Chris McChesney

Class Year


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

Spring 2006


Not far from the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC (the “District”) runs a railroad track that is part of CSX Corporation’s (a major North American railroad company) North-South railroad corridor along the Eastern coast of the United States. While a railroad track is not normally a cause for concern, rail cars on this particular track carry large volumes of some of the world’s most dangerous chemicals. For instance, 90-ton rail tankers filled with hazardous chemicals such as chlorine gas regularly pass over a small bridge that is unsecured, in a low traffic area, and easily accessible to anyone. A recent study by the Naval Research Laboratory estimated that a terrorist explosion set in such a strategic location, during a political rally or celebration on the National Mall, could result in the release of toxic gases with the potential to seriously injure or kill over one hundred thousand people within half an hour.