chlorine from rail cars to smaller containers. Since 9-11, CEO Jeffrey Jones said, the company has submitted a formal security plan to federal authorities and hired a retired Marine colonel as its security director.

"We would not feel comfortable if a car was left outside the fence, nor would the suppliers who own the car," Jones said. "We have a significant degree of security. It would be quite surprising to you and to others how much that place is monitored by mechanical as well as human means."