Friday, June 20, 2014

ARRC crews continue washout repair efforts

Rip-rap is hauled in by air dump railcars to help plug ARRC's track washout. Rip-rap is hauled in by air dump railcars to help plug ARRC's track washout. ARRC

Alaska Railroad (ARRC) crews continue to make progress on plugging an 80-foot-long washout following high waters at Skookum Creek (ARRC milepost 59.7).

The incident began about 7:30 a.m. June 17, when high water eroded the trackbed, leaving the track suspended over the water. Alaska Railroad track maintenance crews, heavy equipment and a rockhauling work train have been working round-the clock for three days to plug the gap and re-route a high volume of water.

"Earlier this week, this area experienced significant isolated rainfall that measured as much as a half inch every 10-15 minutes for a sustained period," said ARRC Vice President Engineering Clark Hopp. "We are essentially dealing with a new river channel that did not previously exist."

While freight traffic is not affected, passenger train traffic southbound from Anchorage has been suspended since the incident occurred. A decision to restore passenger service will be made at 7p.m. on June 20 and is based on the progress of the repair efforts.

The railroad has not yet determined the final financial impact of the outage. However, ARRC says revenue losses are expected to reach tens of thousands of dollars due to refunds and cancellations. Track repair expenses will also be considerable, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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