Saturday, March 16, 2019

Flood of 2019: some UP and CP routes are closed, BNSF also

The heavy flooding was aggravated by a bomb cyclone.

The CP Turkey river bridge outage, detour and rebuild has been moved to its own post.

UP outage map accessed 10:09am, 3/16/2019. 

I accessed the map again on 3/21, and it is the same except the Vaughn-Dalhart segment is back in service.
When I noticed that the above map was part of a "ServiceAdvisory" dated 3/18/2019, I looked for a more recent map.
BSNF3, accessed 3/24/2019
UP has outages because of wind as well as water:

This UP route through Logan, IA, is not the mainline.
Gary Felters posted two photos.
Dan Hodgson It's Logan by the cemetery
Shane Nixon Where are the trains detouring?
Gene Kracht Running some on the Spine.
I spent a while looking at a satellite map trying to find this location. But I couldn't find a cemetery nor match up the curves and trees with the satellite image. And I don't know where the Spine is. I assume UP has these double tracks, and CN has the single-track route through town.
But Columbus, NE, is on the original UP transcontinental mainline.
Ty Hansen's post
Columbus, NE
Harry Henderson The bridge, which is an old abandoned CNW railroad bridge, seems to have stopped the ice flow. But all this weather and such does suck.
Ty Hansen Harry Henderson yeah. Losing bridges left and right here in Nebraska.
[I disagree with Harry's comment. The bridge looks like it is on the original transcontinental route to me.]
If you watch the video [Sorry, the URL Facebook gives me doesn't work. You will have to dig through the post to find the video.], the river is not only out of its banks, the river is swiftly flowing over land that is normally dry.
Screenshot @ -0:07 from Mike Moffitts comment on Ty's post
[The video shows a fast flow of water through this intersection. I asked for the names of the streets for that intersection, but nobody answered.]

Joe Piper posted
Columbus, Nebraska
[The trees at the bottom are along the normal river bank of the Platte River.]

UP's mainline is the track across the top of this image.

Sandra Oliver shared
Caden SilveraydoMan Wemhoff to Nebraska through the lens
Rails are impassable in Columbus , Ne unbelievable what water can do to somthing allowing 100s of tons pass it weekly
[Another example where there should have been an approach span over a flood plain rather than running the embankment all the way to the river's banks. It looks like the river widened itself on the other side of the bridge was well. I spent some time looking at a satellite image, but I could not find a bridge of this length in the Columbus, NE area.]
I normally avoid profile videos, but this video shows how bad the UP mainline is west of Columbus, NE. Significant stretches are still under water. And there are washouts. But I was surprised by the amount of debris left on top of the tracks in some places.

The Farmer's Life posted
Stranded cattle in North Bend, NE.
[North Bend is another town along the UP mainline.]
Andrew Tuttle shared
Marc Mcclure Old DeBruce Grain. Flooded the year it was built.Jay Lyon About a mile and a half from the river?!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4...
J Pete Hedgpeth West of Rock Port would be PHELPS CITY. Located between Langdon and Watson on the BHSF St. Joe, MO----P Junc line.

In North Bend, NE, the waters are lapping at the rails.
In fact, to the West, the water appears to be over the tracks.
Even if the water is not over the rails, the water high up on the embankment sides can cause derailments because it softens the earth. BNSF dramatically demonstrated this danger in Doon, IA on June 22, 2018 when they derailed tank cars and dumped oil into the flood waters.

UP's mainline also got damaged in Arlington, NE.
Boot Burnie posted
UP main Nebraska Floods
Scott Walters I work in KC we have an extra 26 trains a day being rerouted through here

I added BNSF to the title.
James Kissack shared
John Smith Kiss those traction motors goodbye!!
Greg Mas 250k each
Donald Klecan Nebraska. Outside Fremont if I remember correctly. Whole states a mess right now.
Vince Davis As long as there is no power to them, no problem... [Although it is ta radition in these MoW groups to be facetious. Like commenting on a wreck that "it will buff out." I don't know if Vince is kidding or not.]

Glen Schiffer posted
William Styskal It's a westbound sitting past sand crossing by the somewhat evacuated trucking company yard at Oreapolis by Plattsmouth.
John McCool Short circuit ground in the tractor motors!

Robert Leamont posted
Third shift at the Galesburg, IL Diesel shop.
Note that the far Tier 4 locomotive with the iron hand hanging back by its compressor room is the 3778, which is the lead locomotive that was in the viral picture of the BNSF sand train that was sitting in flood water in Nebraska recently.
Dennis DeBruler I read that a traction motor cost $250,000. Did all six have to be replaced?

