The New York Times reports today on the largely overlooked devastation on the Gulf Coast:
If the levees had held in New Orleans, the destruction wrought on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina would have been the most astonishing storm story of a generation. Whole towns have been laid flat, thousands of houses washed away and, statewide, the storm has been blamed for the deaths of 211 people, a toll far higher than those from Hurricanes Andrew, Hugo and Ivan.
But as it is, Mississippi - like the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 - is coping with an almost unimaginable catastrophe, largely overshadowed in the news media's attention and the national consciousness, in this case by the disaster in New Orleans.
From the NYT article:
The railroad tracks that run through the center of both cities - carrying trains that were only on their way to someplace else - had become a nuisance and even a danger. Now that many of the bridges are down and some of the tracks are tied into pretzels, city officials are planning to lobby the freight railroad CSX, the owner of the tracks, to move them farther north.
I guess they don't care about having Amtrak service, then (which, BTW, gives the lie to the Times's statement about "trains that were only on their way to someplace else"). If they move the tracks too much farther north, the Sunset Limited will have no decent place to stop in south Mississippi. Also, any port needs good railroad facilities, so Gulfport needs to keep the tracks somewhere reasonably central and somewhat near the port itself.
Maybe they should consider designing things so that the tracks can remain more or less where they are without being an obstacle? Grade crossings every 100 yards or so aren't the only way to handle railroad tracks.
- Tim Kynerd