Kids who have to crawl under freight trains to get to school

In the town of Hammond, Indiana, massive freight trains regularly park at street intersections, blocking them for so long, children must risk their lives crawling under or climbing over trains in order to get to school.

The report from ProPublica states that rail companies like Norfolk Southern are maximizing profits by operating massively long trains and ignoring rules on how long trains can stand at a street crossing.

"But communities like Hammond routinely face a different set of risks foisted on them by those same train companies, which have long acted with impunity. Every day across America, their trains park in the middle of neighborhoods and major intersections, waiting to enter congested rail yards or for one crew to switch with another. They block crossings, sometimes for hours or days, disrupting life and endangering lives.

"News accounts chronicle horror stories: Ambulances can't reach patients before they die or get them to the hospital in time. Fire trucks can't get through and house fires blaze out of control.

"Pedestrians trying to cut through trains have been disfigured, dismembered and killed; when one train abruptly began moving, an Iowa woman was dragged underneath until it stripped almost all of the skin from the back of her body; a Pennsylvania teenager lost her leg hopping between rail cars as she rushed home to get ready for prom.

"In Hammond, the hulking trains of Norfolk Southern regularly force parents, kids and caretakers into an exhausting gamble: How much should they risk to get to school?"