Hurricane Irma Updates

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby The Blue Comet » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:58 am

Am a retired Airline pilot who also spent 30 years flying large Air Force Transports (C-141, KC-10's) and was always in the publics eyes in evacuation or large scale WX events. I keep reflecting on the incredible effort during the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and the failed attempt to rescue so many standee in the Keys. I can't help wondering why Amtrac didn't have countless evacuation trains running North out of South Florida. What a shame. A Federally subsidized interest going to waste
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:21 am

Everyone: 9/9

From this morning's Hurricane Irma advisories it looks like the west coast of Florida will receive a
direct hit from the storm as it makes its northwesterly turn - Fort Myers through the Tampa Bay
area will be most affected if the storm tracks as forecasted and then will eventually become a
extra tropical storm and a huge rainmaker for the Mississippi Valley and Midwest in the coming
week. Miami and Florida's East Coast should escape the highest direct wrath of the storm...

The Florida Keys are going to be hard hit by Irma and it will be interesting to see how the route
of US 1/Overseas Highway holds up to a direct hit by Irma and any storm surge...

I agree with BC above remembering that there were some evacuation trains operated out of NOL
in the Katrina evacuation and that there could have been some trains operated northward out of
the Miami area using Amtrak and Tri-Rail equipment assisting evacuation efforts...

Florida is a highly auto dependent state and it would take major fuel shortages making auto travel
near impossible as a prime example for evacuees to seek alternate services such as trains to get
out of harm's way. Running trains out of South Florida could have been an alternate way to help
the beleaguered airlines deal with their onslaught of passengers seeking to leave Florida as a
example...

For Noel and any Forum members remaining in Florida riding out Irma remain safe and remember
that you all are in our thoughts during this storm and the aftermath and recovery...

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby Arborwayfan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:29 pm

I have also thought about evacuation trains, but I wonder about a few potential problems:
1. Host railroads are probably busy getting their own equipment to safety and might not cooperate.
2. Crossing gates removed = flagging crossings, right? (It happened a few years ago with a hurricane evacuation train in Texas. That would slow down the trains which would reduce the capacity.
3. How many people can walk to the train stations? If answer is not many, then there would ahve to be a coordinated bus connection.
4. Amtrak doesn't quite have an equipment surplus (though with the Sunset cut back some superliners must be sitting around somewhere).
So, all together, Amtrak isn't really set up to run a whole bunch of extra trains. And the state doesn't seem to have much in the way of non-car evacuation plans--another issue.

Maybe it would have made sense to run the longest possible Amtrak trains the last few days? Add a few extra cars to each train--borrow from Tri-Rail and promise to store them someplace safe for a few days? Still using the same time slot etc.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:42 pm

The Blue Comet wrote:Am a retired Airline pilot who also spent 30 years flying large Air Force Transports (C-141, KC-10's) and was always in the publics eyes in evacuation or large scale WX events. I keep reflecting on the incredible effort during the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and the failed attempt to rescue so many standee in the Keys. I can't help wondering why Amtrac didn't have countless evacuation trains running North out of South Florida. What a shame. A Federally subsidized interest going to waste


SIMPLE Amtrak does not have sufficient equipment to stage a large scale evacuation or any evacuation for that matter. It is a shame but it is what it is. Another issue is where would they go? The CSX route roughly follows the path of this storm more or less. All of the routes are buttoned up for the duration. Tri-Rail, Amtrak, CSX and the Florida East Coast ran their last trains late in the day Thursday. The crossing gates are wired to their posts to secure them from damage, the wider crossings with long gates will have the gates removed and stored in a safe location. All signals are disconnected and other measures taken to protect vital railroad property.
Update an hour or so ago we received a number of tornado warnings, I don't know whether any actually touched down or not but they showed funnel clouds on the TV along the beach. Even if we do not get a direct hit this is a very serious storm. I don't know whether I will be posting tomorrow or not, have to wait it out.
The train is of limited use in the event of a large evacuation order and I don't really know whether it would be worth the effort. There is a lot of available equipment with the Tri-Rail trains but the rail lines are OOS anyway. Probably other transportation works better at least here and in this case.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:55 am

Latest from Amtrak, dated Sept 8th:

Amtrak will suspend services in Florida due to severe weather impacting the southeast region.

The Silver Star Train 92 and Silver Meteor Train 98 (Miami - New York City) are cancelled for Sept. 9 - 11.

