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mu23
09-18-2003, 02:01 PM
Looks like the storm is just about to hit the coast of North Carolina, good luck down there. We are hunkered down in Maryland waiting for the inevitable. All the batteries are charged, the water is stored up, etc. and now we just wait. Marylanders have a fine tradition of meeting any and all weather problems with huge amounts of snack food and that's a plus! As for railroads, every line in this area is vulnerable, and we will most likely see some major problems over the next 36 hours. I expect to see problems on CSX at Harpers Ferry, Point of Rocks, and the Baltimore Tunnels, maybe Ellicott City too. Amtrak's NEC sits right on the Chesapeake bay in this area and the Bush River Bridge sits very low on the water and could present a real problem. Norfolk Southern uses the NEC to get out of Baltimore and connects with the Port Road to head Northwest. The Port Road hugs the Susquehanna and passes three dams on it's Southern end. Look for trouble on the whole line and around Port Deposit especially. And I don't mean that literally, the majority of Hurricane deaths are from idiots driving their cars into the flood; sad but true. Anybody interested in using the forum to report their local RR conditions as this thing unfolds? In the meantime I'm off to the roof to clean the rainspouts. Good luck all.

oltmannd
09-18-2003, 02:12 PM
Have read reports that DC is just about going to shut down mid-day today (the 18th). VRE and Metro to stop running. Amtrak trains south of Richmond not goint to run. How wimpy can you get! We're talking about places pretty far inland and last I saw, DC wasn't even on the projected storm path.

It's one thing to be cautious in what you do, its whole 'nother thing to just give up!

The LIRR stops running when it snows - 40 years ago, they didn't. CSX gives up every time it so much as gets cloudy. RRs beat the canal system 150 years ago because the were "all weather" and canals weren't. So much for that!

I do give credit to Amtrak planning on a full schedule for the NEC today. I suspect Gunn has something to do with that.

-Don

mu23
09-18-2003, 02:58 PM
Washington D.C. sits on the tidal Potomac and will most likely be within 50 miles of the eye of this hurricane. Baltimore is on the Chesapeake and will also, most likely, be badly affected by the storm. The last hurricane we had was a piddly thing (in '99 I think), but it shut down the area none the less. The local electric utilities took some heavy criticism over it, but I don't expect any improvement this time round. One of the great things about Maryland is that we eschew the Snow Macho stance instead preferring to leave work as early as possible in the face of any unusual weather and racing home to extended time off full of videos and popcorn. I don't see why it's not a more popular response to bad weather in the rest of the country. However, this is a region that's prone to the adverse effects of tropical storm systems and it can be a dangerous thing. If I remember correctly the last major hurricane to hit NYC was in 1938 and hundreds of people died. If they had stayed home and pigged out, well - they'd be here today to tell you about it. Also Amtrak announced several cancellations because of the storm a few days ago, and rest assured, more will be coming as the storm progresses. The '99 hurricane knocked their power out too. I remember listening to one exchange where an Amtrak Metroliner had stalled in a remote area and they weren't letting anybody off the train. The passengers got very ugly, and a riot almost ensued. I imagine the smokers started it. Also remember that the commuter lines would be expected to take the people who went to work this morning on the trains, home this evening; the storm will most likely be here by then. Snow is one thing, but you can't shovel a flood, nor are people swept away and drowned by the snow very often, at least not in D.C. or N.Y.C. We had four people swept away in their cars during a thunderstorm last week in this county; that was the practice run. The whole region is saturated from a summer of above average rainfall, anything we get won't have anywhere to go but my basement. Oh and BTW D.C. is very much on the projected storm path, with a 20 to 49% chance of taking the thing full on. I think you may be confusing that straight line they show on the TV as the only way the storm can go; it's not. Please refernce the link below for a better idea of what may or may not happen in the next few hours. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ftp/graphics/AT13/refresh/AL1303P+GIF/180928P.gif

oltmannd
09-18-2003, 06:10 PM
The latest shows the most easterly probable path is west of DC and top speed for winds not over 60 mph that far inland, anyway. I stick by my "whimp" comment. If the storm was so dangerous, why isn't I-95 closed now between Phila and the SC border? I'll bet it's open all the way! Why is NS still running trains thru VA (except east of Raleigh) on a normal schedule?

Flooding is only dangerous once there is a flood! Streams can flash flood, but the Potomac and Shenendoah won't rise instantaneously - there's nothing new here - the rivers and streams and RR ROW are all where they've been for 150 years. The only thing that's new is weather forecasting which is more accurate, timely and precise than ever.

