• Francis Scott Key Bridge - Class I Impact

  • For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.
For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Giving thought to the March 26 incident resulting in the total destruction of the Baltimore Francis Scott Key Bridge resulting and at least six fatalities, the region will be adversely effected well beyond having to drive the long way around on the 695. I think the blame, after the NTSB concludes its investigation, will lie either with the seaworthiness of the vessel or its pilotage.

Regarding the two railroads serving the Port, which is closed indefinitely, CSX likely originates more Containers (carloads) from the Port of Baltimore than does Norfolk Southern. Both roads still serve every other East Coast port of size, and the COVID era "find me a berth, any berth" appears to be "in remission" at present. While the disruption will be great to the Baltimore region, such to the maritime industry as a whole, will be minimal.

Yes, both roads will whack some jobs, but I think both have openings elsewhere on their systems. Think more of the Longshoremen, who probably will suffer with many more job losses and likely do not have the relocation provisions in their Agreements that NY Dock has afforded rail workers (gladly defer if mistaken).
  by ConstanceR46
 
I think personally a bigger question that's gonna come up is "Why wasn't an adequate protection system installed, given the importance of the channel and the bridge?".
  by jaymac
 
You're making sense. Stop it.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
It appears that the Port of Norfolk is the first "harbor of refuge":

WVEC-TV

This same station is reporting that Carnival Cruise vessels will all sail from Norfolk "for the duration".

Now, again I'm not familiar with any ILA Agreements, and do not know if Longshoremen displaced from Baltimore have any "rights" at other East Coast ports, even if represented by the same Union in the case of Norfolk. However, compared to CSX and NS employees displaced at Baltimore, who have rights (and Relo under NY Dock) within their craft anywhere on their respective systems, they could potentially "be in a world of hurt" for a long time to come.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Messrs. Constance and Jaymac, you do raise interesting points.

First, the NTSB has jurisdiction in the matter as, even though it involves a foreign flagged vessel, it has occurred within inland waters.

Away from Mr. Cowford, none here to my knowledge are connected with the maritime industry. So I hope, and with a straight finger pointed at one Mr. GBN, we avoid speculation and look to the Board for reports.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here's a report from The Journal with regards to "Plan B".

Fair Use:
The collapse of a major bridge along a crucial trade corridor outside Baltimore idled shipping at one of the East Coast’s busiest ports, tied up coal shipments and pushed retailers, truckers and industrial firms to reroute shipping volumes to contain the economic fallout of the catastrophic event.

Vessel traffic at the Port of Baltimore was completely shut down immediately after a containership hit the Francis Scott Key bridge just south of port early Tuesday. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said there was no estimate of when the fifth-busiest container port on the U.S. East Coast would reopen.
There is tangential note in the article regarding rail coal shipments.
  by eolesen
 
Condolences to the families of the workers killed...

This isn't the first tragedy like this -- the Sunshine Skyway bridge, of very similar design, was lost in 1980 for the same general cause. 30+ people died if I remember, and the new bridge has concrete bollards (called dolphins) which better protect the support piers. Newer bridges also incorporate these.

This should have been adopted for the FSK bridge when the harbor was dredged to accommodate UCLV's.

Sparrows Point isn't impacted -- it's outside the bridge. That's where VW and some of the other auto deliveries take place.

The center of the channel is 40-50 ft draft clearance. Where the concrete structure remains to the northeast, depths are in the 20 ft range and the overhead cable clearance is 135 feet, which might work for smaller freighters. Emptied, smaller ships might have enough draft to clear the bottom and the roadway / overhead cables.

Dredging a new escape channel might be faster than removing the wreckage in the center span. Lifting all that steel out won't be easy, and the seagoing salvage cranes that do this type of work aren't something you just phone up and see the next day.
  by ABP4014
 
I would think that once the investigation is complete, that the downed sections of the bridge can be cut up by underwater divers and towed out of the channel in short order.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Popping in here to see the proper thread on this. Yes, there will be some effects CSX and NS will be dealing with.

For the jobs affected at the Port of Baltimore? Maryland is pushing through emergency legislation to fund relief for workers affected, pulling from a dedicated Rainy Day Fund for such issues. They'll be taken care of. https://www.cbsnews.com/baltimore/news/ ... -collapse/

A smaller port at Sparrows Point (Tradepoint Atlantic) can handle some of the load but the Port of Baltimore is capable of deep-running ships. There's already talk about dredging around Sparrows Point to get the deep ships in and gain some resiliency. CSX, NS, and shortline Tradepoint Rail would do well to rebuild some track and expand capacity here.

