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64790Re: [Z_Scale] Re: Train vs. Tornado

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    May 1, 2010
      This message is a couple of weeks late because I have been out of town.

      There have been several known instances of tornadoes hitting moving trains. The most celebrated was in 1938 when the Great Northern's Empire Builder was struck by a tornado near Minot, ND. The engine and tender, because of their weight, remained on the tracks, but the Pullmans wound up all over the ground. While there were many injuries, only one man was killed, when he fell out of a window and the car fell over on him.

      A number of train/tornado encounters were averted because the engine crew saw it coming and simply stopped the train and yielded the right of way to the tornado.

      While locomotives were fairly proof against tornadoes, early wooden freight cars were not. The records contain numerous instances of workmen taking cover in wooden boxcars when they saw a tornado approaching, only to be killed when the tornado demolished the cars. Steel cars were stronger, but empty ones could still easily be flipped on their sides, much like highway trailers and containers.

      The idea that tornadoes followed a railroad is a new one on me, but probably has no more validity then the notion that tornadoes have an affinity for trailer and mobile home parks. They don't...but the proliferation of manufactured housing over the last few decades simply guarantees more hits, and since the damage is usually horrendous and loss of life comparatively high, naturally non-thinking people will draw the wrong conclusion.

      Tornado damage can be quite spectacular, even with a comparatively weak F0 or F1. Remember that debris will be scattered everywhere and on both sides of the tornado's path. Trees, if still standing, will usually be stripped of their branches. Roofs will be partly or fully torn off. Some buildings may be shoved partly or completely off their foundations but otherwise basically intact. In a strong (F2 or F3) tornado, buildings will be partly demolished. They are rarely strong enough internally to be lifted bodily into the air, like Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz. Brick buildings are no more tornado proof then wooden ones and often collapse into a heap of bricks. In a really strong (F4 or F5) tornado, destruction is nearly total and only strongly reinforced steel or concrete structures will be left standing, but usually with broken windows.

      John C. La Rue, Jr.
      Bonita Springs, FL

      -----Original Message-----
      From: dr strangelove <kaiserwillieii0815@...>
      To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sun, Apr 18, 2010 5:09 am
      Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Train vs. Tornado

      Wow I always wondered if it has happened. I came from the coalfields in tornado ally and knowing the trains were a mile long, it has had to have happened more than once.
      A kind of wives tale growing up was that tornadoes follow railroad tracks. I don't know if there is any proof to that or not.
      Now for those doing the South/Midwest, a scene where a tornado has gone through might be interesting. Torn down trees and power poles. Bits of aluminum foil partially painted and wrapped around tree trunks could be whats left of a trailer home. The aftermath and clean up could be a place to display your fire/rescue/emergency/police cars and trucks, lights blinking and everything. If it is really bad, you can throw the National Guard out there with their jeeps and 2 1/2 tons.
      Since I model the Midwest, this will be a kind of long term goal idea that I will work on.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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