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Western Railroad Discussion > KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!


Date: 03/22/02 09:32
KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: chilli

A bit of history by now, nearly two weeks ago, but saw some close-up pictures of the scene. Refreshing your memories, a KCS (former Gateway Western and gawd only knows how many RR's before...) freight derailed earlier this month on their swing span bridge over the Mississippi River at Louisiana, MO, between West Quincy and St Louis.

Had the luck to run across some photos taken by some of the officials at the scene, and I must say they had their work cut out for them, rerailing derailed cars in the bridge itself. A couple of shots focus on what appears to the "bridge lock" on the north rail of the west side of span. Appears to me to have been the point of derailment, some chucks missing. For you non-openable bridge folks, this is the massive set of wing rails and stuff that "closes up" the swing span and move up and down but parallel to the running rails - they are level and lined when running trains, but at a 45 or more degree angle upwards when the span is to swung open for river traffic. Not to be confused with split point derails normally found around interlockings, some distance from the diamond, span or other obstruction.

You might recall that the BNSF's (former CB&Q) Hannibal sub intersects this line on the west shore of the river at grade, and there's an old style interlocking tower there that I believe controls all the interlockings and bridge opening mechanisms. Please correct me if wrong, it appears there might be an oprs. shanty on the south side of the swing span, like the IMRL at Sabula IA on the same river. The rear portion of what apparently was the derailed eastbound KCS train blocked the diamond for a few hours.

The derailed cars on the span, several of which were tank cars (loaded by the looks of the truck springs...), chewed up the bridge decking really well, and ripped running and guard rails and the ties to shreds as they dragged eastward onto the swing span, which is preceded on the west side by a thru covered truss section. The greatest damage was on the west half of the swing span itself. In one of the photos, the push boat "Ponderosa" is visible tending to a barge that is loaded down with huge highway truck mounted lift cranes, and in position to allow the crane booms to reach over the top of the swing span truss section, and lower the "hook" DOWN thru the top trusses to the railbed where they had to work to rerail / de-truck / drag the derailed equipment. Tight clearance!

Next to a derailment inside a snowshed or tunnel (assuming those structures did not collapse), this rerailing project was one of tremendous proportions. The folks from the Gateway Western (err, KCS) deserve a job well done on this one, getting the Big Muddy open for river traffic and the railroad open in such a few day's time. Sorry, don't know when the span reopened for traffic, or status of the swing span itself as far as structural integrity.

If anyone else has info, please post corrections / omissions / errors. The point of derailment could have very well prior to entering the river bridge, and then the cars went really astray after striking those "bridge locks."



Date: 03/22/02 10:48
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: funnelfan

I believe this bridge has a history of getting hit by barges. I wonder if that my have something to do with the derailment.

Ted Curphey
funnelfan@icehouse.net



Date: 03/22/02 15:45
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: gladhand

Railroad "shanty-talk" says the bridge-tender announced to the crew of the derailed train that the bridge was "lined & locked". Unfortunately he was only partially correct, the bridge was lined but not locked into place. As of last week, a 5-m.p.h. speed restriction on the bridge. This thing is ancient & no replacement parts exist. All required parts are special order, hand-made.



Date: 03/22/02 18:05
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: chilli

gladhand wrote:
>
> Railroad "shanty-talk" says the bridge-tender announced to the
> crew of the derailed train that the bridge was "lined &
> locked". Unfortunately he was only partially correct, the
> bridge was lined but not locked into place. >>

Hmm- that's strange, as all other bridge interlockings I have ever visited are set up that if the "locks" do not line up fully, it will not release a circuit, and the controlled signals governing movement over such locks/derails WILL NOT CLEAR. In which case the train must have been talked by the signal, with instruction to check the locks to make sure they were fully in the down position....

Or.......



Date: 03/22/02 18:24
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: gladhand

As I said, shanty talk from an engr. with the GWWR. Your guess is as good as mine as to the actual cause. Might check with WPB, he usually has all of the answers, :o)



Date: 03/23/02 06:46
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: rbx551985

Can you post any of those derailed tank car REPORTING MARKS? That way we might be able to make a good guestimation of what's in them...? (Or even the Placard Numbers, if any are visible in the photos, would help ID the loads.) I'm just wondering if they're hazmats, or maybe something else a little less dangerous to the environ, such as corn syrup, veg. oil, tallow, etc.

Inquiring minds want to know.



Date: 03/23/02 14:05
RE: KCS Louisiana MO bridge derailment- update!
Author: chilli

rbx551985 wrote:
>
> Can you post any of those derailed tank car REPORTING MARKS?
> That way we might be able to make a good guestimation of what's
> in them...? >>

Nope. Just have the original prints off a color scanner, don't have scanner of my own. I think they were GATX, fairly new looking, I'd bet they were anything but hazardous. Do not recall seeing placards in the usual places, either.



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