Hurricane Harvey Damages Railway

September 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

     As most of you know, Hurricane Harvey produced its most significant rains only a little over a week ago. The statistics are 100,000 homes flooded with some 500,000 vehicles totaled. 15 trillion gallons of water fell on the region from landfall till it moved off east.  The storm may have left, but the watersheds to the west are still holding incredible amounts of water and are still releasing into the bayous.  Continuous flooding along Buffalo Bayou   The graphic below from the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) shows the Lake Houston watershed peak flow totals from my area.  These numbers are unprecedented and represents a 1000 year flood (0.1% chance of happening).  Kingwood and Humble both received in the neighborhood of 30"-40" of rain.  The devastation is unreal.  

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;     What you see in these images below are what remains of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over the San Jacinto river in Humble, TX that is about 2 miles from my house. At peak flow during the storm, this river was carrying 130,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water through its channel. It crested at 69' (feet) in height. Least to say that this bridge and the surrounding banks did very well to handle the water with only this level of damage. Highway 69/59 which runs parallel to this bridge had feet of water on top of the roadway.   

    Tuesday, a Union Pacific SD70ACe passed my house on its way to fill up ballast cars for replacement roadbed.  Thursday, a massive crane was assembling a portable work barge to float equipment out toward the missing bridge pieces.  Most debris has been cleared from around the bridge pylons and repairs look to be happening very soon.  

     This was a tremendous storm and so many people were displaced and lost so many things. My family was fortunate to make it out relatively unscathed. We have donated our time and money to helping our friends clean up and rebuild. Were not just Americans or Texans or even a certain political party. We are human and when the cards are down, we help each other.

 

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(looking north from the southern bank)

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(long lens shot of the washed out portion)

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(looking north along the line)

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(looking south along the line, majorly washed out sections)

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(washed out section of roadway, southern bank)

Joseph Hemphill: Union Pacific Bridge, Harvey &emdash;

(long lens shot of initial repair work)


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