Lightning Strikes the CALS track

During the Summer of 2000 a small sapping near the track was hit by lightning.

The bolt traveled down the tree into the roots, digging a trench toward the 1" scale ground level track.

This lifted the track and ties out of the ground about a foot, making a trench about 2ft deep and about 10ft long.

The track is held down by 3ft long Rebar with a plate welded on the end.  The lightning entered the rod and arced from the plate to the aluminum rail, melting it.

Besides the damage to the track dirt was thrown 20ft from the hole.  The arc sent a voltage surge round the track causing other damage over a 1000ft by rail from the strike site.  The power supply for the crossing signal was fried.  One of the control boxes for the station switches 600ft away had the LED's reduced to charcoal.  The in ground electrical actuator for the switch was shorted.  The switch position indicator lights at the station were blown. The phone line into the storage building was damaged.  The answering machine had copper traces burned off the pc board.  (it still worked after repairing the burns) The phone line to the Midway building had a high resistance short and also smoked the connection box.  The intercom line between the station and the storage building was damaged.  

Fortunately this occurred in the middle of the week and not a run day.  We all have acquired a new found respect for the power of lightning.

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