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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Short line set to reopen storm-damaged track; Class Is back in business on formerly flooded lines

If repairs progress as scheduled, the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad (SKOL) will reopen its flood-ravaged line this weekend, according to SKOL parent the Watco Cos. Inc. Severe storms in late June and early July damaged two bridges and submerged 15 miles of the 404-mile short line’s track in Kansas and Oklahoma.

However, the track reopening will be an “emergency” type, meaning trains will operate at speeds less than 10 mph — most likely 5 mph — until crews complete repairs and restore the line to pre-flood conditions. The majority of SKOL’s traffic remains under an embargo.

“Once we have the mainline open, we will begin by moving existing online traffic,” said Pat Cedeno, Chief Operating Officer for Watco’s Central Region, in a prepared statement. “It will take some time to move that traffic to its destination and reach a point where we can progress to normal operating procedures, which includes accepting traffic at interchange.”

Meanwhile, BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad earlier this week repaired mainlines in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas that were damaged by the storms and reopened the lines to traffic. The Class Is anticipate transit time delays the next few days because of lingering traffic congestion.

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More News from 7/11/2007