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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Five Class Is prep operations for Hurricane Gustav

Batten down the hatches. That's what railroads are doing in and around New Orleans today to brace for Hurricane Gustav — the first potentially major hurricane to hit the Big Easy area since Katrina devastated the region in 2005. Gustav is projected to strengthen into a Category 3 hurricane and make landfall near New Orleans on Tuesday.

BNSF Railway Co. plans to close its New Orleans intermodal facility by noon (CDT) today. Trains heading to the city will be staged until they can enter the New Orleans region. CSX Intermodal also will close its New Orleans terminal, projecting the facility will cease operations by 5 p.m. (CDT).

Meanwhile, Union Pacific Railroad will redirect traffic normally interchanged with Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation in New Orleans to the Memphis, Tenn., and St. Louis gateways. All interchange traffic with NS and manifest traffic with CSXT will be directed to the Memphis gateway; intermodal traffic interchanged with CSXT will move over the St. Louis gateway.

NS issued an embargo on all traffic destined to locations south of Hattiesburg, Miss., to and including New Orleans. Traffic moving via New Orleans to and from connecting carriers also is included in the embargo.

The Kansas City Southern Railway Co. is moving equipment out of its New Orleans yard, diverting traffic to other gateways, and staging ballast and machinery outside of the city to ensure it can any necessary track repairs as quickly as possible after the storm.

In addition, New Orleans Public Belt Railroad — which was hit hard by Katrina — is prepping for the storm and providing Gustav updates on its Web site (

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/29/2008