With winds of 120 miles per hour Hurricane Laura left a trail of destruction through Southern Louisiana and parts of Southeast Texas yesterday, forcing rail rerouting and closures. Shippers were warned to expect some temporary embargoes for the next several days while clean-up is underway. Class 1 railroads expect to restore service over the weekend between Houston and New Orleans.
Strong winds knocked train cars off a track near Grand Lake, Louisiana about 40 miles north of Cameron where the hurricane made landfall. Video link.
Union Pacific Railroad was in process of working with power companies, contractors and others to restore power and remove trees and debris from tracks. Kansas City Southern (KCS) and BNSF also reported service impacts in the Lake Charles area. Rail yards in Houston and New Orleans were already reopening to receive and dispatch freight cars. Petrochemical plants along the Gulf Coast between Houston and New Orleans sustained some minor damage but will be restarting operations as electricity is restored. Amtrak service to and from New Orleans was suspended but is expected to quickly resume. Hurricane Laura also affected service to Amtrak's Texas Eagle which was terminated at St. Louis, leaving the rest of Texas, unaffected by the storm, without passenger rail service between Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. The Sunset Limited cross-country service between California and New Orleans terminated at San Antonio.