Re: Amtrak #14 in mudslide near McCredie Springs, OR
Date: 03-22-2012 - 06:05
Yeah Smitty, 45 miles may be a little much. If (if, if, if) the present slide happened at mp571 and the Frazier slide happened in the area of 551 that would only be about 20 rail miles. I don't think it is more than five air line miles though.
The railroad, highway 58, and Salt Creek all go southeast from Oakridge (mp581). They stay fairly close to each other on an average 1.8 per cent grade until they reach the south end of Heather siding. About there the highway looks ahead and sees Salt Creek falls and takes off on a six per cent grade in order to get over it. The railroad can't do that so it crosses to the opposite side of the canyon and heads back toward Oakridge for about eight miles. There it does another horseshoe turn and is again headed toward the summit. It take the railroad about 24 miles to do what the highway does in eight. Takes AMTRAK about an hour (approx) to do what a car can do in 10 minutes.
At the Frazier slide the railroad DIAPPEARED for almost the length of a Coast Starlight train. The mud went down the hill and COVERED the track near Wicopee (mp561-562). "So far" this slide sounds rather routine for the Cascades. There just happened to be a train there when it happened. And you probably wouldn't hear about it if it wasn't a passenger train.
I've seen a tree, two feet in diameter, across the track.......... It fell on the upside of the track and landed on a low bank on the downside. Now, you come around the corner and see the uphill portion cut off on one side. Over on the other side is upper part of the tree cut off. Missing between the two is the section that has been removed, right at cab height.
That trip back to Chemult must have been unpleasant at the least. There wouldn't have been any Head End Power. Probably about two hours.........