Preparedness Notes for Friday — October 9, 2020

On this day in 1995, saboteurs tinkered with a stretch of railroad track in Arizona. An Amtrak train derailed killing one and injuring a hundred.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today we present another entry for Round 91 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A gift certificate from Quantum Harvest LLC (up to a $2,200 value) good for 12% off the purchase of any of their sun-tracking models, and 10% off the purchase price of any of their other models.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any of their one, two, or three-day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three-day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (a $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Front Sight Lifetime Diamond Membership, providing lifetime free training at any Front Sight Nevada course, with no limit on repeating classes. This prize is courtesy of a SurvivalBlog reader who prefers to be anonymous.
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, that have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
  4. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value).
  5. An assortment of products along with a one-hour consultation on health and wellness from Pruitt’s Tree Resin (a $265 value).

Third Prize:

  1. Three sets each of made-in-USA regular and wide-mouth reusable canning lids. (This is a total of 300 lids and 600 gaskets.) This prize is courtesy of Harvest Guard (a $270 value)
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. Naturally Cozy is donating a “Prepper Pack” Menstrual Kit.  This kit contains 18 pads and it comes vacuum-sealed for long term storage or slips easily into a bugout bag.  The value of this kit is $220.
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. A transferable $150 purchase credit from Elk Creek Company, toward the purchase of any pre-1899 antique gun. There is no paperwork required for delivery of pre-1899 guns into most states, making them the last bastion of firearms purchasing privacy!

Round 91 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how-to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Railroads.

    Fortunately modern rails are welded together making derailments much less likely. However, the use of acetylene cutting torches, thermite, and other tools that are not readily available to terrorists, could cut through these rails.

    1. re:
      rail vulnerabilities

      On their best day, the railroad system is a ‘train-wreck waiting to happen’.
      The force-multiplier of supply disruptions cannot be over-stated.

      ‘Yes’, a lot of dedicated professionals work 24/7 to keep the trains rolling.
      And part of my youth was invested parked along the railroad tracks near the rail-hub of Roseville California.
      We watched for red-hot over-heated brakes on wood railcars coming down from the Sierra Nevada mountains, the rail-hub of Reno, and points east.
      Flaming floors got extra points!

      In the early 1970s, a train carrying military bombs detonated at the Roseville yard operated by Southern Pacific.
      The explosions of 250s and 500-pounders blew homes off foundations for miles around.
      I lived seven miles away over a hill from the reservoir at Folsom dam (the Folsom penitentiary was made famous by Johnny Cash), and I felt the shockwaves through the ground!

      As late as mid-2020, remodeling of the Roseville yard uncovered 1970s unexplored ordnance driven deep into the earth by their exploding brethren and sistern.

      Saboteurs can be other than human.

      Here in Oregon, the place is infested with the yuge rodents known as ‘nutria’.
      A rat the size of a raccoon, they are notorious for tunneling into banks, collapsing roads and levees.

      Although I enjoy the romanticism of the olden-times rail-travel, I cannot see depending on such a single-source obvious target of terrorists.
      Rail hubs such as Eugene Oregon are obvious targets for disruption of suppliers such as petroleum and forestry products.
      How did your car or truck get manufacturer-to-dealer?

      In places like central and south America, trains are routinely de-railed by looting gangs… or simply for the entertainment of bored peasants.
      Late-2020 fUSA has plenty of bored peasants.

      The Indian (curry, not casino) rail-system is ruled by bureaucrats operating by the time-tested ‘bribes’ method of equipment maintenance.

      1. Editors,

        Thank you for changing my ‘Sahara Nevada’ mountains’ to ‘Sierra Nevada’, but as kids in the Sahara Nevada foothills, we always called them the ‘Saharas’ because of the dry forests.
        After the frequent forest fires, the name ‘Saharas’ seemed particularly appropriate.

        Referencing the newly-discovered 1970s bombs in the Southern Pacific railyard, I believe my use of ‘unexploded ordnance’ is accurate, although ‘unexplored’ is pretty nifty, too!

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