Friday, December 22, 2006

Thanks Again, Captain Obvious!

Anybody who has ever taken the PATH trains in New York & New Jersey could have told you this without a multimillion dollar study:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An analysis done for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says commuter train tunnels under the Hudson River are more vulnerable to a bomb attack than previously thought, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

The analysis revises critical aspects of an assessment given the agency last spring, making clear that the PATH tunnels stretching across the Hudson riverbed are structurally more fragile than first thought, the paper said in an article on its Web site.

The New York Times said it had received a draft summary of the most recent analysis from a government official concerned about what the official felt was a lack of action.

The latest analysis indicates it would take only six minutes for one of the PATH system's four tunnels to flood if a significant bomb were detonated, the official was quoted as saying.
This is a rail system that shuts down when there's a catastrophic rainfall, much less a terror attack, because of flooded tunnels. It's a very shallow train service, which means there ain't a whole lot of "stuff" on top of the tunnels to contain a blast, and to filter water more slowly, allowing for time to evacuate. To boot, the tubes are made of cast iron, which makes them highly susceptible after nearly 100 years of service to failure on a grand scale when hit with an impact.

Indeed, when the Towers fell in 2001, the entire line between the World Trade Center and Newark that ran under the Hudson River was flooded out. Although the water would not reach street level even if the entire tunnel was exploded, there's a strong possibility the water could rise out of the PATH system and into the adjoining New York City subway system at various stations along Sixth Avenue, flooding most of the lines servicing the West Side of the island.

This is a fairly significant weak spot in the New York City and New Jersey homeland security armor: The PATH lines carry some 250,000 people each day and are open 24 hours a day. Security at many of the stations is lax, mostly because of the open air design of the stations (some are outside at ground level and in fact, the PATH train is designated a train and not a subway for this reason).

So thanks once again, Captain Obvious for pointing this out...

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