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Tom Johnson, P.E. of Railroad and Metallurgical Engineering, Inc. 4601 Excelsior Blvd, #305, St. Louis Park, MN 55416


STLP Freight Rail Reroute

Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Response

An Engineering Analysis Of the St. Louis Park, MN & S Freight Rail Reroute Design

Submitted to: St. Louis Park City Council 5005 Minnetonka Boulevard St. Louis Park, MN 55416 Prepared by: Thomas E. Johnson, P.E. Railroad & Metallurgical Engineering, Inc. 4601 Excelsior Blvd., Suite 305 St. Louis Park, MN 55416

December 31, 2012


STLP Freight Rail Reroute Table of Contents Title Page.....1 Table of Contents.........2 Qualifications...3 Introduction......4 Materials Reviewed.5 Cost & Construction Analysis..6-7 Crossing Accident Reconstruction.8-10 Derailment Analysis..11 Noise and Vibration Analysis12 Mitigation Importance...13 Analysis of the DEIS and the STLP Response......14 Analysis of the Key Findings from SEH Tech Memo #4.15-16 Findings17-18 Conclusions....19 Figures..20-22


STLP Freight Rail Reroute

Qualifications:I have worked in the Railroad Industry for over 30 years, first as a Metallurgical Engineer and then as an Engineering Manager for GE Transportation Systems (GETS) in Erie, PA. In 1997, I started an Engineering Consulting practice serving primarily the railroad industry, its equipment and component suppliers, and the legal profession. I also perform engineering consulting services for manufacturers in the metallurgical component market, Locomotive & Diesel Engine manufacturers and suppliers, US Railroads and municipalities. While at GE, I worked in the Locomotive Engineering Department. I wrote Equipment and Material Specifications, introduced new product components, and performed failure analysis on component failures. I studied event recorder downloads, fault logs, and data packs working with the railroads to improve performance and reduce failures. I managed various GE design engineering programs that included the design and field testing with the Class I railroads. I have worked with most of the Class I railroads on locomotive projects and development over my years with GE. Since I began my engineering consulting practice, I have also performed engineering consulting services for the Class I railroads as well as some Short Line Railroads. This work has included both litigation cases and Engineering projects since leaving General Electric Transportation Systems. I am presently an Engineering Consultant with a consulting practice that focuses in the following areas: 1. Metallurgical Engineering/Failure Analysis. 2. Accident Reconstruction. 3. New Product Development. 4. Railroad Litigation and Product Liability. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and I am a licensed Professional Engineer. I am an accredited certified Accident Reconstructionist (ACTAR # 1517) and certified in OSHA regulations. I am certified in Continuously Welded Rail (CWR) and track standards. I have performed train derailment analysis on a number of accidents. I am a member of a number of professional organizations including: the American Society for Metals (ASM), the American Foundry Society (AFS), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE). 3

STLP Freight Rail Reroute

Introduction:I have followed the SWLRT project closely since I have over 30 years of experience in the railroad business. I am a citizen of St. Louis Park, MN and have had my engineering consulting practice headquartered in the Minneapolis area for 14 years. As a railroad design engineer who loves trains, I am very interested in the SWLRT project as I have been on the Hiawatha line. As the political process of obtaining funds has progressed, I became alarmed at three points in the process. First, I went to a number of the PMT meetings, all of the open houses and had numerous engineering discussions with MnDOT, Hennepin County, and consultants hired by the various government entities. At the conclusion of the PMT process 22 pages of recommendations for mitigation were made. When the EAW from MnDOT was released and stated that NO MITIGATION WAS REQUIRED I had my first alarm that something was wrong with the objectivity of the reroute v. colocation decision making process. While a number of the ideas for mitigation were idealistic and cost prohibitive, a number of the migration items were reasonable and in fact in my opinion are going to be required to make the reroute somewhat safer than without any mitigation. There are a number of areas where the Freight Rail Reroute will be a much less safer alternative than the colocation in the Kenilworth corridor. I will study in some detail my 5 main areas of concern in the body of this report. The second time that I was alarmed was at one of the meetings where the consultants hired by the Hennepin County and the Met Council met with the public and claimed they didnt look at colocation because they werent asked to. However, they said the freight rail, light rail, and the bike path would all fit in the right of way, but they werent asked to look at that alternative. Discussion was halted by Commissioner Dorfman and the next day the first mistake was announced by Ms. Dorfman. The third time was recently when the $123 Million Dollar difference between the freight rail reroute and colocation alternatives was also labeled a $100 million mistake. Ms. Dorfman again announced this mistake. If HDR really made a $100 Million dollar mistake in their report (a 10% error on a $1Billion dollar project) they should be fired for not knowing what they are doing. The fact their mistake was unsigned speaks volumes. I will present data and calculations supporting my contention that the freight rail reroute is ill advised and the entities supporting it are negligent for reasons of cost and safety with analysis in the following 5 areas of controversy: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Cost and Construction Crossing Accident Analysis Derailment Analysis Noise and Vibration Mitigation Importance


