The wind issue is one which has bitten railroads before. Most equipment is
rated at about 100mph winds, but that includes train speed, etc. The UP has
installed wind gauges at several bad locations such as the Blue Mountains in
Oregon where wind gusts will jump to 100mph or more very quickly (when I was
Roadmaster there, we had a substained wind of 60mph which suddenly jumped to
over 100mph-a train lost a number of trailers and containers which derailed
it and another train it met at Union Jct.-while investigating the
derailment, another wind came up and several of us flew across a fence
[getting back up the hill and acros the fence was much harder]).)
The idea of 50mph winds requiring trains to be slowed or stopped is due to
this combination of wind speed and train speed.
The point on monitoring these speeds is good. It took several such
derailments before gauges were installed. Today, many of the weather
monitoring systems can track wind speeds, but as discovered at airports,
these small micro-bursts are hard to find and predict.
It is interesting also that the train was stopped and that the equipment was
RoadRailers. The CSX had some problems with RoadRailer blowing off tall
bridges back east in the hills, one of the reasons CSX didn't stay with the
system. I've got some loading data on them, I'll see what their center of
gravities are and what their weights are. However, it would seem that they
would be less likely to blow over than regular trailers on flat cars.
At 08:15 PM 2/9/01 -0800, you wrote:
My question here is, Where was the contract weather
service used by BNSF that should have warned the NOC
about this? Based on the storm reports I've seen, the
intensity of the winds was evident back to the west
and northwest. And I've always operated on the belief
that 50-60 mph crosswinds would get a train stopped or
slowed. Perhaps Wes or Pat can chip in on the wind
threshold for putting up the red flag on trains. I'm
not trying to point fingers but, as I make part of my
living on the weather, I'm always curious when my
--- Mike Murray <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
High Winds Derail Freight Train---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reporter: Tabitha Goodwin
Updated: Feb 09, 2001 at 12:45PM
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GAINESVILLE, Texas - Straight-line winds caused
spectacular damage to a North Texas stretch of one
of the nation's largest rail lines early Friday.
The incident happened south of Gainesville, just
after 2 a.m. when 29 rail cars were toppled like
toys by the high winds.
Wind speeds were estimated to be nearly 100 miles
per hour along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe
The train was heading from Fort Worth to Kansas
City. It had stopped just south of Gainesville for a
crew change when strong winds blew 29 of the 122
cars off the track.
The cars were carrying appliances -- no hazardous
cargo. No one was hurt.
Railroad spokesperon Jerry Jenkins explained the
RoadRailer cars involved in the derailment can also
be used on highways, so they are lighter than
traditional box cars. That may have made them more
susceptible to the winds.
Work was underway Friday to clear the derailed cars
and repair the damaged rail line.
Copyright: 2001 by WFAA-TV Co. All Rights Reserved.
Keep it on track!
[Non-text portions of this message have been
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