Many emergency responders are concerned about the lack of information they receive about the railcar shipments of toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) through their communities. This lack of information places first responders at significant potential risk when they approach a derailed or some other rail related accident/incident. The security community, on the other hand is concerned about providing possible targeting information to too many people.
A possible method to satisfy both communities would be to install automated communications devices on all train engines. This would be a short range device providing encoded information to special receivers located at track side where the tracks enter an emergency responder area of responsibility. As the train passed the transponder it would provide a list of rail car numbers, load weights and locations for each TIH railcar attached to that engine.
Railroads would be responsible for providing the transmitters and programming the railcar information. Local emergency response agencies would be responsible for installing the receivers and providing secure transmission from the receivers to a central dispatch facility. Only those agencies desiring access to the information would need to provide the receivers.
Railroads would not be providing advance notification of sensitive information, but local responders would have the information available at their dispatch when they are sent to the scene of a railroad incident.