Hurricane Sandy

Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

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25Hz
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by 25Hz »

korbermeister wrote:it's not necessarily that their utilities are underground, it's that they are unprotected underground. If NJ's utilities were buried underground we would be enduring less blackouts. wires on poles are so 19th century
Salt water tends to consume any exposed metal fairly quickly, and if you put a current through the metal it tends to dissolve rapidly. there is a huge amount of exposed metal in those vaults and tunnels. You'd have to come up with a way to seal connection points that need to be disconnected frequently, plus steam pipes get hot & change shape.
Next stop the square, journal square station next!

Jtgshu
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by Jtgshu »

Finally got power where im staying (but no internet, tethered from my phone) so I can now post.....and get on a soapbox

Lets take a step back here and get some facts straight

This storm was incredible. Once in a lifetime....once in several lifetimes. There aren't too many storms in a lifetime that take out entire towns in this area.....

The damage from the storm was/is indescribable. Ive seen it and dealt with it first hand. My house was damaged/flooded, but im one of the lucky ones in my neighborhood. Several of my neighbors houses are completely destroyed. They lost everything.

So for those of you who are so quick to jump on "why didn't they do this, why didn't they do that, what a bunch of morons, I would have done this...., etc" back off.

There is a very VERY comprehensive plan for dealing with hurricanes/storms. It worked very well last year during Hurricane Irene. Ive seen it and read it. It VERY detailed and covers LOTS of bases. And it should have worked.

and it would have worked if the storm wasn't for lack of a better word, insane....but you can bet your bottom dollar that the plan will be changed for all future storms and events.

And I have a feeling it was working until the unimaginable storm surge came through and took out everything.

How much are we going to prepare for "the next storm" - should we build every thing for a 500 year storm? How cost effective is that? There is a balance that needs to be struck, and this storm tipped the scale, the wrong way. Hoboken got flooded and the MMC got damn near destroyed.

Lets have a back up system! Lets use the old theatre.....in HOBOKEN! yea!!! great idea! Oh....wait a sec.....

Each interlocking can be controlled locally. A maintainer has to do it. They can and do it when things break. But would you rather have the workers sitting in a little hut allowing the trains to move slowly, or out on the railroad repairing the damage to get the railroad up and running properly?

NJTs actions prior to this storm were nothing like Septas during Irene and leaving the trains in Trenton so they could be flooded. The MMC was NOT expected to be flooded. Yes, its in a swamp, but its actually higher than you might think. But not quite high enough this go around.

For those who seem to think this was a "little worse" than a normal storm because you lost power for a little while and had a branch or two fall down, and that NJT should have been prepared for every possible situation/scenario, why dont you get in your cars and drive a little east and check out the Jersey Shore, or whats left - AC, LBI, Mantaloking, Bay Head, Sea Bright. Go check out the New Jersey Bayshore - Highlands, Leonardo, Port Monmouth, Union Beach, Keyport, go check out Staten Island, go check out the Rockaways or Breezy Point, go check out Long Island. And then go and donate cash or volunteer to help the millions of people affected by this. And get a grip on reality while you're at it.

Yes, im cranky, this touched a nerve in reading this thread. I lost a lot personally, but I have many other friends and CO WORKERS (that means Railroaders) that lost much more than I did. The fact that ANYTHING is running the past few days surprises me, and 60 percent of service starting tomorrow/Monday is simply amazing to me. Remember, when you talk about the railroad, you are also talking about the people who work on it, and a LARGE portion of the work force of NJT was negatively affected by this storm. Some more than others. These folks have to deal with other things right now besides work. Others are putting in 16 plus hours a day working on the track and ROW and signals. I know of a few of those fellas too. They are doing their absolute best to get the railroad back in one piece, literally.

Off soapbox, and I want to thank all those who have thought of and sent me messages over the past few days and all those emergency responders and volunteers and all those folks who are helping out, like for example the lady up the street who made a hot tray of ziti for my neighbors as we were simply walking in circles in shock over what happened, or the folks from the Southhampton (i think it was) fire department who dropped off a "care package" today, or the clean up volunteers who got off the school bus that dropped them off and they asked everything cleaning up if they needed help and offered snacks and coffee.

Simply saying "thank you" isn't enough. Countless numbers of these acts have gone on all over. The worst events bring out the best in people. But remember, its easy to help, just donate to the Red Cross, or local donation center or time to an area or people in need. Believe me when I say every little bit DOES help.
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.

JCGUY
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by JCGUY »

Well said.

CentralValleyRail
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by CentralValleyRail »

Just out of curiosity and not to criticize anyone because I'm only asking.

Since tomorrow is a Sunday and a majority of people in the "9-5" work world aren't working tomorrow why is the Main Line Schedule 6am-10am inbound and 4-8pm outbound?

Something tells me at 6:00am not too many people will be riding at a :30 min interval i'm guessing and again "guessing" that it's maybe more of a test run to see how service handles for the real rush on Monday.

Can anyone help me out here or does anyone see what I see?

