This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
above track level in low-lying areas. Until the June 20 storms hit, BNSF crews had successfully kept the Kansas City-Lincoln line open by raising the St. Joseph Sub track- age located in the flood plain between Rulo, Neb., and Fortescue, Mo., just west of Napier. But after a levee broke at Rulo, the game was over as the water quickly rose above the rails and the current washed out nearly four miles of track. At the time, the Army estimated that it would not be able to reduce the water flow from its dams and mitigate the flooding until some time in October. While the railroad was able to divert traffic to alternate routes, the detours were expensive, requiring extra crews, causing delays to shipments due to congestion on the remaining routes, and reducing the pro- ductivity of the car and locomotive fleets. BNSF says that at the height of the flooding, 40 per cent of its trains were detoured and 500 crewmembers were redeployed away from the affected areas.


The railroad could not afford to wait three or four months for the water to recede, and so in July it embarked on a bold plan, which ultimate- ly cost about $375 million, to rebuild the ruined trackage and bridges — with the river still run- ning above flood stage. So in early July, BNSF forces and contrac-


tors attacked the breach from both ends. U.S. highway 159 roughly parallels the railroad be- tween the Missouri River bridge at Rulo and Fortescu, but it also was submerged. Crews built up the embankment from the east end for road access and brought in cranes and other


CARL R. GRAVES


equipment mounted on barges from the west. While working 24 hours a day in fast-moving water up to 50 feet deep, crews demolished the remains of the original bridges and built five new spans ranging in length from 180 to 600 feet. Riprap and fill was brought in using earthmovers, side dump cars, and a George- town Dump Train.


On Saturday September 3, trains began to


move over the St. Joseph sub once more as work was completed nearly a week ahead of schedule. At press time in mid October, parts of the Napier and Omaha Subs were still out of service as the water continued to slowly re- cede, but most BNSF traffic had been returned to its normal routes.—WALT LANKENAU


CARL R. GRAVES


OPPOSITE TOP: Eastbound coal loads for Scherer, Ga., pass through Napier, Mo., on September 4, 2011, the day after the St. Joseph Subdivi- sion reopened. Missouri River floodwaters closed this busy line, which normally handles over 40 trains a day, in late June, forcing reroutes via the Emporia and Avard subdivisions and other BNSF routes. Behind the coal train is a work train which will dump more rock on the fill west of the junction. LEFT: While the flood raged through July and August, crews


worked from barges to replace Bridge 102.19 at Big Lake, Mo., located be- tween Rulo and Fortescue. TOP: On June 29, the St. Joseph Sub was under water at Napier, as seen from the U.S. 159 overpass. ABOVE: An eastbound coal train headed for Sadler, Mo., crosses Bridge 100.7 at the east end of the reconstructed trackage near Fortescue on September 4, still surrounded by floodwaters. BNSF crews and contractors raised raised four miles of track and built five bridges in two months.


27


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68