Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 24

Tacoma Rail's Preparation
Over the years, Tacoma Rail in Tacoma,
Washington, has experienced track
washouts, bridge abutment erosions
and downed trees caused by storms.
Because it has on-call maintenance
and environmental services contracts
for emergency repairs and cleanups,
in addition to its own capabilities, it has
been able to respond quickly and minimize service interruptions. Roadmaster
Kyle Kellem shares details of the railroad's emergency response strategies:
* Tacoma Rail has had an
emergency preparedness plan
(EPP) since 2014.
* The staff is also familiar with the
Northwest Area Contingency
Plan (NACP) and a Public Utility
Emergency Action Plan (EAP),
both designed to cover a variety of
natural disaster scenarios.
* The EPP covers fires,
earthquakes, volcanic activities,
heavy wind, flooding and all other
major events that could affect
the ability of Tacoma Rail to
perform service.
* Emergency bridge inspection
is addressed.
* Tacoma Rail participates in
meetings with Tacoma Power
to discuss hydro-dam failures
resulting from earthquakes
and lahars (mudslides) that
would affect the Tacoma
Rail infrastructure.
* In case of a severe winter storm,
Tacoma Rail manages annual
vegetation growth, clears ditches
along the railroad right of way
(ROW), does snow hole cleaning
around switch points and keeps
an adequate quantity of de-icer
on hand. Equipment is ready to
clear snow and ice from grade
crossings and the railroad ROW,
if needed.

24

Disaster Recovery
Successes
Remember Seminole Gulf Railway and
its encounter with Hurricane Irma? Here's
what happened. When the company
knew the Category 5 storm was headed
its way, Seminole Gulf secured the yard
and maintenance facility and fueled the
vehicles and locomotives.
"We expected the absolute worst,"
Fay said. "But our railroad was fortunate.
In other places, buildings were ripped
apart, signs demolished and bridges
suffered severe damage."
Seminole Gulf runs a mystery
dinner train and had to cancel those
reservations for a month. Instead, four
employees and their families, who lived in
mandatory evacuation areas, resided on the
train until they could go home. They ate
the food so it didn't spoil. Seminole Gulf's
emergency response team and cleanup
crews also used the dinner train as home
base, Fay said.
Afterward, Seminole Gulf couldn't
run freight for 15 days because of a bridge
closure that prevented it from connecting
with CSX. The bridge spanned a river that
was flowing 12 feet above its high-water
mark, and the elevated water levels kept
CSX down for three weeks. Federal regulations require that inspections be performed
on bridges after certain natural disasters
before railroads can continue operations.
Without a plan, Fay said, Seminole
Gulf's stoppage would have been even
longer. "We suffered at least $500,000
in storm-related losses due to lack of
revenue from freight and dinner train inactivity and expenses related to cleanup and
repair of the railroad, including rebuilding
washed-out areas of track, bridge repairs,
clearing and removal of trees, signal
repairs, sign repair and replacement,
and replacement of lost food," he said.
Ahead of the storm, the Federal
Railroad Administration (FRA) asked

SHORT LINE CONNECTOR // WINTER 2018

for a copy of Seminole Gulf's disaster
preparedness plan. It also asked when
the railroad would be interchanging
again. Of note, the FRA has a process
where it can waive regulatory requirements, such as employees working
more than 12 hours, in case of a
natural disaster.
Fay advocates that railroads revisit
their plan fairly often and make any
needed adjustments. "We will be updating
our plan [after Hurricane Irma] and
accounting for how many days we might
be without services, particularly access to
fuel, cash and food," he said. "We certainly
needed more food and a better supply of
gas. Half of our maintenance vehicle fleet
was without gas for three days."
Hurricane Harvey also did some major
damage in 2017, including a washout of
some of Watco's track in south Houston.
Herod said the corporate response was
tremendous. "They sent people to Houston
to take care of our people," Herod said.
"Other team members donated money,
generators and water. You have to get your
people taken care of before you can get
the business up and running."
When Hurricane Katrina devastated
New Orleans in 2005, Rio Grande Pacific
had to shut down for seven days. The surge
of wind and water pushed the Mississippi
River over the levee and onto the railroad's
tracks, along with tons of debris.
"We had a plan in place that's nothing
like it is now," Harris said. "[Katrina]
made us write a new plan and purchase
generators. [Now] we also stage equipment
on our highest tracks and set hand brakes
on all the equipment."
Clearly, a disaster preparation plan
goes a long way. "We hope you never have
to use it," Harris added. —
Heather Larson writes about a variety
of business issues from her office in
Tacoma, Washington.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Short Line Connector - Winter 2018

Keepin’ It Rail
Inside Track
Keeping Track
Welcome Aboard
Traffic Report
Trackside Chat
LOOKING AHEAD IN 2018
ASLRRA RELEASES STRATEGIC PLAN
READY FOR RECOVERY
MARKETING AWARD WINNER: PAN AM RAILWAYS
The Class Act
Legislative Log
Safety Central
Meet the Staff
Ad Index
In Transit
The Last Mile
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover1
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover2
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 1
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Keepin’ It Rail
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 3
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Inside Track
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Keeping Track
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Welcome Aboard
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 7
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Traffic Report
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 9
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Trackside Chat
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 11
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - LOOKING AHEAD IN 2018
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 13
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 14
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 15
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 16
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 17
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - ASLRRA RELEASES STRATEGIC PLAN
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 19
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 20
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 21
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - READY FOR RECOVERY
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 23
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 24
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - MARKETING AWARD WINNER: PAN AM RAILWAYS
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - The Class Act
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Legislative Log
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Safety Central
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Ad Index
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - In Transit
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 31
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - The Last Mile
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover3
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/annual2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/FactsAndFigures
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com