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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Regionals and short lines work to maintain operations before, after Ike

Hurricane Ike disrupted operations for Class Is in the Southwest and Midwest by downing trees onto tracks, cutting off power to signals and grade crossings, and washing out portions of line. The storm affected a number of regionals and short lines, too.

Railroads continue to restore operations after cleaning up debris, repairing track, and positioning portable generators at crossings and yard offices to provide power while electricity is cut off. Many regionals and short lines have quickly rebounded from Ike because of pre-storm preparations. The roads secured tools and supplies, topped off fuel tanks, validated emergency contact information, and moved locomotives and rail cars away from low-lying areas.

In addition, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) held daily conference calls to determine railroads' status and identify storm-related needs. Call participants included representatives from the Association of American Railroads, Railinc, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Transportation Security Administration and Federal Railroad Administration.

The ASLRRA also helped regionals and short lines obtain customized letters from the FRA that allowed railroad personnel to access areas cordoned off by state and local authorities so they could assess damage and begin to restore operations.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/18/2008