The Silver Star Train 91 (New York City - Miami) and Silver Meteor Train 97 (New York City - Miami) are cancelled for Sept. 8 - 10.

The Auto Train 53 (Lorton, Va. - Sanford, Fla.) is cancelled for Friday, Sept.8, and Saturday, Sept. 9. The Auto Train 52 (Sanford, Fla. - Lorton, Va.) is cancelled on Sept. 9 - 11.

The Palmetto Train 89 (New York City - Savannah, Ga.,) is cancelled from Sept. 9 - 12.

The Palmetto Train 90 (Savannah, Ga., - New York City) is cancelled from 10 -13.

No alternate transportation will be provided.
I ride the (MTA Maryland) Penn Line (between Odenton and Baltimore). I used to work for MTA Maryland's IT department, and out of professional courtesy my responses may be limited. Wikimapia is wonderful (for track/interlocking locations)!
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:44 pm

Wonder if the Crescent is next.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:10 pm

Mr. Stephens, latest reports are that Birmingham is on target for a Tropical Storm. Atlanta appears to be off the hook.

Finally, how say our Brothers in the path make it their business to check in here as soon as they can. We are all sort of "family" around here.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby tk48states » Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:42 pm

Prior to creation of AMTRAK the Pennsylvania, New York Central, New Haven and other major roads had coach yards with hundreds of pieces of standby equipment and could easily put together extra trains on short notice but Amtrak has none of this utilizing basically all available equipment continuously with some minor exceptions so it would be impossible to put together relief trains from Miami. And for anyone who might wonder most of the extra pre Amtrak passenger equipment was scrapped a long time ago.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:55 pm

Unfortunately for the railroad romantics, today's evacuation trains ride on rubber tires and are painted School Bus Yellow.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby mmi16 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:55 am

The Blue Comet wrote:Am a retired Airline pilot who also spent 30 years flying large Air Force Transports (C-141, KC-10's) and was always in the publics eyes in evacuation or large scale WX events. I keep reflecting on the incredible effort during the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and the failed attempt to rescue so many standee in the Keys. I can't help wondering why Amtrac didn't have countless evacuation trains running North out of South Florida. What a shame. A Federally subsidized interest going to waste


Where were the Air Force Transports in moving evacuees from the multiple airports in the South Florida area? A Federal interest going to waste?
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby dowlingm » Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:22 pm

mmi16 wrote:
The Blue Comet wrote:Where were the Air Force Transports in moving evacuees from the multiple airports in the South Florida area? A Federal interest going to waste?
The Air Force Transports were likely:
1) doing Caribbean island rescue operations
2) like Amtrak, probably completely overstretched by current taskings and lacking the ability to do much more than 1)
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby ccutler » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:30 am

Miami has plenty of commuter trains, which could have kept running north to Georgia with loads of evacuees.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby deathtopumpkins » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:42 am

ccutler wrote:Miami has plenty of commuter trains, which could have kept running north to Georgia with loads of evacuees.


Last I checked, Tri-Rail crews weren't qualified on track in Georgia.

If it worked logistically, it probably would have been done already.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:04 am

And who is going to operate the trains? Sorry all railroad employees, you're not allowed to evacuate or tend to your families. You need to drive everyone else out of harms way instead. Using equipment we don't have, on a railroad not equipped for it, in time that doesn't exist, to non-existent evacuation locations.
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Re: Hurricane Irma Updates

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:05 am

What follows is an X-post I made at the active Penn Central topic. There is parallel discussion regarding rail disaster evacuation there as well as here:

..It appears that this topic is where most of the discussion using rail transport as an evacuation resource is moving forth.

Likely not the best of times to put this thought on the table (especially here where "worst case Irma effect" will be "scattered showers" come about Wednesday), but I have to wonder, could the Florida passenger carrying railroads "done more" to evacuate.

Nothing has been reported to suggest that Amtrak did more than operate normal consists on 92(9) and 98(9) and then say "that's all folks". Tri and Sun Rails just ran normal service and both AAF and Auto Train simply secured their equipment.

You'd think that 92 and 98 could have been augmented with maybe three additional coaches by cleaning out the back shops. Auto Train passenger equipment could have been deadheaded to Miami and load up.

While likely AAF equipment would have needed help from FEC power (the SC-44 just generating HEP), it still represented seats.

Any of these thoughts would have simply been "going to war with the Army you have".

With Irma gone, the MMQB-ing begins. Just some thoughts along those lines.
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