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Über dieses Buch

MUCH OF MY WEATHER and climate research over the past 50 years has focused on how atmospheric conditions impact the environment, the ec- omy, and human activities/health. These studies have led to several scientific papers and two books, one about the great floods of 1993 and the other about El Niño, 1997/98. Coupled with this scientific career orientation was a li- long interest in railroads. This avocation led me to write six books and numerous articles about many facets of railroads. The coupling of these two central intellectual interests led to the preparation of this book. Prior to the 1980 deregulation of the industry, there were many more railroads in operation. This text focuses on weather impacts and railroad adjustments since the 1940s. It covers decades when the challenges of weather and climate were faced by a larger number of companies, and this is well emphasized in the wide variety of photographs, which show trains belonging to companies that have now been absorbed or otherwise relegated to the halls of history. Most of the photographs were taken by me and two of my sons, David and Marc. Several friends supplied other photographs. This book has been made possible by several persons and institutions.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

CHAPTER 1. Dealing with the Weather

Abstract
WEATHER AFFECTS every kind of outdoor activity. For as long as they have been in existence, railroads have been impacted by weather conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and in all seasons. Railroads have designed structures and right-of-ways to minimize weather problems, built refrigerated freight cars and air-conditioned passenger trains to reduce weather stress, and found ways to function in all forms of adverse weather, ranging from floods to snowstorms.
Stanley A. Changnon

CHAPTER 2. Weather Impacts: The Good and the Bad

Abstract
SCIENTISTS WHO have studied how weather impacts our economy have learned that almost any extreme event produces some financial losers and some winners (Changnon 2003a). Furthermore, financial impacts come in two classes. Some impacts are labeled direct. For railroading, these include physical damages to infrastructure, delayed trains, and rerouting of trains. Other weather effects are classed as indirect—they cause more or less traffic and alter a railroad’s income. For example, a drought does not directly affect the rail facilities or halt train movements. If it is severe and lasts long enough to reduce crop yields for a year or more, however, a drought decreases the number of trains hauling grain to market and reduces the income of railroads that rely on hauling grain (see Figs. 2.1, 2.2a, and 2.2b).
Stanley A. Changnon

CHAPTER 3. Examples of Weather Problems in Different Climatic Regions

Abstract
THIS CHAPTER presents seven examples of how various weather extremes have created critical problems for railroads and allied forms of transportation in different climatic regions. These examples illustrate in detail how problems have developed and how they have been handled. When one thinks of problems created by the abnormal weather conditions in the central United States (High Plains or Midwest), agricultural issues typically come to mind. However, weather aberrations in that area drastically impede all the highly weather-sensitive transportation systems that serve not only the region, but the entire nation. Chicago is the nation’s rail hub, and nearly 90% of all freight traffic going east-west or north-south across the nation passes though Chicago. Barges operating on the Mississippi River system, which includes the Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri rivers, handle 73% of all bulk commodities (grain, coal, lumber, oil, and chemicals) moved in an area covering 60% of the United States.
Stanley A. Changnon

CHAPTER 4. Effects of Various Weather Conditions

Abstract
In some ways, fog may be less troublesome now than in yesteryear when train movements relied on seeing signals. Today, with radios and Centralized Traffic Control (CTC), fogs are a lesser problem. However, it is still important to see signals, and fog still reduces visibility of objects immediately ahead, be it another train, a red signal, or a vehicle on a crossing. Switching is made more difficult and time-consuming because the engineer cannot see the cars being joined. Figure 4.1 shows the nation’s average frequency of days with heavy fog, defined when the visibility is less than 1/4 mile. The pattern illustrates low fog incidences in the drier climates of the southwest with fewer than 5 fog days a year. Heavy fogs occur on 25 days or more along the coasts and in the higher elevations of the Northwest and Appalachian Mountains. Figures 4.2–4.5 illustrate the fog problems affecting train operations.
Stanley A. Changnon

CHAPTER 5. Planning for and Responding to Weather

Abstract
For 150 years, American railroads have pursued numerous actions to address the challenges of weather. These have involved development of equipment and construction of operational facilities, collectively designed to minimize weather problems. In preparation for weather events of both a routine and extreme nature, railroads now rely on a combination of federal safety guidance, their own guidelines and standard operating procedures, plus weather forecast guidance provided by public and private meteorological services. Considerable attention is given to monitoring track and roadbed conditions using remote sensing (Fig. 5.1) and visual observations (Fig. 5.2).
Stanley A. Changnon

CHAPTER 6. The Evolving Relationship between Weather and Railroads

Abstract
RAILROADS PLAYED a significant role in the settlement and ensuing development of the United States. Their rail lines allowed growth of communities, mining and hauling of coal and other minerals, and the development of agriculture and manufacturing across the nation. Before the existence of trains, all forms of transportation, such as stagecoaches, steamboats, and canal barges, were very slow and unreliable. The “iron horse” brought an element of speed never before known, plus a new capability to reliably deliver goods and products to their destination on time.
Stanley A. Changnon

Backmatter

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