Spring flooding closes CP main line to Kansas City

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Erik Rasmussen
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Continued heavy flooding along the Mississippi River in the Midwest shut down a Canadian Pacific main line Tuesday when a temporary flood wall breached in Davenport, sending flood waters rushing into the downtown area and severing CP’s route from Savanna, Ill., to Kansas City, Mo. The Davenport Subdivision runs parallel to the Mississippi River in this area and has been experiencing various levels of flooding for almost two months.

The railroad was operating trains through the flood waters when the levels were low enough to enable the trains to safely traverse the area, but as the water began to rise, the railroad responded by raising its mainline in various locations around Davenport. In some locations the tracks were raised almost two feet, enabling trains to continue to operate through the affected areas.

The breach Tuesday was part of a temporary levee system that was keeping the flood waters out of the downtown area. After the breach, the CP main line was quickly under water measured in feet rather than inches. The Mississippi River is expected to crest Wednesday or Thursday in Davenport at a level that may match or exceed its record crest of 22.63 feet reached during the floods of 1993.

CP ballast trains have been busy dropping rock in many areas along the river in an attempt to keep operations fluid.

North of Savanna, on the Marquette Subdivision, the main line is experiencing high water levels at several locations too, with some spots having water above the ties, creating slow but passable areas. One train that passed through the high waters was the railroad's business train, operating between Bensenville Yard near Chicago and La Crescent, Minn.

Following the breach in Davenport, CP started detouring its traffic to and from Kansas City over the Iowa Interstate from Davenport to East Moline, Ill., then from East Moline to Savanna over BNSF Railway, according to a source close to the railroads. At least two trains were operated via this route Tuesday with more planned. With additional heavy rains expected in the area through at least next week, the flooding will continue to challenge CP for some time in this area.

"CP has been raising the elevation of its track for several blocks through downtown Davenport to assist in keeping train traffic in operation during current and future flooding events," spokesman Andy Cummings tells Trains News Wire. "When the track lift is complete, CP will be able to operate trains up to the 21-foot mark on the Rock Island flood gauge. The job of lifting track began March 28 and halted in late April due to the impending second crest. It will resume when water recedes enough to allow it.

"On April 29, CP closed its route through Davenport to train traffic due to high water conditions. CP is enacting a reroute plan for trains affected by the outage," he adds. "CP is closely watching flood forecasts and establishing a plan for an orderly restart of train operations when conditions allow."

–This story was updated May 3 with additional information from Canadian Pacific
Canadian Pacific recently raised it main line at many locations in the Davenport area to keep traffic moving during times of high water. Unfortunately, that work has not kept the tracks above the water on May 1.
Erik Rasmussen

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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