In the wake of unprecedented flooding and damage along the Texas coast, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern today announced combined pledges of $300,000 toward supporting Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
UP pledged $250,000 to be come from corporate and employee donations. Immediate donations of $100,000 to the American Red Cross and $50,000 to Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund are being made. Additionally, Union Pacific will match contributions to its “Friend to Friend” employee support network through Sept. 30, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.
The company, whose Southern Region division is headquartered in Houston, will also match donations made to a Disaster Relief Matching Gifts Program for Hurricane Harvey, where employees can provide funding directly to American Red Cross, Salvation Army and others.
KCS announced its charitable fund will immediately donate $50,000 to the American Red Cross. In addition, the Kansas City-based railroad will match dollar for dollar employee gifts to the American Red Cross via the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation-KCS Fund up to $25,000.
Houston, Texas and the Gulf region are central to the KCS rail network with many employees and customers located there.
SERVICE REMAINS DISRUPTED ALONG COASTAL RAIL NETWORK
Rail and other traffic remained at a standstill as the region dealt with record flooding. According to The Weather Channel, parts of Houston have reported receiving up to 51 inches of rainfall − a preliminary all-time record in the continental U.S. − and more is expected as the storm, downgraded to Tropical Storm Harvey, reforms over the Gulf of Mexico. About 50 inches of rain is expected by Friday.
On Monday, UP suspended rail operations along the Texas Gulf Coast from Brownsville through Corpus Christi to Houston and east to Lake Charles, LA. No trains are operating through flooded and storm-damaged areas.
Embargoes for all rail traffic destined to Gulf Coast locations and others within UP’s Houston service unit were placed. UP recommends customers consider diverting cars destined to the impacted area where feasible.
UP is conducting track inspections, where possible, in anticipation of resuming operations.
BNSF is using drones to survey damage, a company spokesman said. Train movements in the region have been halted.
The storm also has disrupted Amtrak’s Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. In a service advisory posted Monday, Amtrak said the Sunset Limited (Train 1/421 & 2/422) will originate and terminate in San Antonio instead of New Orleans, with no alternate transportation between New Orleans and San Antonio. Also, the Texas Eagle (Train 21/421 & 22/422) will originate and terminate in Fort Worth instead of San Antonio, with alternate transportation provided between Fort Worth and San Antonio.
Amtrak Thruway Buses in central and southern Texas have been cancelled. Amtrak’sstation in Houston remains closed.
Many major highways remain disrupted by the storm, and both of Houston’s airports are closed and may not open until Thursday or Friday.
GALVESTON MUSEUM AVOIDS DAMAGE
In Galveston, the Galveston Railroad Museum, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008, dodged a bullet. Executive Director Morris Gould said none of the buildings took on water, although it appeared the yard where much of GRM’s rolling stock is on display, had about 10 inches of water.
Before the storm hit Friday, GRM moved its Santa Fe F7A “Warbonnet” locomotives and Amtrak-certified vintage Budd passenger cars to BNSF’s yard in Pearland. BNSF reported over the weekend that the yard was inaccessible because of flooding. No details were provided on the condition of any equipment in the yard.