What the Hell Were They Thinking?
Norfolk Southern, one of the country’s largest freight railroads, has just filed suit against an Alabama company for selling the railroad almost five million defective wooden cross ties. And, yes, that’s “million”, with an M!
The ties were supposed to be cut to size, then treated with the well-known wood preservative, creosote. But according to the lawsuit, Boatright Railroad Products of Castleberry, Alabama, instructed their employees not to apply creosote to the ties, but to use anything else that would give the same appearance.
The implications are staggering. Because the ties all appeared to have been properly treated, most of them have already been installed in various locations throughout the Norfolk Southern system. The problem, of course, is that those ties will deteriorate at a much faster rate than ties that were properly treated. At that point, this becomes a very big safety issue.
But wait! There’s more.
Again according to the lawsuit, Boatright employees who were supposed to provide a consultant for the railroad with random samples of the cross ties were told to take the guy hunting instead.
Dontcha think, somewhere along the line, a light bulb would have come on and one of those guys would have said, “Fellas, I think we’d be well advised to rethink this whole idea.”