Anything Could Be Finah Than To Be in Carolina …

It’s awfully easy to grumble when services we take for granted are interrupted. For instance, once in a while – and I have no idea why – there is no mail delivery. That irritates me, even though most days the mail contains nothing by circulars and appeals for money.  (I refuse to accept the possibility that we didn’t get any mail because well because we just didn’t get any mail.)

I got some second-hand word yesterday about people along the east coast grumbling about Amtrak cancelling a few of their trains because of yet another several winter storm — specifically, trains running down into the Carolinas.  The trains affected included the Piedmont, the Palmetto, and the Carolinian. There may have been others.
Well, good heavens! Consider the scope of the problem: along the right-of-way through both North and South Carolina, more than 550 trees were down and blocking the tracks. Crews had to be rounded up, sent to the site, cut up and remove the trees, then move on to the next one.

Compounding the problem, there were electrical outages along more than 100 miles of track through the same areas. That didn’t affect the trains themselves because the locomotives run on diesel power, but it did mean that the track signals weren’t working and grade crossings, hundreds of them, had no flashing lights or bells and no lowered barriers.

That was yesterday. What’s really amazing is that today, at least as far as I’ve been able to find out, everything is pretty much back to normal on the Amtrak routes through the Carolinas.

But not in North Dakota. I’m afraid up there it’s a case of same old, same old for the beleaguered Empire Builder. The eastbound train was only 17 minutes late leaving Wolf Point, Montana, but by the time it had crossed North Dakota and arrived in St. Cloud, Minnesota, it was running almost six hours behind schedule.

That cannot continue. Something must be done.