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THE MEMPHIS BUFF

VOLUME 35, ISSUE 10

NATIONAL RAILWAY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

OCTOBER 2008

FEMA's Evacuation Trains City of New Orleans Returns To Central Station Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road


Memphis Chapter Officers President – David Chase

dchase@memphisredbirds.com

Vice President – Bruce Smedley National Director – Bill Strong

williambstrong@bellsouth.net

Secretary – Oliver Doughtie

doughtio@bellsouth.net

Treasurer – Thomas Doherty

TRDoherty@aol.com

Librarian – Mike Pendergrass Publication Editor – Tom Parker

tscottparker@gmail.com

Last Month’s Meeting We had seventeen attendees at the September meeting. Bill Strong provided an update on the sink hole at Central Station and the progress on the work to date. Kenny Young also mentioned that Barnhart Crane and Rigging is erecting the world’s largest intermodal crane at BNSF’s Tennessee Yard. Our September program was a multimedia presentation provided by David Johnston, which featured a viewing of the program David will present at the GM&O Convention in October. The presentation was divided into two sections – the Southern end of the GM&O and the Northern end of GM&O. The first half of the presentation featured music and photos from such places as Moblie, Meridian, Corinth and Jackson, TN. Also, it featured GM&O trains such as the “Rebel” and the “Gulf Coast Rebel.” The second half of the presentation featured the northern end of the line with photos from Chicago, Springfield, Bloomington and Joliet. The GM&O trains features included “Abraham Lincoln,” “Alton Limited” and the “Anne Rutledge.”

This Month's Meeting The October meeting's program will be a video of the 2008 NHRA Convention in Texas presented by Jerry Michnewicz.

BUFF ONLINE: www.buff.illinoiscentral.net User Name:Member Password: Buff (Capital “M” & “B”) Cover Photo: One of FEMA's Evacuation Trains sits in Memphis' Central Station on September 1, 2008 after making two trips to Memphis from New Orleans carrying evacuees escaping hurricane Gustav. Tom Parker photo.


FEMA's Evacuation Trains By Tom Parker

History In the aftermath of Katrina, governmental agencies, particularly FEMA, stung by criticism for by their response both prior to and after the storm, went back to the drawing board and formulated new plans for future emergencies. At issue was the failure to utilize Amtrak in the evacuation effort and reports of Amtrak trains leaving New Orleans empty.1 In 2006, FEMA entered into a $700,000 per year year with Amtrak to provide emergency railroad transportation services for evacuating persons from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.2 This contract provided for 24 rail cars with stored equipment, food and provisions, an equipment mobilization plan, refrigerated rail cars, staff mobilization plans, insurance, and standby costs. The plan called for transportation 6000 evacuees by rail from New Orleans' Union Passenger Terminal to the Memphis, Tennesssee “Rail Depot” using two 24 car trains, with each train having a capacity of 1500 persons. Both trains were to make two trips within a forty eight hour window. One of the considerations in selection of a destination was “that arrival locations are suitable for a safe unloading operation and that arrangements are in place to care for the evacuees”.3 In December 2007, the lease for the storage of these cars in New Orleans (and presumably 1 Julia Malone, Cox News Service, August 22, 2006 2 Ibid. 3 Testimony Of Glenn M. Cannon,Assistant Administrator Disaster Operations Directorate Federal Emergency Management Agency,Department of Homeland Security, Before the United States House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Railroads,Pipelines and Hazardous Materials “The Role of Intercity Passenger Rail During Times of National Emergency”,February 11, 2008,New Orleans, Louisiana

FEMA trains 1 & 2 through Hammond en route to Memphis on August 30, 2008. Photos copyright by Shawn Levy and used with permission (See Shawn's photos at: http://www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?ArtID=19450, Train photos at http://shadow_warrior_usmc.rrpicturearchives.net/)

the contract) expired and the cars were removed to Delaware.4 On August 1st and 2nd, 2008, 10 ex Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) cars were moved to New Orleans on the Crescent for “hurricane storage”.5

Preparations for Gustav 4 On Track On Line - Former Evacuation Fleet: http://on-track-online.com/amtkrinf-runaway.shtml 5 Michael Hansen, August 2, 2008. Yahoo sightings Group, http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/amtrak_sightings/


