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The Land Of The Killer Trains

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It's bad news when the state lists you as the absolute most dangerous county when it comes to deaths involving railroads.

It's worse when you take into consideration the report doesn't even cover the treacherous, havoc-wreaking collision machine known as Metro's light-rail system.

The Texas Rail & Relocation Association, whose activities you no doubt have followed for years like an obsessed fan, has put out its list of the 12 most dangerous counties when it comes to railroad accidents.

Topping the list: Harris County.

"From 1998 through 2007 in Harris County, 1,376 rail accidents and incidents -- such as derailments, collisions, pedestrian trespassing and hazardous material releases -- were reported to the Federal Railroad Administration," the study found.

Harris had 90 rail-related deaths in the time frame, far more than second-place Bexar's 51. It also had a huge lead in incidents resulting in non-fatal injuries.

Rail plays a huge role here, of course -- from the Port of Houston to Refinery Row to the locomotive on the city seal. And many lines go through residential neighborhoods, meaning people will walk along the tracks or try to weave through a crossing when the barriers have come down but there's seemingly no train nearby.

These people, of course, are called "idiots."

-- Richard Connelly

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