Again just a question before the negative nancy's come in.

Silverliner II
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Re: Hurricane issues and recovery time

Post by Silverliner II »

Jersey_Mike wrote:
I heard on Gov Christies latest news brief that 25% of NJT's cars had been underwater. Mostly stored at Hobeken and MMC. Temporary replacement cars being brought in.
Hey SEPTA, NJT called, they want their Comets back.
Hey NJT, sorry, the Comets are still broken. We're still working on getting them roadworthy again ourselves! :-P

Jt, well said!
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SSD
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by SSD »

Listen...is it too much to ask to read through this topic without having every other post be either off topic or directly trying to start/continue an argument with someone else? Got an issue? Take it to a PM. I don't need to have 3000 posts to say that, its ridiculous. Fact: Over 100 people are DEAD from this storm, and 2.4 MILLION are without power...STILL. There are much better things to discuss amongst yourselves than make snippy remarks between rail employees and fans, random off-topic semi vaguely politicized snippets of information comparing NJT to other rail lines, and just plain disrespect for the hard work responders are putting in to restoring service. Have you not noticed how much has been restored in such a short time? I don't care what the heck NJT did wrong honestly, because what they've done since has been incredible. And to the end that some people wanted to see service restored a day sooner than it was on certain lines--even if they'd started service earlier, how many people would have used the trains? I can't imagine there'd be a ton of demand for people to get to work in a city without any power. And finally, stop with the statements on "well they should have had another ROC". That's VERY expensive, and because its paid for with taxpayer dollars, I am very confident that there would have been mass uproar on this site that NJT was "bloated" and "overspending" had they actually done what many of you wish they'd have done now.

Finally, as a weather forecaster, I can tell you from experience, that their was no way for them to predict this level of destruction in advance. There was never any precedent, and it'd be illogical for a business, public or private, to invest tens of millions of dollars in "preventative" systems for at the time highly unlikely events. Its true, they probably could've housed some backup computers in some other location at higher ground--but, hindsight is always 20/20. ...and if its not, call your doctor.

SSD

ryanov
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by ryanov »

nomis wrote:I'd like to know how you could run DCS from an alternate site while in the field Commercial Power was unavailable causing most radio towers were offline and cell tower capacity was diminished in the area?
There was power in downtown Newark the very next day. Many locations were fine.

JT, I see what you're saying, but it just seems to me to be very eggs-all-in-one-basket to have one building able to kill the entire railroad. What about a fire? I see they do have a generator so they're theoretically covered for power. I'd agree with you on all the rest, and yeah, if they said "we can't run trains because our staff have better things to do at home," I'd agree, but they clearly planned to run service until they had power problems at the ROC. As for cars damaged in Hoboken, they know Hoboken floods. I guess they just assumed "not that high?"

I'm not sure if everyone noticed, but part of the problem this time is that it hit right at the full moon.
|=| R. Novosielski |=|

Jtgshu
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by Jtgshu »

NJT is no different than every other railroad that caught the "eggs all in one basket" fad back in the 90s. The big guys learned that it isn't necessarily a great idea as you said Ryanov, one thing can cause the house of cards to collapse. But in a bigger sense, NJT doesn't cover THAT much territory. Gotta be realistic to how much redundancy is actually needed and practical. NJT had all its eggs in one basket basically since Hoboken became the dispatching center in the 80s. Sure there were a few more towers back then, but the main dispatchers were in Hoboken. Moving to the ROC was a step up in reliability as the ROC is built VERY strongly and has back up systems there. The biggest problem they have been having has been the generators as far as I know, which they aren't the only ones, as lots of places have been having problems with their generators because of the storm. I don't know if the ROC can be "plugged in" to a diesel loco for power, but even so, that probably wouldnt work because of the damage incurred there anyway and the loco would have been damaged, and many are.

Again, there is back up as every single interlocking can be controlled locally (like the old days) by C and S fellas. But you need radio communications to do that. I don't know if the radio system was affected as well by the storm, but it could have been (its been cranky anyway lately so it might have been more cranky). And you need a lot of bodies to be stationed at each of the interlockings as well. And then its a matter of are those talents being used to the best of their ability, sitting inside a hut manning a dead interlocking, or should they be out on the railroad trying fix it.

If NJT built a "ROC-2" (haha) somewhere on high ground, lets say.....Summit. Folks would be saying that it would be a total waste of money to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a building that might get used once in 10 or 20 years or even longer?

Sorry for my rant in my above, it was another long day and my nerves are shot.....but let me just put it this way. I had my own plan to prepare for the storm, and i put it in action. I looked at the weather reports, i saw the predicted storm surge in my area, and even gave a bit extra. (because those meterologists are always wrong! :) ) I spent 4 days preparing for the storm and moving and elevating my belongings. Just about everything I did was pretty much a waste as the storm, in particular the surge, was MUCH worse than anyone ever imagined. (had to be about 14-15 feet at my place) What I did and what happened to me is no different that what NJT did and what happened to them. Just a MUCH smaller scale. I have no problem discussing what can be done next time differently, and NJT will learn from its mistakes this time, just as the rest of us will, but lets just remember that again, this was hopefully a once in a lifetime storm, if not once in a several lifetime storm. But believe it or not, it could have easily been MUCH worse, if we got the rain with it....we got spared, believe it or not!