In anticipation of hurricane Gustav hitting New Orleans, Amtrak ran five locomotives to New Orleans on train #59 from Chicago on August 28th. AMTK 122 was in the lead with engines 87, 115, 139 and 63 trailing. The additional power was for use on evacuation trains out of New Orleans.6 On August 29th, with hurricane Gustav projected to make landfall on September 1st, Amtrak announced suspension of service for the three trains serving New Orleans; the Sunset Limited was stopped at San Antonio, the Crescent at Atlanta and the City of New Orleans from Chicago was cancelled. 7 FEMA-1 Consist Initial

Number Equip Type

Capacity

Regular Assignment

AMTK 87

P42DC (Loco)

AMTK 63

P42DC (Loco)

AMTK 1203

Baggage

AMTK 39204

Transition Sleeper

35

SSL

AMTK 32077

Sleeper

46

SSL

AMTK 38065

Diner

72

SSL

AMTK 33035

Sightseer Lounge

70

SSL

AMTK 34030

Coach

75

SSL

AMTK 34008

Coach

75

SSL

AMTK 34052

Coach

75

CONO

AMTK 34116

Coach

75

CONO

AMTK 31035

Coach/Baggage

62

CONO

AMTK 37006

Cross Country Cafe

85

CONO

AMTK 39013

Transition Sleeper 35

CONO

CDOT

1673

Commuter

102

CDOT

1625

Commuter

102

CDOT

1633

Commuter

102

CDOT

1671

Commuter

102

AMTK 68

P42DC (Loco)

AMTK 139

P42DC (Loco)

SSL

1113 6 “Cityofneworleanstrain” yahoo group August 29, 2008. 7 Amtrak website, www.amtrak.com, August 29. 2008

Using the Amtrak equipment on hand in New Orleans and the 10 CDOT commuter cars, two evacuation trains were assembled, designated by railfans as FEMA-1 and FEMA-2 FEMA-2 Consist Initial

Number Equip Type

Capacity

Regular Assignment

AMTK

13

P42DC (Loco)

AMTK

12

P42DC (Loco)

CDOT

1001

Commuter

62

CDOT

1621

Commuter

102

CDOT

1623

Commuter

102

CDOT

1631

Commuter

102

CDOT

1629

Commuter

102

CDOT

1675

Commuter

102

AMTK

25107

Coach

59

Crescent

AMTK

25058

Coach

59

Crescent

AMTK

25074

Coach

59

Crescent

AMTK

25027

Coach

59

Crescent

AMTK

25016

Coach

59

Crescent

AMTK

28022

Cafe/Lounge

48

Crescent

AMTK

62025

Sleeper

30

Crescent

AMTK

62022

Sleeper

30

Crescent

AMTK

1762

Baggage

AMTK

169

P42DC (Loco)

AMTK

22

P42DC (Loco)

Crescent

975

Evacuation New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagen announced the mandatory evacuation of residents of the West Bank starting at 8:00 AM, Sunday, August 31st with evacuation of the rest of the city to begin four hours later at noon. Under plans developed post Katrina, residents with no other means to leave the city were to call 311 and register for pick up at one of 17 designated spots around the city. They would then be transported to Union Passenger Terminal where they would be evacuated from


FEMA-1 at Central Station 9/1/08

Tom Parker Photo

8

the city by bus and train.

FEMA-1, departed New Orleans Union Terminal at 11:30 AM, August 31st ,9 with 1024 mostly elderly and disabled evacuees .10 FEMA-2 followed at 3:00 PM 11 with 876 evacuees.12 Upon arrival in Memphis early Sunday morning each train was met by 20 to 25 MATA buses and about a half dozen ambulances. Evacuees were taken to the National Guard Armory on Democrat Road where they were processed and transferred to one of ten shelters in West Tennessee13 8 “Category 4 Gustav Gains Speed, Strength”, Leslie Eaton and Alex Roth, Wall Street Journal, 9/1/08 9 “cityofneworleanstrain” yahoo group 8/30/08 10 “head north by rail, road”, Nevin Betwalla,Memphis Commercial Appeal, 8/31/08 11 “cityofneworleanstrain” yahoo group 8/30/08 12 “head north by rail, road”, Nevin Betwalla,Memphis Commercial Appeal, 8/31/08 13 Ibid.

