Railroads rise to the challenge

This article describes the massive recovery effort carried out by railroads in the regions affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In one instance, Norfolk Southern (NS) oversaw the restoration of its 5.8-mile Lake Pontchartrain Bridge and restored important interchanges with western Carriers only 10 days after starting repairs. In the case of the bridge, NS employed 365 workers who labored around the clock. Cranes were able to lift one mile of track per day out of the water and made over 400 separate moves. Another section that was damaged was a 39-mile stretch of CSX's main line that runs along the Gulf Coast east from New Orleans to Pascagoula, Mississippi, 26 miles of which was virtually entirely wiped out along one contiguous stretch. In addition to track being upended and moved as much as 50 feet, large sections of roadbed were destroyed, and six bridges suffered major damage. The article describes the plans the railroads had worked out for disaster response, which allowed the railroads to resume operations four days after the first storm passed through. When Rita hit, additional plans were implemented, which included an embargo on all inbound traffic from Houston south to Brownsville and prepositioning of ballast, cribbing ties, generators and other repair materials. Signal masts and road crossing gates were removed, and running stock was moved to higher ground. Passenger service may be restored to New Orleans by mid-October 2005; for some lines, though the Sunset Limited will not be fully operational for quite some time.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 29-33
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010946
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 29 2005 2:46PM