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Thu Dec 20, 2018, 02:37 PM

Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak's Northeast Corridor

Source: Bloomberg

Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak's Northeast Corridor

By Christopher Flavelle and Jeremy C.F. Lin

By the middle of this century, climate change is likely to punch a hole through the busiest stretch of rail in North America. Parts of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route, which carries 12 million people each year between Boston and Washington, face "continual inundation." Flooding, rising seas, and storm surge threaten to erode the track bed and knock out the signals that direct train traffic. The poles that provide electricity for trains are at risk of collapse, even as power substations succumb to floodwaters. "If one of the segments of track shuts down, it will shut down this segment of the NEC," warned members of Amtrak's planning staff. "There is not an alternate route that can be used as a detour."

That was the conclusion of a three-volume, multi-year climate study undertaken with first Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and then Stantec Inc. Although the report was completed in April 2017, its conclusions were kept private until this November, when a partially redacted version was obtained by Bloomberg through a public records request. Titled "Amtrak NEC Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment," the document outlines the severe threat facing one 10-mile section of the 457 miles of track, much of which runs perilously close to water.

On a recent afternoon near Wilmington, Del., the danger already seemed imminent. North of the city, the distance between the tracks and the Delaware River was alarmingly narrow, even at low tide. Closer to downtown, puddles dotted the West Yard Substation, which powers this section of rail, as well as the Wilmington maintenance yard, one of the few in the country that can repair electric locomotives. Only a slender cobblestone footpath separated Amtrak's Consolidated National Operations Center, which monitors and controls traffic along the corridor, from the edge of the Christina River. The single access road leading to Amtrak's only training center for engineers was underwater on a day with no rain.

The climate threat certainly isn't limited to Delaware. Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, has projected which portions of the corridor will experience what she calls "chronic inundation," defined as flooding an average of at least twice a month. Dahl provided Bloomberg with data showing when chronic inundation is expected to reach portions of the Northeast Corridor.

Updates to reflect that Amtrak added "environment/climate change" to its most recent five-year plan.

With assistance by Ryan Beene

Sources: Union of Concerned Scientists, U.S. Census and United States Geological Survey

Note: Maps don't reflect bridges or other elevating structures along the course of the track.

Editors: Jillian Goodman, Jon Morgan and Yue Qiu

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-amtrak-sea-level/

RogueAltGov Retweeted


#DallasforPrez #Thoughts Arguing about climate change is a method used by those who are not going to be truly affected by it, to not deal with it. What we need to do now is talk about how to slow it and how to limit its cost to our country and the world.

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Reply Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak's Northeast Corridor (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Dec 20 OP
BigmanPigman Dec 20 #1
EarthFirst Dec 20 #2

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2018, 02:42 PM

1. Great, like Amtrak needs another reason to suck.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2018, 03:45 PM

2. "Build a fucking wall!" they said! nt

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