A Norfolk Southern coal train derailed on the Northeast Corridor tracks in Aberdeen, MD, forcing Amtrak to halt most service, including all Acela trains, south of Philadelphia. Amtrak says it's hoping to restart full service on Monday, but that depends on whether they can get the tracks rebuilt and all that coal off the tracks by then.
So there is no confidence the highways are open, and train service may be down too? What a coincidence. I'm sure it was an accident but it is a very unfortunate accident
the wreckage and the coal has been completely removed. They are working on restoring the tracks, and are making progress on the track that was the least damaged.
So there should still be some restrictions by tomorrow morning, but at least it won't be completely shut down.
We have the skeletal remains of a passenger rail network. If we had a functional network, Amtrak could bypass this section on a different line. And maybe slow freights could have their own line and wouldn't need to be hauled on the highest speed passenger rails we've got in this country.
What should have been done instead was pay the railroads to keep running their own trains. Until 1967, that's more or less what we did, as Post Office contracts for mail transport kept a lot of passenger trains running that were otherwise unprofitable. And then, the Post Office canceled the mail contracts, which is what triggered the creation of Amtrak.
Yes, the postal contract helped float passenger service, but there were a lot of moving parts to the railroad business and the right to abandon passenger service had already be granted to rails many years before Amtrak came on the horizon.
Check out https://www.enotrans.org/article/amtrak-at-50-the-rail-passenger-service... for a pretty good history of how the Amtrak decision came to be.
The NS freight was using Amtrak's line because there is a physical barrier- the Susquehanna River- the necessitates the sharing of track at this area.
So, unless you are thinking that somehow electric trains could make a detour to Harrisburg, I'd say that what happened would have happened, even in Europe.
Who declared that a second rail crossing of the Susquehanna is an insurmountable engineering challenge?
Oh wait, checking Google Maps, I see that there ARE two rail crossings. In fact, there are two active rail lines through Aberdeen, one on either side of the US 40 bridge. So I'm not sure why the freight had to use the Amtrak line at all.
There's more than one way to drive from Philadelphia to DC. There should be multiple passenger train routes as well.
This never would have happened in Europe. They don't have coal freights on high-speed lines. And if something did go wrong on a high-speed line, they have conventional passenger lines running in parallel, except conventional in Europe is still faster than the Acela.
But it is still Amtrak track that NS has trackage rights on (to what power plant I could not figure out.)
As for Europe, you are a tad overstating how the rail network is set up. Yes, there are dedicated lines, but they are less common than one thinks. If you go from London to the north, you are on track that is used by freight. And as the Germans have decided that they prefer dirty coal to clean nuclear, they do have coal trains all over their country.
The UK has a less developed high speed rail
network than continental Western Europe. But they still have speeds, frequencies, and geographic coverage we could never dream
There are still way too many coal-fired power plants operating.
What some folks seem to be missing is this was a night freight, done in the off-hours of passenger service.
Another thing is so many of these old lines were built on a mixture of passenger and freight service. The infrastructure to make use of rail freight - industrial properties with spurs and sidings - is, oddly enough, built next to rail lines. Besides the benefit of getting truck traffic off the highways, rail freight pays some of the infrastructure cost of our passenger rail lines.
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