Friday, June 11, 2010

Going off the rails - in style!

I'm still trying to figure out how they got away with this one.

Several midlevel managers with Mexico's state railroad company have been accused of stealing more than 360 miles of railroad and selling the materials to help pay off a company debt.

The railroad scrap, much of it high-grade steel, weighed roughly 52,000 tons, about seven times the steel used in the Eiffel Tower, said Mexico's secretary of public administration, Salvador Vega Casillas. He said the sale of such material is prohibited and that the managers never sought permission for their actions.

The employees targeted abandoned railroads in five states, including the northern border state of Chihuahua, where 239 miles worth of rails, nails, bolts and other materials were stolen, he said.

The sale allegedly occurred from 2003 to 2005 when the state company, which faces liquidation, was unable to sell all the scrap it promised to four companies following a public auction.

To meet a nearly $800,000 debt, the five employees ordered that railroads built in the 19th and 20th centuries be dismantled, Mr Vega said.

The secretary said the material was worth $140 million - far more than the debt - and yet no money was exchanged and it remains unclear what the receiving companies did with the scrap material or whether they recognized its value.

There's more at the link.

They stole entire railroads? Rails, ties, rolling stock, signals and all? And no-one noticed for up to five years??? No wonder drug gangs are able to virtually run the country to suit themselves!

Ye Gods and little fishes . . .



joe said...

It does say that they targeted abandoned railroads.

Anonymous said...

It is a third- world kleptocracy, after all.


Black Ice said...

Disturbing echoes of the San Sebastian Railroad in Atlas Shrugged. Then again, there are a lot of disturbing echoes these days.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I came across an article in a magazine for model railroad enthusiasts - I forget which one; I think it was Rail Model Journal - that discussed cars used by the Southern Railroad and several other lines to haul kaolin clay.

According to the article, the railroads preferred to send older, worn cars for shipments to Mexico because they had a tendency to be returned missing parts...or not returned at all.

--Wes S.