So, you PLAN to operate in weather like this, taking appropriate precautions and have back up plans if the power goes out. You operate DTC if lose the signalling, you have supervision man temporary block stations, you put B&B and MoW forces on overtime, etc. You watch the weather info and refine your planning as the day goes on. You don't just give up everytime a little hardship comes your way.

oltmannd
09-18-2003, 06:19 PM
Washington D.C. sits on the tidal Potomac and will most likely be within 50 miles of the eye of this hurricane. . http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ftp/graphics/AT13/refresh/AL1303P+GIF/180928P.gif

I checked the link. There is less than a 40% chance of the center coming with 75 miles of DC -at least that's how I read it!

mu23
09-18-2003, 08:36 PM
I-95 is open, so come on down and show us how it's done. If you leave now, you'll be able to chase a good portion of this storm. Better bring someone along who can read a map. :lol:

oltmannd
09-19-2003, 02:13 PM
A cheap shot for a cheap shot I guess that's fair!

I DO think it is reasonable to take precautions when facing dangerous situations, but some of what goes on these days is just silly. Like CSX quitting during a snow storm when NS managed to keep operating pretty close to normal. I don't know if it's fear of lawsuits or lack of will, but it certainly is out of character given this country's history.

Maybe Any Rand was right......

-Don

mu23
09-19-2003, 08:43 PM
This isn't about ideology. This is about tropical weather systems. Hundreds of trees fell on the tracks last night. Power was out from parts of the Carolinas clear up through Philadelphia. Signals down all over. Radio repeaters failed or sent unintelligible messages. Record breaking storm surges. MOW and C&S employees were out in droves along with railroad workers culled from many other departments and they were overwhelmed. Hundreds more are out working today. Just getting to and from a job site a few miles away took hours in some cases. Every single infrastructure in the region was severely stressed: railroads, highways, airports, shipping, electrical, telecommunications, even walking was hazardous at times. It's simply a fact of life for people in this region. All the grandstanding carpetbaggers in the world lined up and goose-stepping down the Northeast Corridor can not do a thing about something as powerful and erratic as a hurricane. If you don't believe me I suggest you ask a certain Mr. Flagler, a man who was more than willing to kill dozens of his own employees rather than defer his little triumph of the will by a few precious days for something as insignificant as a hurricane. For all the suffering and death he caused he still failed because you can't beat a hurricane - duh. The Navy took precautions and moved ships and canceled many activities. Are they "wimps" too? Should the air force have just treated it as any other day? Maybe you can send them some of your inspirational wisdom and set those whiny flyboys straight! You don't even know what you're complaining about: trains ran all night long, it wasn't some big railroad slacker day. It went right over your head, but my intention was to communicate with other people in the same region about this storm and it's effects on the railroads here. People who know and understand what a hurricane is, which I thought was most everyone, and the unique problems it can pose to a region's transportation systems. I have no interest in discussing middle brow crypto-fascist writers with her little fanboys who cultivate their Superman fantasies into a device to blame their own personal failures on all those mean slack jawed inferior people who kept them from their great triumph and rightful place in the sun. This is a railroading web site. I want to talk about railroads and railroad photography. Mostly though, I resent your implications that all us lazy dumb Southerners can't handle a little thunderstorm.

oltmannd
09-19-2003, 09:07 PM
OK. So maybe only CSX is wimpy. The other gang of southerners (NS) seems a lot better at keeping things going.

So, everybody is out working hard? Good. That's the proper response to a storm.

The hurricane that took out the FEC was a cat V storm. This one was only a II at Kitty Hawk. Was just a tropical storm at DC and Baltimore.

It IS ideological! Flow of commerce is very important. Nothing is risk-free. It takes effort to be prepared and make sound decisions. It's easy to just take the easy way out and quit 'till things get better.

BTW, nobody here in GA thinks anybody from MD is a "Southerner". We're not even too sure about KY. Hope you're grandaddy is from someplace else.....

mu23
09-19-2003, 10:39 PM
And I hope yours beat the rap at Nuremburg.

oltmannd
09-22-2003, 03:28 PM
And I hope yours beat the rap at Nuremburg.

There is no "SNV", you know.....

oltmannd
11-03-2003, 06:16 PM
Check out Don Phillip's column in the Dec 2003 Trains mag. More on this topic...