STLP Freight Rail Reroute I am performing these studies because I believe that many of the people associated with the politics of this Freight Rail Reroute decision have a gut feel that this is wrong, but have few facts to back up their feelings. This report is an attempt to give some real facts that can back up the STLP City Council to oppose the freight rail reroute in the strongest terms possible.

Materials Reviewed:During the course of the development of the SWLRT system I have kept close track of the proceedings and I have specifically reviewed the following documents and taken photographs and measurements of the entire route of the MN & S that will be upgraded in this reroute. Motive Power and Equipment Compliance Manual, Office of Safety Assurance and Compliance, Federal Railroad Administration, US DOT (478 Pages) Code of Federal Regulations: 49 CFR 229-etc. Train Accident Reconstruction and FELA & Railroad Litigation, Third Edition, by James R. Loumiet and William Jungbauer, 1998. Railroad Engineering, Second Edition, by William W. Hay, 1982. The Dictionary of Railway Track Terms, Simmons-Boardman Books, Inc., Christopher F. Schulte, 1990. CWR & Thermal Forces Workshop, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, Des Plaines, IL, May 21, 2012. Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW), Version 8/08rev, part of the MN&S Freight Rail Study, May 11, 2011. St. Louis Park DEIS comments (42 pages)- from Tom Harmening) Memo from HCRRA to the STB regarding questions. Key Findings of SEH (3 pages)- consultant to St. Louis Park City Council MN&S Freight Rail Study Environmental Assessment Worksheet--Notice of Availability Memo MN&S Freight Rail Study Final Environmental Assessment Worksheet MN&S Freight Rail Study Final Figures Appendix B--Agency Correspondence Appendix C--Supporting Technical Information Appendix D--Area "C" Mitigation Measures Identified Throughout the Study Process


STLP Freight Rail Reroute

Cost & Construction Analysis:This is a big project and there is a specific way that the Federal Government sets these projects up and compares them. While I dont know how the exact calculations are made it was apparent early in the process that for a project of this size that the money that the Federal Government would allocate for mitigation on this project would be $75,000,000.00. The problem is all of this money and more will be needed to upgrade a really old spur line that is in bad shape to a Class 2 main line track. The $75 million that was earmarked for mitigation seems to be allocated to just physically transform this spur line to a mainline. That leaves no money left for mitigation which is why MnDOT had to say that no mitigation is required for the reroute because there is no money for it and the Hennepin County Commissioner (Ms. Dorfman) said that if there were more money added for mitigation that would make the project fall out of the Federal Governments criteria. The EAWs decision to add no mitigation was done to keep the total reconstruction and mitigation coats within the Federal Governments criteria. In all my years in the railroad business, I have seen many Class I railroads abandon perfectly good mainlines and spurs to reduce their maintenance costs. As more traffic returned they could open them back up if they had not been made into bike or hiking trails. I have never seen or heard of a railroad that would upgrade a spur to a mainline because of the extremely high costs. To straighten out the tight curves on many spurs would be a huge cost (Straightening the four sharp curves on the STLP freight rail reroute is not in the plan). That is why all the mitigation money has to go to upgrading the MN & S line and not for Mitigation. The MN & S Line is an