Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stormy Weather

Roseville to Hinkle freight train seen from the bluff in Oregon City.

A late winter storm system is blowing through the Pacific Northwest right now, creating dramatic skies in the valley, low-elevation snowfall, and heavy snows in the mountains. Snow can wreck havoc on railroad operations, as extra crews are required to run special trains to keep the line open. Union Pacific is already running short on crews due to an extensive track maintenance project in the area (requiring extra crews for work trains), so this storm has compounded the problem. The train seen here is nominally the Roseville (California) to Hinkle (Oregon) train running several hours later than usual, although its length (108 cars) and the presence of many lumber loads indicate that it's been combined with the Eugene to Hinkle train. The move frees up a crew and set of power to work elsewhere (or perhaps relieves a shortage of one or both). Given that both of these trains are running somewhat short right now due to the weak lumber market, I'm a little surprised that combining them isn't a more common practice.

1 comment:

Charles Bonville said...

This location and that title are oddly prescient of the news that would come less than a week later: a "perfect storm" of rising material prices and depressed finished good prices would prompt the Blue Heron Paper Company to close with just a few days notice.