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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Rail life, post-Frances: Florida East Coast resumes operations


Nothing like a hurricane — or two — to wreak havoc with rail operations. But the folks at Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) are back in business.

On Sept. 8, the St. Augustine-based regional resumed operations along its 351-mile system — which runs along the Sunshine State’s east coast — after inspection teams cleared all track sections and crossings for service. FECR had suspended service late in the day on Sept. 2 in anticipation of Hurricane Frances’ arrival.

"We are extremely proud of all our railway employees, who have successfully managed through two hurricanes during the last few weeks," said FECR President John McPherson in a prepared statement. "Their untiring dedication and commitment has allowed the railway to be back in service in less than 48 hours after Frances moved across the state of Florida."

But it’s not quite business as usual. Lingering power outages have left many grade crossings inoperable; as a result, FECR officials have reduced train speeds and train starts until power can be fully restored.

Meanwhile, the traffic interruption and clean-up expenses will take a toll on the railway’s third-quarter financial statement. But it’ll represent a temporary blip on an otherwise positive outlook, said Robert Anestis, chairman, president and chief executive officer of FECR parent Florida East Coast Industries.

"Railway revenue and volumes for the first eight months were strong and once the short-term impact to the railway operations is resolved, we expect this momentum to resume and continue over the balance of the year," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/9/2004