Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "rail system" ...

  • Frankenstein Guardrails

    The FOX31 Denver’s investigative unit discovered Colorado Department of Transportation maintenance crews assembling guardrail systems with mix-and-match parts from competing manufacturers. By “Frankensteining” already questionable end-cap terminals, with incompatible rails, the state had been creating serious road safety hazards for years. Within a week of the revelation, the Federal Highway Administration ordered a nationwide warning and Colorado began inspecting every guardrail system in the state (42,000 end-cap terminals/21,000 guardrail systems), repairing hundreds of dangerous installation errors.
  • Highway Hazard?

    Guardrails are easy to overlook when they’re doing their job, but when they don’t work, critics say the consequences can be deadly. Our piece looked at a guardrail system that critics call the worst offender, the ET PLUS made by Trinity Industries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6fQV1v3qVQ
  • Trains Plus Crude Oil Equals Trouble Down the Track

    The project represents a yearlong examination of the response to safety problems associated with a massive and sudden increase in crude oil transported by rail. It found that government and industry had failed to identify and correct safety gaps in the rail system, including the inspection and maintenance of track and bridges and the design of the tank cars carrying the oil. It also showed that government efforts to better inform local emergency response personnel still left them in the dark on some types of crude oil moved by rail and on smaller shipments. Additionally, the project detailed efforts by railroads and some states to keep even limited information about crude oil trains out of public view.
  • Spearing Cars in the Name of Safety

    Guardrails on the nation's highways are supposed to protect us. Too often, though, they have inflicted harm. Patrick G. Lee investigated how a Texas company altered its taxpayer-funded guardrail system under the government's nose, to potentially deadly effect. Months before other media, Lee exposed the potential hazard posed by Trinity Industries Inc.'s ET-Plus end terminal, a 175-pound piece of steel mounted at the ends of a guardrail. Intended to absorb the force of a crash, some of them lock up, piercing cars and their occupants. Lee recounted one would-be whistleblower's cross-country quest, starting in late 2011, to learn why these systems were spearing cars. The discovery: Trinity had modified the ET-Plus more than a half-decade earlier without telling regulators. The newer version, modified to cut manufacturing costs, was malfunctioning, several plaintiffs alleged.
  • A Question of Security

    The "investigation discovered allegations of overfilling and security gaps at three major facilities in South Florida- the Miami Metrorail system and the Juvenile Assessment Center and a major hospital. All have contacts with Wackenhut, one of the largest security companies in America. The publicly funded contracts involve millions of dollars. Not only did we observe unfilled posts first-hand, but guards, former guards and supervisors went public detailing a pattern of fraud."
  • Tracking Your Security

    Acting on a tip, WBBM investigates as dog teams protecting the Metra rail system are found to be "unable to detect suicide bombers." Also, the dogs were standing around instead of patrolling train stations. At the time, the story also uncovered a "lack of state and national certification standards and testing of bomb dog teams that would ensure they could actually detect explosives."
  • MetroLink Expansion Aims at Attracting New Riders

    Getz discovers that more residents who live along a cheaper light-rail line in north St. Louis would use it more than the light-rail line that is being built "through one of the richest parts of central St. Louis." Getz explored the light-rail transit system in St. Louis after ongoing debates about taking the next costly step in building the light-rail system in the city. Critics said that low-income residents in north St. Louis, those who would most likely use the public transportation, were being ignored.
  • The third rail: Politics and mass transit in the Puget Sound

    In his three-part story Krueger revealed how locally elected politicians overseeing the three-county transit project had added more then 1 billion dollars worth of unplanned features to the project to cater to the desires of their constituents. He found that costs for proposed light rail system had nearly doubled, even before work had begun. As a result the transit agency re-designed and downsized the project.
  • Re-Engineering: Amtrak Boss Struggles to Get Train Service on Track in the U.S.

    The Journal takes a look at the continuous struggle faced by Amtrak to compete with increased airline traffic and highway travel. New Amtrak president and chief executive George Warrington has large plans for the renovation and revitalization of Amtrak such as faster trains, better customer service, and remodeled stations. But because of past financial problems, Congress has said that Amtrak must operate without federal operating subsidies by 2003 "or face restructuring or liquidation." Unfortunately for Amtrak, in 2000 federal subsidies were close to $184 million. Machalaba finds out how Amtrak is collaborating with Continental Airlines and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to build support for a new passenger rail system in the U.S., one that George Warrington believes can be as commercially viable as the rail system that runs through Europe.
  • How BART is Killing MUNI...and sucking the lifeblood out of mass transit systems around the bay

    The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), a commuter rail system which serves mostly white and middle class suburban riders, receives a hugely disproportionate share of regional transit funding. Meanwhile, troubled urban bus systems like San Francisco's MUNI are left to fight over the crumbs, even though they serve many more riders.