Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do It?

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Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do It?

Postby RandomRailfan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:09 am

A giant category 4 hurricane is headed for Long Island in five days. The governor has called for the evacuation of both Nassau and Suffolk counties. How would the LIRR assist in the evacuation? What part of the island would you evacuate first? What kind of equipment would you use?
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby JamesRR » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:21 am

Evacuate to where? The destination's as important as the means to get there.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby Morisot » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:10 am

In evacuating people I think there is very little the LIRR could do other than normal operation as long as possible and then get their equipment to high ground. There are a finite number of trains. The trains headed out east might be empty, but they would still have to get there some how to pick up more people. And the east-west flow of back and forth trains on a limited amount of track doesn't have a lot of spare time or flexibility as it is.

About 3,000,000 (3 million) people in Nassau/Suffolk. A lot of people will stay with their homes -- especially those between the Southern State Pkwy and 25A. And where would the LIRR take evacuees? Dump a million people in Penn Station? Give them all free transfers to MetroNorth?

If the Governor ordered an evacuation if such a storm was really bearing down on The Island, I would hope that he would convert some of the southbound lanes of the Throgs Neck and Whitestone bridges to northbound --- but even accomplishing that accommodation would require a lot of manpower.

Maybe in the aftermath the LIRR could cut some passenger service in favor of freight trains to help bring in supplies and help.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby DutchRailnut » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:17 pm

and again in 5 days a lot of people can be moved, if they listen and not wait till last moment
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:37 pm

A continuous evacuation over several days would put a real strain on the hours-of-service law; there could be equipment sitting around because all the crews have been used up. I wonder: would this hurricane qualify as an emergency justifying exceeding the prescribed hours of service? I think the regulation specifies that the emergency must be unforeseen; I can imagine some interesting legal arguments (and under the gun, at that) about whether 5 days' warning of an uncontrollable natural force could be considered an emergency under the definition. (Then again, moving all those people westward from New York would belong in another forum.)
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby krispy » Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:53 pm

Dig around in Snoozeday and other defunct newspaper articles, look for the era of when the furor over the Shoreham plant was going on. The evacuation of the Island was a hotly debated issue and while the time has changed (funny thing is if the plant had come online it would've been past it's useful life at this point and being eyed to get decommissioned or refurbished now), the highways and railroad's capacity hasn't. The bottom line if I recall was you can't evacuate the Island, not at least totally. Dutch pointed out the key thing, IF people did it immediately, there was a chance but getting our neighbors off of their butts and committing to getting out is highly doubtful. At some point the RR will pull their equipment off of the South Shore and start removing gates heading to a full and total shut down like they did in Irene. Imagine what the roads and bridges would be like then?

When I was with the Red Cross before kids disrupted my volunteering, they were actively planning for "the big one", which was a Cat 3 hurricane with the eye going up the Hudson. That was the doomsday scenario (shows you how unlikely a +cat 3 is) for the Island, with the worst quadrant of the storm striking the Island. And during one training session the rep from Long Beach remarked at some point they were telling the stragglers to make his job easier and tie on toe tags. This was before Sandy, I imagine things have changed since then. Knowing they would have a masscare situation no matter what, the big shelter was supposed to be the Coliseum with smaller ones going up as per the County and State OEM.

I'd look for family/friends who have a residence on the lee side of the Ronkonkoma Morraine, or something like that inland on the Island's North Shore. Only thing that would have me drop anything and go NOW would be a report of a massive earthquake around La Palma Island in the Canaries. Otherwise, as JamesRR mentioned, where would you go? Recall Irene wrecked upstate much worse than it did my patio furniture tipping over down here.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:41 pm

RR and Everyone:

I will follow up Krispy and his mention about the hotly-debated LILCO Shoreham plant back in the
1980s and remember how hard if near impossible it would be to evacuate LI in the event of a major
accident there - today it would be tough to evacuate vulnerable coastal areas of LI without some
type of adequate advance notice especially with limited ways to leave LI...

For a Cat 4 hurricane to hit LI it would need energy from its power source - warm ocean water -
to be able to do significant damage similar to what the 1938 hurricane ended up doing. For LI
the "window" of opportunity is short when the Atlantic water is at its warmest centering on the
last two weeks of August/first two weeks of September primarily off LI's shoreline...

With an impending storm any evacuation efforts will have to be alongside getting the LIRR ready
for any significant problems and getting their own personnel also out of harm's way.

Many Long Islanders remember Hurricane Gloria back in September 1985 and because of the
problems LILCO faced in power restoration - the backlash would eventually bring down LILCO...

1938 Hurricane: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_New_England_hurricane
Hurricane Gloria (1985) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Gloria

Hopefully a hurricane that strong never hits LI - but one can never say never here...

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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby Nasadowsk » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:58 pm

krispy wrote:(funny thing is if the plant had come online it would've been past it's useful life at this point and being eyed to get decommissioned or refurbished now)


The 'clock' on the operating license starts when power operation starts and the plant is commercial. Watts Bar 2 just came online the other year, 20 years after its sister plant came online (both started construction in the mid 70's). The NRC lists the license expiration as 2055 for unit 2.

There's no set life for a power plant (the 40 years on nukes was an economic consideration, not a design one). Many nukes have been licensed to 60 years and someone was looking for an extension to 80 years on a plant. There's nothing legally that prevents this, or even a 100, or 120 year extension.

Oyster Creek's a snotload older, and licensed to 2029...

Back on topic - what does dumping everyone into Manhattan really accomplish? There's nowhere near enough hotel rooms to absorb even 10% of LI's population for any length of time. Getting those folks farther inland means also relying on Amtrak and or NJT. Yeah, ok. NJT can't handle a standard day, let alone extra traffic (remember the superbowl?).

Ok, this brings up an interesting question - does anyone even _have_ any plans for doing an evacuation of LI if the need arose? This really isn't the kind of thing you can just come up with in a few hours....
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby Crabman1130 » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:47 pm

I doubt that there would be a rush to use the RR to evacuate by residents. The majority would want their cars. It would be mass grid lock. The RR wouldn't have to do more than a rush hour schedule to accommodate the people that would want to use it.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby gprimr1 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:34 pm

I suspect there are plans to evacuate Long Island. I agree it would be rough. Wonder if it's time to begin discussion of the Long Island Sound tunnel?

I would see the LIRR having a role in it. As I was discussing in a Florida evacuation discussion, if there are serious flooding risks, you can't really expect people to leave cars behind if they can move them. I know there are some rabid car haters who would disagree, but no, no one is leaving a 15,000 dollar car behind to be destroyed if possible.

So I would say, use LIRR to evacuate people who don't have cars. Use the connection with Amtrak to bring additional trains. A place where I think that we are lacking nationally, and could be justified under national defense and homeland security, is hospital and nursing home trains. Converting trains to allow evacuation of nursing home and hospital patients provides several advantages; they can be easily loaded and unloaded, the train has services such as restrooms and showers, and even food service cars, and the engine's HEP generator can provide the hospital train with power for as long as the train has fuel. This train could potentially be parked on a siding in a safe area and refuelded every few days until it is safe to return the patients. Effectively, the hospital train can provide a mini-city on wheels, thus reducing the number of private ambulances required to transport patients.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby RGlueck » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:09 am

Get a sharp saw and slice at Brooklyn. Allow the Island to drift out to sea.
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Re: Evacuate Long Island using the LIRR --How Would You Do I

Postby Dump The Air » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:44 am

gprimr1 wrote: I know there are some rabid car haters who would disagree, but no, no one is leaving a 15,000 dollar car behind to be destroyed if possible.



hahahaha! isn't capitalism wonderful???
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