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Railroaders' Nostalgia > 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake


Date: 07/07/19 17:08
1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: Fredo

On October 16,1999 I was first out,sound asleep, in room 259 in the Union Pacific's Yermo Railroad Inn, affectionatly known as THE BEANERY. At about quarter to 3 AM a 7.1 earthquake woke me and a lot of other people up. I turned on the light switch above the head board that was bolted to the concrete wall that the bed was shoved against.Looked to my left to see if the "Ducks on the Wall" painting that adorned every room in the Beanery was safe. Thankfully it was, so I got my railroad radio and turned it on. It was still on CH42 ,the Yermo Yard channel and no one was talking. I then went to CH27 the UP road channel no one there either. So I went to CH55 the Needels Sub channel. There was plenty of talking there. A Westbound was stopped East of the Daggett signal and was trying to get ahold of the BNSF Dispacther saying that the electric lines above them were whipping around like crazy and they wanted to move. There was no answer. Then I heard the emergency tone sound.It was Amtrak #3 calling to tell the dispacther they were in emergency. No answer. They kept toning him and he finaly answered and after learning of Amtrak #3's call he asked if anyone was walking the train. The engineer replied the conductor was and he called the conductor to ask if they were on the ground. The conductor said yes. The dispacther asked what was on the ground and the said the baggage car. Then he asked any others and the conductor replies All of them.After that all sorts of conversations were going on and all sorts of aid was soon on the way. It was then that the Dispacther and possibly someone higher up than him started asking Amtrak #3 questions about how many times they hit the radio button before the dispacther answered them.  And all the other trains that had done the same thing as there had been a problem with the radio system when they needed it the most.Well that was the end of my sleeping so I just kept listening until the phone rang. We were called to go Dog Catch all of the eastbound Union Pacific trains tied down in Barstow and west of Barstow. I took a shower and went downstairs to get some breakfast with my engineer. My engineer's bed had shaken it's way across his room making a joint on the door.and he had a hell of a time trying to shove it back far enough from the door to get out. When we got to Barstow our first train was tied down at the east end of mainline 4.There were eastbound BNSF trains on mains 1,2,&3. There were eastbound BNSF trains in any track they could stash them. Our next train was at Lenwood and 2 more behind it. It was an interesting day again.



Date: 07/08/19 04:38
Re: 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: trainjunkie

Well, at least those miserable cinderblock walls were good for something. :-D



Date: 07/08/19 08:47
Re: 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: UPNW2-1083

But the question remains; were the ducks landing or taking off?-BMT



Date: 07/08/19 10:51
Re: 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: Ivar

It was a miracle that #3 didn’t end up on it’s side like the SP freight did during the Northridge quake of 94. It probably wasn’t as close to the epicenter or was in a favorable orientation to keep it upright. Must have been a crazy night out there with aftershocks and all.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 07/11/19 12:11
Re: 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: mapboy

The worst timing for Amtrak.  All those freights and only two Amtrak per day, but the first train over the earthquake-distorted rails is Amtrak!

mapboy



Date: 07/12/19 09:55
Re: 1999 Hector Mine Earthquake
Author: David.Curlee

Ivar Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It was a miracle that #3 didn’t end up on it’s
> side like the SP freight did during the Northridge
> quake of 94. It probably wasn’t as close to the
> epicenter or was in a favorable orientation to
> keep it upright. Must have been a crazy night out
> there with aftershocks and all.

#3 was a few miles from the epicenter when the quake hit.



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