Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by MetraBNSF
10 years ago on this date, 17 inches of rain fell in Aurora which caused extensive flooding in BNSF's Hill Yard and parts of the mainline which subsequently halted all rail traffic (Amtrak, Metra, and freight) for several days. I'm looking for more information on this event, but can't seem to find any. Has anybody seen any information on the ramifications of the 1996 floods that halted Metra service? All I remember was I read that there were signs at Westmont that read "no trains".

  by doepack
Here's a quote from the American Meteorological Society's report about the impact those 1996 floods had on rail service. Had a little trouble sending the link, so I'm paraphrasing:

"Four railyards were flooded and five railroads experienced major flooding and damages. Canceled or rerouted trains and delayed travel had serious repercussions since Chicago is the nation’s rail hub with vast amounts of freight exchanged among the 13 railroads entering the city.

Flooding and blockage of the rail lines stopped Amtrak service and halted Chicago’s extensive METRA commuter service west and southwest to the suburbs for one to three days. On 18–19 July, 46000 commuters could not use METRA service to reach their workplaces. Amtrak also stopped 14 trains operating daily through the flooded area.

Damages to the railroads included erosion of road beds, erosion and damage to bridges, and mudslides. Six bridges had to be replaced, and 19 miles of track were washed out. The railroads responded by moving several special trains of ballast (rock) from the western and southwestern United States to rebuild their lines, and most main lines reopened on 19 July. Considerable water damage to signal systems also stopped train movements. The railroads had to reroute 368 trains at a cost of $12 million, and in total railroads incurred losses of$48 million due to direct damages, train delays, and train reroutings."

The report was published in 1999, and indeed, it was an ungodly mess...
  by Tony T.
I remember that night...we were flooded out of our home directly adjacent to the old MILW main line west in Kirkland IL (I think it was still Soo then). I thought it was a little odd to see a westbound sitting just out of town (before things really got bad).

I would have parked my vehicles up next to the tracks to save them (only ground high enough to be above water) if I had known he was not going to move for a week!


(ps, I know, this is well out of Metra territory, just reminded me of a very long night and I had forgotten the '10 year' anniversary thing)