Flooding Might Disrupt CONO Operations Again

The City of New Orleans may be back to running the length of its route, but flooding in the New Orleans region may disrupt that after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sunday opened a spillway to relieve pressure on the Mississippi River

That action will channel water into Lake Pontchartrain. The route of the City skirts the lake and crosses the spillway on a 1.8-mile trestle.

“We’re having our own conversations with the Army Corps of Engineers, and they are telling us the trestle across the spillway may not be available after the Bonnet Carré Spillway gates are opened,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

Therefore, Amtrak said that although Nos. 58 and 59 continue to operate normally, it may have to shorten the train’s route on a few days’ notice.

In the case, the train will terminate and originate in Hammond, Louisiana, with passengers bused between there and New Orleans.

This was the operating procedure followed in 2005 after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

The tracks used by Amtrak are owned by Canadian National, which also plans to continue operating.

“The rail line is not being taken out of service at this point,” said CN spokesman Patrick Waldron. He said that CN is keeping in contact with the Corps and conducting regular bridge inspections.

The City of New Orleans was suspended between Carbonadale, Illinois, and Memphis in late December and early this month due to flooding on the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.

However, CN continued to operate its trains through that area even though Amtrak took a cautions approach and transported passenger by bus.

One report said that Amtrak bused passengers between Carbondale and Fulton, Kentucky.

Amtrak also transported Texas Eagle passengers by bus between St. Louis and Little Rock, Arkansas, after flooding closed Union Pacific’s DeSoto Subdivision.

The UP reopened the line last Wednesday and the Eagle resumed using it starting with Saturday’s departures from Chicago and San Antonio.


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