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Question: Tornadoes Vs. Trains

While driving through SD for vacation a few days ago, my husband brought up a good question about tornadoes that I really could not answer...thought maybe somebody on here could fill us in a bit. As anyone who lives in NE or anywhere on the plains for that matter, knows, there are lots and lots of trains out here. My hubby's question is this: when there is a tornado in the vicinity of a train, does it keep going, or does the conductor stop the train? I'm sure with the number of trains that go through every day, there have HAD to be some crossings throughout the years...and also does anybody know of a train getting totally damaged because it came face to face with a twister? I just thought this was an interesting question, and I'd never really thought much about it before...
 
Well, I dont know much about the conductors plan of action when a tornado is in the area...but I have heard of several violent tornadoes derailing trains.
 
I currently live in rural Williamson County, TX just outside of Hutto. I used to live near Cedar Park, TX and was witness to the Central Texas Tornadoes on May 27, 1997. I did not witness the infamous Jarrell, TX F5 Tornado:

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/coolimg/jarrell/
http://www.vvm.com/~curtis/Jarrell/Jarrell.htm

But I did witness the Cedar Park, TX F3 Tornado. I walked out of the Albertson's grocery store in Cedar Park, TX completely unaware of what was about to occur. When I and my sister got outside of the store I looked to the North behind the HEB grocery store adjacent to us and the F3 Tornado was headed directly toward the Albertson's grocery store. Before it could get to us though it had to cross railroad tracks and FM 1431. It crossed the railroad tracks directly where the Hill Country Flyer was parked on them. This is a vintage train used for Hill Country Tours, the cars are extremely heavy. I witnessed the F3 Tornado pickup and toss a few of these cars about 50-100 yards. It was unbelievable! I and my sister actually then proceeded to run from this Tornado in her car after witnessing this (which was really stupid, I know). It slammed into Albertson's while we were sitting at the stop light at US HWY 183 and FM 1431. I watched as Albertson's was almost completely demolished and cars were thrown a few hundred yards, it was insane! The Tornado continued through Cedar Park wreaking even more havoc. It damaged and destroyed several dozen homes, only 1 fatality in Cedar Park though I believe as compared to Jarrell, where 27 people lost their lives that day. The Tornado in Cedar Park also hit a heavy machinery rental store. I remember them reporting on the news that a huge tractor was found almost half a mile from it original location! Sorry, got a little carried away there, but hopefully I answered part of your train + tornado question... :D
 
Thanks for your responses =) I didn't know WeatherData existed, though I figured there had to be SOME type of warning system for trains out there.

I think I would have tried to get away from that tornado too if I saw it picking up train cars behind me lol...
 
When I was chasing last May 12th, just east of Harper, KS; there was a BNSF train stopped and the conductor and a couple of other engineers/employees came over to my vehicle to get some weather data off the wxworx system. They had been told to stop and not proceed west bound. Sure glad they did !! The tornado was rather strong and just off to their west. Most of you who were on that storm probably remember that.
 
Certain types of cars are more prone to being derailed or blown over, especially empty hoppers, boxcars and the 'double stack' intermodal container trains, which can be very top-heavy, lightweight and high-profile. Double-stack intermodals are common on the Plains.

Attica tornado just after crossing the BNSF tracks:
http://wvlightning.com/may122004/attica8.jpg
 
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