FEMA-1 looking south from Nettleton Avenue 9/1/08

After the trains delivered the first group of evacuees, they returned to New Orleans for an anticipated additional 1676 passengers.14 However, when FEMA-1 returned to Memphis at 3:30 Sunday morning there were only 101 evacuees on board.15 FEMA-2 evid14 Ibid. 15 “101 More Gustav Evacuees Arrive By Train”, Jill Margetts,

Tom Photo Photo

ently returned to Memphis empty, although there was one report that the evacuees on FEMA-2's second trip detrained at Jackson, MS.16 With FEMA-1 at Central Station, FEMA-2 was held at Memphis' North Yard. On myeyewitnessnews.com (ABC 24), 9/1/08 16 “cityofneworleanstrain” yahoo group, 9/3/08


FEMA-2 at North Yard (Looking South) 9/2/08

Tom Parker Photo

rd

Wednesday, September 3 , FEMA-1 was relocated to North Yard17 and by Thursday afternoon, FEMA-2 had been spotted at Central Station. An estimated 1000 evacuees from the Jackson, TN, area began boarding the train for their return to New Orleans with departure “sometime after 8:00PM”18 The same procedure was followed the next day19. 853 evacuees20 boarded FEMA-1, which was minus sufficient Superliner cars and power for a northbound City of New Orleans from Memphis scheduled to leave from Central Station at its usual time of 17 Bill Strong e-mail. 9:00 PM 9/3/08 18 “Some Gustav evacuees head home tonight”, Carla Underwood, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/4/08 19 “Trains begin returning Hurricane Gustav evacuees to New Orleans”, Carla Underwood, Memphis Commercial Appeal , 9/5/08 20 New Orleans media reports, per James A. Robichaux, evacuee, “Amtrak_Sightings” Yahoo Group 9/7/08.

FEMA-2 at North Yard (Looking North) 9/2/08. Don't know where the reefer came from, perhaps they picked it up on the second trip. It probably made the move from Woodstock interesting! Tom Parker Photo

10:40 PM that same night.21 Track damage along Lake Ponchartrain by hurricane Gustav necessitated that the two FEMA trains be detoured. The CN McComb Sub had a large section of track washed 21 Bill Strong e-mail 5:27 PM, 9/4/08

out in the vicinity of the Bonnet Carre' spillway and the returning trains were rerouted via the Canadian National to Hattiesburg, MS and then via the Norfolk Southern to New Orleans.22 22 “cityofneworleanstrain” yahoo group, 9/4/08


City of New Orleans Returns To Central Station By Tom Parker

The City of New Orleans had it a little tougher than norm for nearly a month as a result of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. On August 29th Amtrak suspended train 58 and 59 for their entire route due to the approaching Gustav. It was not until a week later, on Friday, September 5th that service was restored between Memphis and Chicago. Service south of Memphis remained suspended due to a washout along Lake Ponchartrain. For a very brief period, from the night of September 5th through September 8th, regular passenger service returned to Central Station after an absence of over four months. When srvice over the entire route was restored from Chicago on Monday, September 8th and from New Orleans on Tuesday, September 9th, Amtrak again started bypassing Central Station and using the temporary facility near Johnston Yard. Mother nature would not go down without a fight, however. On September 11th, winds from approaching hurricane Ike again drove Lake

Two photos of the “City of New Orleans” trainset in Central Station on September 7, 2008. The train has an engine on both ends to facilitate operation in either direction without the need for the train to be turned. Tom Parker photos

Ponchatrain water over the newly repaired track. #58 managed to get out of New Orleans before the track was closed, but a late running #59 was stopped at McComb, MS. GP38-2 GTW 5813 was coupled to the north end of the train and it was run north from the next day as #58. It was over a week before the

track was repaired and train service was restored. In the interim, buses service was substituted between McComb and New Orleans. Finally, on September 20th the “City” again rolled into New Orleans. The first northbound train departed New Orleans the following day.


Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road By Tom Doherty Last month we rode the Canon City & Royal Gorge RR; this month it’s the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR. This has to be one of the most famous tourist railroads in the United States. The best way to summarize this ride is; it has to be one of the ten best in the world. This ride offers something for the rail fan, the traveling spouse who could care less, and the rest of the family. So how do you get there? You can fly into Durango or go to other airports in Colorado and drive. Plan a day each way if you drive and you’re not flying into Durango. If driving you can take a different route each way and see some spectacular scenery along the way. Any story about the DSNGRR is best done by pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words and that adage is very true when talking about the DSNGRR. So let’s start where the journey begins, Durango. This picturesque town is located in southwest Colorado in the San Juan Mountains. The old part of town still retains its’ early mining town heritage and this is where the DSNGRR Depot, museum, yard, and roundhouse are located. The railroad is 127 years old and one of the few remaining narrow gauge portions of the DRGW. During the silver mining rush the train connected with three other narrow gauge roads that all met in Silverton. During it’s hey day, Silverton was not only a boom town but a major narrow gauge railroad hub. All remnants of these other lines are long gone but the D&SNG RR steams on. As with most tourist roads there are several classes of fares. If you opt for the “open air car” you will have a place to sit as these gondola cars have seats and an overhead cover. If you have a couple of days to visit the area you can ride the train one day, chase it (for part of its’ run) the next, and take a roundhouse and yard tour the last day. The train runs year round but in the winter it only goes to Cascade (about half way) and back. The main reason being this is where the climb starts and in the high country in winter there have been 30 foot snow drifts. Keeping the tracks clear all the way to Silverton is nearly impossible. You’ll pick your tickets up the night before which gives you plenty of photo opts as the days trains return. During peak season there are three trains daily. This is also a working railroad. All trains have a baggage or box car in the consist. Some of the packages offered by the railroad include a combination train ride and hiking adventure. Your backpacks, camping gear, etc will be hauled in the baggage/box cars to the drop off point. There is also a package where you get off at Cascade on the way up and get picked up on the way back. While at Cascade you get to do a zip line adventure through the trees.