Central Valley, I think you are correct, I think its pretty much a test run for Monday.
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.

MBTA1016
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by MBTA1016 »

Jt, hope everything is ok with you and your family. As you said meteorologists are always wrong. :) I can think of a big screw up the meteorologists up here in MA made. A few years ago we were suppose to have a huge snowstorm and school was canceled the day since it was going to snow. That snowday we had didn't even see a flake fall from the sky, it was perfectly sunny out with no clouds. How does that happen in New England?

At least your ok, stay safe down there. If it makes you feel any better I saw a long convoy of servpro vehicles heading south on I-95 in MA about 15 mins ago.
Josh.W
Formally mbta fan
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acelaphillies
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by acelaphillies »

JT, glad you are okay. I can't imagine the challenges people in NJ are going through.

JT, because you are one of the only ones that can offer real facts about the storm damage I have some questions for you. How bad is MMC? Will it be months before it is up and running again? Was MMC full when it flooded because they were not anticipating a situation like this? Roughly what percent of the equipment at MMC was damaged; and along the same lines roughly what percent of NJT rail equipment was damaged as a whole? Like I said a few pages ago the damage at MMC is definitely a double whammy by damaging tons of equipment and also the major repair facility that fixes them.

Unfortunately, natural disasters like this are going to happen. The only thing we can do is help out those affected and learn from it. Like JT mentioned this storm is once in a lifetime. That doesn't mean it is realsitic to never build in an area that could be affected by a hurricane, just like it isn't realistic to never build in California because of the risk of earthquakes or to never build in the Midwest because of the chance of tornadoes.

IMO, lets try to focus on the facts and the recovery from this storm. What's done is done. If people want to argue about what could have been done differently then start a new thread, but I think we need to move past that. Let's focus on the issues and recovery from tha storm rather than arguing back and forth about nonsense. Hats off to everyone working their tails off to get things back to normal. It's people like this that help get everyone back on their feet.

blockline4180
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by blockline4180 »

JT,

Sorry about your loss man... Hang in there... You are right, I have no idea how bad it is down there... If there is anyway I can help PM me and ill try to help with money or canned goods.

Stay safe and be strong!
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Matt Johnson
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by Matt Johnson »

It's a good thing for NJT that they don't have the old seashore branch! Looks like I won't be riding my bike along the Henry Hudson trail out to Sandy Hook any time soon. :(

I was just home during fall break a couple of weeks ago. I had lunch at Jakeabob's Bay in Union Beach and took this photo from there. Little did I know it'd be my last visit.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... 1532817447

uzplayer
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by uzplayer »

It is what it is. At the end, at least we are all ok and posting here.

So where are the spare cars / locomotives coming from? I heard Amtrak?

michaelk
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Re: Hurricane Sandy (issues and recovery time)

Post by michaelk »

DutchRailnut wrote:...
As for redundancy, nice word, but it does not exist on a railroad, specialy one paid for with tax payer money.

...
THIS

the same people having the fits here are probably the same people that complain about fair increases or who would whine about 'wasting capital money on building a shiny new duplicate that will never be needed anyway just because they can'.

So easy to Monday morning quarterback.

I've been involved with Business Continuity Plans for massive companies and while you try to think of everything there's some things you miss or other things that you didn't miss but didn't prioritize. Sometimes because you had to work into you budget or fix more likely messes first. Other times you sit around the table and say "should We build a duplicate ROC someplace or spend that capital money on rolling stock that will be used everyday?" and if We spend that capital money do i want to spend the operating funds to maintain it each year or hire someone else that will have an impact on daily operations?

Also you can build a second site but if there's no communication back and forth it's worthless- Not sure where people are above posting that cell phones and landlines are fine. Cell phones were I am (hunterdon) and my family (Momouth County and Hoboken) are NOT AT ALL RELIABLE- there was/is a non-trivial percentage of towers affected and the ones working are overwelmed because so many landlines are down and everyone needs to use their cells. Calls take 3-4 attempts to get through. Texts work fine beacuse they cue up (But dont go over 160 characters or it turns into an MMS and those get bogged down with the lack of connections too). Have fun running a railroad with 160 character text messages. I happen to regularly work for one of the large pharmaceutical companies in NJ. For several days they didn't have a single site in NYC, NJ, or PA that could open because the places that did have power didn't have phone and data. We're talking an employer with probably 10k people sitting at home because phone and internet was down. I can't speak to radios but I would imagine it's not unlikely to get enough bandwidth you would have to upgrade the radios to some fancy digital system and spend tens (hundreds?) of thousands on all new radios. Then we'd here the complainers about that expenditure.

It's not like you just buy another transformer for your O27 and it's redundant....

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