Sadly there's no other Maryland port. I am glad that it did hit the Key Bridge and not the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. As bad as it is now, I would think it would be much much worse if the CBB got hit and collapsed.

Two of the perished have been recovered. If I heard WBAL-TV's reporting correctly and what I'm seeing now off of NPR, WBAL-TV, and WYPR... the remaining are in vehicles entangled by the bridge and cannot be recovered. The Coast Guard and Army Corp of Engineers are shifting to a salvage operation status. Families are being notified via the FBI.
  by dhturbo
 
The Baltimore Banner newspaper reported that the Port of Baltimore imported/exported more automobiles than any other port in the United States; and handled other kinds of cargo too.

Excepting a fraction of that traffic that can be absorbed by the already-busy adjacent port at Sparrows Point, Baltimore's cargo will presumably transit ports elsewhere and then travel much farther by truck or train. Not only will more stuff travel by freight train, but some of the additional "emergency windfall" cargo might start on the "wrong coast" and need to be carried much farther than the railroads have optimized for.

Will the resulting greater freight-train traffic slip smoothly into the cargo stream and inconvenience no one? Or will distorted port traffic cause freight jams and Amtrak delays? Will the regulators' recent saber-rattling about Amtrak's favorable dispatching help, or will it prove toothless?
  by eolesen
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:55 pm Sadly there's no other Maryland port. I am glad that it did hit the Key Bridge and not the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. As bad as it is now, I would think it would be much much worse if the CBB got hit and collapsed.
CBB would be worse for the general public, but because of the tunnels under the shipping channels, it wouldn't have impacted shipping one iota. Norfolk's capability is equally protected by Hampton Bay tunnels as well as the CBB.

Baltimore is one of the larger LNG and coal export points. With those commodities requiring specialized handling, that'll be a much bigger problem to solve.
  by STrRedWolf
 
eolesen wrote: Thu Mar 28, 2024 2:21 am Baltimore is one of the larger LNG and coal export points. With those commodities requiring specialized handling, that'll be a much bigger problem to solve.
Curtis Bay is the involved port, "behind" the Key Bridge (along with the Port of Baltimore). Dave/CCRX 6700 noted some of the impacts related to coal.
Cumberland Mine currently ships a small amount of coal thru the
Port of Baltimore. All of our coal gets shipped via barges on the
Monongahela River. However a percentage of that coal is
taken to a trans loading facility at LaBelle, Pa. where it is
off loaded from barges and loaded on CSX and NS trains.
NS trains take the coal to a power plant, where CSX takes
the coal to Baltimore. A large percentage of the coal from
Cumberland Mine goes directly to domestic power plants via river barge.

The Port of Baltimore is the 20th largest port in the US in
terms of total tonnage. It is the second largest in the US for
coal exports, Hampton Roads, Va. is the largest for coal exports.

Export coal moves out of Baltimore through two facilities:
Curtis Bay Terminal owned by CSX and the CNX Marine Terminal
owned by CONSOL and serviced by both CSX and NS. It is
estimated that export coal out of Baltimore represents around
30%-40% of export coal volumes for CSX and NS. Both railroads
are currently exploring options to move coal from the Port of
Baltimore to other ports that they service on the east coast.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Impacted ports:
  • Dundalk Marine Terminal
  • Seagrit/Port of Baltimore
  • Consol Marine Terminal (Point Breeze, CSX)
  • Tide Point
  • Any port in the Northwest Harbor
  • Maryland Cruise Terminal/Port Covington
  • Fairfield Area/Wagners Point
  • Curtis Bay (CSX)
  • Curtis Creek Coast Guard Yard
  • Yara Baltimore Terminal (right at the Key Bridge).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Wed Mar 27, 2024 5:55 pm A smaller port at Sparrows Point (Tradepoint Atlantic) can handle some of the load but the Port of Baltimore is capable of deep-running ships. There's already talk about dredging around Sparrows Point to get the deep ships in and gain some resiliency. CSX, NS, and shortline Tradepoint Rail would do well to rebuild some track and expand capacity here.
At one time, Sparrows Point was a Bethlehem Steel (Mittal) mill, and surely had rail service at that time. Hopefully, the B&O trackage remained (did PRR have access as well?) so that "for the duration" there will be rail service available.

However, it is quite likely that the disruption to the Port will be of far less duration than it will be to build a new bridge. Of interest, will the new structure again be arch, or will it be the single spire suspension design becoming quite prevalent throughout the world today?

Finally, and admittedly off-topic, which Port was "supporting actor" in the TV series "The Wire"?
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