Each train is preceded and followed by a speeder to insure the track is clear and the train doesn’t start any fires. All the locomotives have spark suppressers on the stack and during dry season will have a fire fighting/tank car behind the tender to wet down any potential fire spots along the way.

Main Depot at Durango

Downtown Durango (Old Town)

Returning to Durango at the end of the day

Waiting to move to the coach yard

During the morning departures all three trains are lined up side by side. About 45 minutes prior to departure the locomotive is brought out from the round house and attached to its’ train. The usual air checks and walking the train takes place while passengers board as well as talk with the crew. As tourism is the name of the game all crew members are happy to tell you about the railroad, its’ history and a few “stories” prior to getting under way. The locomotive is hand fired and consumes 6 to 8 tons of coal in the process. The starting salary for firemen is $8.00 per hour. You really have to love the job.


Open Air Car

Inside Alamosa

Inside Alamosa

Alamosa Pullman Car

Alamosa Pullman Car

Inside Alamosa

Each train will have this type of car on the rear. It is an extra fare seat but it is the only car you are allowed to ride on the rear platform while the train is in motion. There are eight seats in the Pullman section and eight in the parlor section.


Cleared Durango into open country

Dalton (from the western gang fame) Ranch

The stop where Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid robbed train in movie

Animas River

Tight Squeeze

A very tight squeeze

Once you start climbing into the mountains you’ll end up on the high line. A ledge cut into the side of the mountain 400 feet above the Animas River. It is one of the more photographed sections of the railroad.


The High Line

Rounding the curve on the High Line

400 feet down

You’ll climb nearly 3000 feet during your travel from Durango to Silverton.


Off the High Line crossing the river

Animas River

Running along the river

heading to Silverton

Stopped on main line to take on water Rule 99 protect rear of train

Speeder


Still in use

Old mine nearing Silverton

Approaching Silverton

Downtown Silverton

Silverton

Awaiting the return run


Inside of coach

Bridge over river

Returning to Durango

The next days run

Well we’ve been to Silverton and back. The southwest Colorado area has a lot of activities to offer in addition to the railroad. About three hours east is another tourist line The Rio Grande Scenic but that’s for another trip out west. They also run steam. I will also ride this train again as I know I missed a lot. I think the winter train would be as much fun with the snowy scenery. But very cold! So I hoped you enjoyed the journey!


CABOOSE

Former Missouri Pacific caboose (number unknown) at El Patron Restaurant, Bartlett, TN. Originally The Spike & Rail Restaurant, the caboose was incorporated in the building and contained booths for diners. Tom Parker photo. Meeting Schedule October 13, 2008 November 10, 2008 December 8, 2008 Meetings are the 2nd Monday of each month in the White Station Branch Library from 7-9 pm. 5094 Poplar Avenue Memphis, TN (in front of Clark Tower)

Contact the Editor Tom Parker 3012 Wood Thrush Drive Memphis, TN 38134 tscottparker@gmail.com

THE MEMPHIS BUFF welcomes contributions for publication. Copyrighted materials must contain the source. Original documents and photos are preferred for clarity. Enclose a SASE for the return of your materials. Articles sent via the Internet should be in Microsoft Word format. orthern Photos should be JPEG files @ 72 dpi and at least 800x600 size. Consideration for a cover photo would require a much higher resolution. THE MEMPHIS BUFF is a not-for-profit publication for the Memphis Chapter of the NRHS. All credited photos herein are copyright by the photographer and may not be reused without permission.

October 2008 Memphis Buff  

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