William Styskal commented on Glen's post

Braytin Friedman commented on a post that has comments about how the detoured trains are being rerouted through Illinois.
[The comments are two techinical for me to understand. I don't know the current subdivision name of UP and BNSF in Illinois.]
[Update: this article identifies this photo as March 17, 2019 in Plattsmouth, NE. "Water flowed over and through levees...Many of the damaged homes are wet up to the roof line and likely ruined."]
Marc Dufour shared
Nothing like a nice, soothing foot bath…
Mit Benz posted
Allan Love Jr. Oreapolis.
Josh Ośmiałowski Hey look at that signal bungalow! The risers added to keep it above the flood plain worked!
[This looks like a different view of the three locos above.]

Alex Mendoza posted
BNSF Railroad near Cedar Creek, Nebraska, along Platte River
Talk about building on a flood plain. The BNSF is close to the Platte River on both sides of Cedar Creek.

[It is worth playing the video to see how fast the Platt River is flowing at South Bend, NE]
BNSF2, accessed 3/24/19
BNSF Flood Recovery, accessed 3/24/19
Michael Matalis posted
Years ago (like the 70's) I visited Pacific Junction with a friend and remember little of it except that it was a big name for a small town. I wish the residents the best in what has to be very difficult times.
Steve Smedley updated
On assignment to cover flooding in Western Iowa and Nebraska for TRAINS Magazine Newswire. This is the main entrance into the evacuated town of Pacific Junction, Iowa. The Missouri River had a levee fail, which flooded the town and BNSF Creston Sub, at right, along with the Council Bluffs Sub. Depressing looks like a bomb went off. Steve Smedley
Christian Goepel The damage to people’s lives, communities, and transportation infrastructure is astonishing in western Iowa as well as across eastern Nebraska and eastern South Dakota. I’ve been traveling the broader three-state region (including a stop in Pacific Junction) for the last four days. Glad you’re covering it, too.

Trains, Steve Smedley
Flooding of the Platte River, south of Omaha, Neb., has destroyed spans of BNSF Railway's Omaha Subdivision, along with the Union Pacific's Fall City Subdivision. On Tuesday morning, a Union Pacific crane was working on removing a log jam on the upstream side of the bridge.
[Stellite, UP is on the west side]
Some more of Steve Smedley's photos are in this article.

Mar 18 Update:
Historic flooding is causing huge headaches for both freight and passenger railroads in Nebraska and surrounding states.
BNSF Railway reopened its Alliance-to-Lincoln line Sunday night after it had been shut down for several days because of flooding in areas between Ravenna and Hazard and near Broken Bow. BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said the line closed at Broken Bow on Wednesday and at Ravenna on Thursday. Williams said there are other BNSF rail lines that are still affected, although he did not specify which ones.
Union Pacific also has seen several of its routes impacted by flooding, said Raquel Espinoza, a spokeswoman for the Omaha-based railroad. Routes that are out of service because of flooding include Fremont to Grand Island and Fremont to Missouri Valley, Iowa; Valley to Lincoln; and Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Kansas City, Kansas, a route that runs partially on the Nebraska side of the Missouri River. The Grand Island Independent also reported that a half dozen U.P. trains are parked at Central City and Clarks because they are unable to continue on to their destinations. The company said in a bulletin to customers that because the flooding is so widespread, it has "very limited reroute capacity."
The track problems for BNSF and U.P. also are affecting Amtrak.

Ryan Christensen shared
This is the railroad in Nebraska (NCRC) I used to work for. I quit to join CN in Wisconsin, and am looking back wondering how my friends are going to fare.
Jory Knowlton posted three photos with the comment: "Railroad tracks leading West out of Monroe. The AWESOME Power of Water."
Dennis Frances Dommer It looks like the railroad has been abandoned for years.
Jory Knowlton Dennis Frances Dommer it has not. However, yes it looks that way. Lots of Sand, ethanol and grain gets shipped through this Nebraska Central line.
[The bridge span has been shoved off its bents.]


BNSF reports that much of its mainline trackage in South Dakota is out of service, along with its main line from Alliance to Omaha, Neb.
Union Pacific specifically calls out service disruptions on its Omaha, Blair, Columbus, Lincoln, and Falls City subdivision, mostly near the Missouri River in Iowa and Nebraska. A full UP embargoed line list is online
The National Weather Service has extended flood warnings for Omaha through March 23; though Monday for Lincoln, Neb. Elsewhere, the weather service has posted flood warnings for St. Louis, on the Mississippi River until further notice; for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, until March 23; and Memphis through March 31.

