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Snow Delays


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#1 deimos

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 09:45 AM

Just checked the Amtrak site and noticed snow/blizzard conditions are apparently causing delays in the NEC. I'm not at all surprised. Realizing a combination of factors contribute to the ability to operate, I was wondering when does snow accumulation generally become a problem for rail traffic?

I can imagine frozen precip will cause myriad problems for power lines, switches and signals. Visibility is obviously an issue as well. Are switches (signals, etc.) heated to help prevent ice related problems?

#2 gswager

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 08:12 PM

Biggest factor for heavy snow- frozen switches.
Entire length in segments- Southwest Chief (LSV-LAX & CHI-LSV), Pacific Surfliner (SLO-LAX & LAX-SAN) & San Joaquin (Oakland stub)
Entire length, end to end- Lake Shore Limited (Boston stub) (11/09), Downeaster (11/09) & Coast Starlight (10/11)
Partial- California Zephyr (SLC-EMY), Hiawatha, Cascades (SEA-PDX) & Acela (BOS-PVD)

#3 deimos

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 09:37 PM

Thanks for the reply :)

I was just wondering if there was some rough guideline, e.g. 6 inches, that would then indicate delays are likely.

I did a bit of digging out myself and then saw reports that NY Central Park received 26.9 inches today - reportedly highest daily snow fall accumulation on record. Obviously a tough travel day.

Also did a search of previous threads and found a number of previous posts regarding weather delays - I guess I should have done this before posting my question.

#4 AlanB

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 11:42 PM

I did a bit of digging out myself and then saw reports that NY Central Park received 26.9 inches today - reportedly highest daily snow fall accumulation on record. Obviously a tough travel day.

Yup, we set a record today with that 26.9, beating the old record for 24 hours of 26.4 inches. At the height of the storm we got 11 inches in less than 3 hours.

As for the trains, the LIRR had big problems suspending all service into Penn from Jamaica after 4 different trains were stalled on the 4 main tracks that head to Penn from Jamaica. They had other delays too, but that was the worst.

Metro North went to diesel only service on the New Haven line and shutdown all service on the Harlem line for several hours. The Hudson line maintained normal service.

New Jersey transit didn't have too many problems that I'm aware of, but they did stop express service on the NEC, and the cut short the Raritan line at Newark's Penn Station. Normall it runs to Hoboken on the weekend.

The NYC subways also took a beating on the portions of elevated and ground level tracks. At one point at least 10 different lines were having problems.

All three airports also closed for several hours. LaGuardia is still closed and Newark is accepting arriving flights only. JFK is doing both arriving and departing flights, but things are far from normal.
Alan,

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#5 AlanB

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Posted 12 February 2006 - 11:45 PM

I was just wondering if there was some rough guideline, e.g. 6 inches, that would then indicate delays are likely.

Not really. A lot depends on the type of snow, wet or powder, how fast does it fall, wind and other factors. However, I'd say that typically anything over 10 inches is going to cause some problems. But I've seen far less create havoc and I've seen bigger amounts that didn't seem to cause too many problems.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#6 battalion51

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 01:34 AM

From what I've been able to tell Ice is the big problem. When you have ice problems the switches are more likely to freeze, as well as issues with the pantographs being able to pick up from the catenary. Fortunately with today's advanced technology visibility isn't really an issue since for the most part Engineers can run the train solely based on the information given in the cab and how the train responds to his reductions and power requests.

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