In following the story on the Rockford train derailment from this summer, the NBC affiliate in Rockford obtained the tapes from the 911 dispatch center before and after the derailment. These tapes clearly showed that the City of Rockford, Union Pacific, and Canadian National all knew that the tracks had washed out in heavy rains before the train hauling cars with ethanol derailed, setting off a deadly fire. Nonetheless, it appears that no one notified the train crew of the hazard ahead.The fact that these companies had actual notice of the dangerous condition leaves them in a vulnerable position in the civil suits that have been filed in the wake of the disaster. Besides the amount of the damages, the key issue ahead is going to be how the fault is allocated between the railroads. Many times, the inclination of defendants to place the blame on one another leads the case to trial because no one wants to take the lead and accept the lion’s share of the responsibility for the accident.