WINTHROP, Minn. – Jim Brandt’s steel-toed boots treaded nimbly across the railroad ties as he scanned the track around him for loose bolts, unfastened clips, gaping switches — anything that could prove dangerous for massive trains.
Everything looked good, he confirmed with a quick nod; time to move on. The rest of the state’s 4,500 miles of rail awaited.
About 150 trains a day rattle throughout Minnesota, the eighth-largest rail network in the country. The mild-mannered Brandt is the only state inspector overseeing those tracks for safety.
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