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October 12, 2017

R. J. Corman Storm Team: Company Efforts for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

In August 2017, out of the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Harvey formed and made its way toward the United States coast. As a Category 4 storm, Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana on August 25th and began pouring down torrential amounts of rain on the states. Some areas hit by the storm got up to 40 inches of rain, and a 1-in-1,000-year flood submerged 30% of the City of Houston and nearby towns. Between the winds, rain and flooding, Hurricane Harvey left a wake of destruction in Texas from Corpus Christi to Beaumont.


A week earlier, knowing the storm was on its way, the railroads along the Gulf coast began preparing for the need for repairs. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railways all contacted R. J. Corman with concerns about potential damage to their lines in Texas and Louisiana. R. J. Corman Storm Team prepared to go in and get the lines back up and running as quickly as possible.


As soon as waters went down, and the team could reach an area of damaged rail, they went in and began repairs. Getting the repairs done quickly from Hurricane Harvey was crucial to get businesses back on their feet, but also, before Hurricane Harvey could completely dissipate, another storm was forming out in the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Irma. It grew in strength, reaching a Category 5 storm at its peak, and made its way toward Florida. CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and Florida East Coast Railway had asked R. J. Corman Storm Team for assistance before the storm hit and made its way inland through Florida on September 10. R. J. Corman strategically positioned their equipment and employees, maximizing their utilization of all of their Storm Team assets, so they could respond to both storms and assist with getting both the Western and Eastern railroads back on track.


Between the two massive hurricanes, R. J. Corman Storm Team quickly went into action fixing rail in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina. By September 14, 2017, R. J. Corman had 258 employees from 24 divisions working diligently on the rails trying to get them up and running as quickly as possible. They worked over 36,600 hours using 96 small vehicles including pickups, cars and vans, 25 road tractors, 24 grapple trucks, 13 rotary dumps, 10 hi-rail excavators and 10 other pieces of specialized equipment to fix what had been damaged.


Because of the efficiency and diligence of R. J. Corman Storm Team working together with the affected railroads, all of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and then Hurricane Irma was repaired within a month of each storm hitting. Storm team efforts for both hurricanes were completed October 11, 2017.