Candadian Pacific and BNSF share this route.
Screenshot @ -1:14
Elle Kay
I have never seen a train go through water like this. This is downtown Davenport, IA. I was up in the sky bridge checking out the Mississippi River flooding.
[I don't think too many other people have seen a train go through this much water either. They risk burning out traction motors at $250,000 each.]
The above video is from the sky bridge, the photo below shows the sky bridge.
Trains, Steve Smedley
Floodwaters from the Mississippi River are over the riverfront trackage for three blocks between Harrison and Perry streets. Trains were operating at walking speed through the flooded track, with CP track inspectors standing on both sides of three train movements on Saturday evening monitoring movements.
[The article says it is hosting BNSF detours between Davenport and Camanche, IA.]
Robby Gragg's comment on a Facebook posting
Jeff Delhaye Probably not 'isolated" as that would remove throttle response, but notched up with "generator field" turned off, to turn off the electricity to the traction motors, but let the traction motor blowers work harder.

Erik Rasmussen caught a BNSF local creating a rather big "bow wave" with another train on the Government Bridge. The comments explain that an engine in the rear is what is actually moving the train because the lead units are "isolated."
Posted by Robert Jordan on March 25, 2019 "main generator and electrical system for propulsion are disconnected."
Posted by Erik Rasmussen on March 25, 2019 
FSWood - the lead locomotives were isloated electrically and were not providing any power to pull the train.

Posted by mmi16 on March 25, 2019 
Hope the 720 has the traction motor blowers going to minimize water entering the traction motors!

Posted by Dana M. on March 25, 2019 
Fascinating photo and a great capture Erik! However - I wonder if the Conductor had to get off and flag the crossings since the gates were malfunctioning?! LOL! Now THAT would truly be a miserable "mandate" to have to flag the crossings! Talk about ending up with two "soakers" of footwear that would be uncomfortable to wear the rest of the day!

Posted by pitty on March 25, 2019 
I seen a UTube video with a CPR loco & DPU on the end, didnt have as much "bow wave" as this unit, they had CPR maintenance personal at the crossing gates, makes sense they would isolate the drive motors, must recheck UTube 2 C if I can make out if they are "off line" however I now noted the train did stop after the lead got thru the deep stuff.

Joe Dockrill shared
[I assume this is also on the riverside tracks in Davenport.]
Patrick McNamara RULES prohibit operating thru water more than three inches above the rails. Only a fucking idiot or a company "official" would be stupid enough to operate thru this.Nathan Thompson "A spokesman says whenever water reaches the top of the wheels, track inspections are conducted after each train goes by." [The TOP of the wheels?]
Kent Helbel post
Larry van Dyk I've seem it done, but you coast through the spot, generator field off, and throttle five to keep the motors dry.Adamski Choochalot Kent Helbel I've been through water 1 foot above the rail head, no ground relays!. Win!Craig Shaw Newer Traction motors have more clearance.Andrew Beeman Benjamin Ludwig we’ve been beating the same dead horse for days now. Gcor says anything over 3 inches over the rail is reduced to 5mph, anything more it must be monitored by a mechanical department.Mike Trentman Lots of wheel sets to change out for submerged bearings..Kent Helbel Mike Trentman my electrician friend saying that the motors are sealed. IDKMike Trentman Kent Helbel The roller bearings on freight cars have to be changed out if they are submerged. We changed 80 cars out last spring. all four wheel sets on each car.
TV6 View from Sky Bridge

As of Apr 9, 2019


Nebraska was bad by March 18, 2019: "the Nebraska DOT had determined 11 flood-damaged bridges would need to be replaced, and more than 200 miles of roadway repaired, according to the Omaha World-Herald....The floods hit a multi-state region in the Great Plains and Midwest fast and hard after a “bomb cyclone” dumped snow on an already frozen region last week and then swept in rain and warmer temperatures, quickly melting ice and packed snow. Newly released waters swelled northern rivers to historic heights, breaching about 200 miles of levees in four states. A map of road closures in Nebraska on the 511 travel information website brings the dramatic impact of the flooding into sharp relief, with more local roads and state highways closed than open in the eastern half of the state. Interstate 80 remains open, but many exits aren’t usable....The downstream impact on truckers and railroads has yet to be assessed, but the biggest blow may be to the region’s farming and livestock industries. The floods, which struck during calving season, caused widespread damage to cattle ranchers, including the loss of animals and the cost of moving and rescuing cattle. Flood waters left giant chunks of ice in farm fields." [JOC (countware of 5/month)]

I wonder what this normally looks like in September. Is all of this road construction still repairing flood damage?
I poked a few "dots" and discovered that US-136 is still [Sep 19, 2019] closed in both directions at the Missouri River.

1 comment:

  1. The "spine line" is the ex CRI&P line that ran from Minneapolis/St Paul to Kansas City. When the RI failed, the C&NW eventually got it and then the UP when they got the C&NW.