Trains get OK to travel faster in city

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 3, 2007

FRANKLIN—Beginning Sunday, CSX trains are alllowed to roll faster through Franklin and Suffolk.

CSX Transportation Inc. recently announced that the authorized speed of freight trains that run through those cities will increase from 25

miles per hour to 30 mph this weekend, then increase from 30 mph to 40 mph on Nov. 11.

The Federal Railroad Administration, one of seven divisions under the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates railroads, including CSX.

“Economically, the area is growing,” said David K. Farley of Public Affairs who also serves as safety supervisor for CSXT. “The frequency of trains is growing as well, and the trains are getting longer.

“(Implementing) this will get the trains through quicker and won’t tie up the crossings in town as long.”

He said that the trains through town serve local industry. While they provide a local benefit, the crossings still may be blocked sometimes when cars are being switched.

“What we do is ask them to unblock the street every five to 10 minutes to clear traffic,” he said.

CSX has four crossings in Franklin and five in Suffolk.

The crossings in Franklin include intersections at the tracks on College Drive, South High, Main and Mechanic streets.

Farley said he has not been contacted by citizens with worries about the increased speed limits. The company is just beginning to get the word out to the public.

“I’m sure somewhere someone will have concerns about it,” he said. “That’s where Project Lifesaver comes in. We will try to help people as much as we can as questions arise.”

Operation Lifesaver is a safety program that is a volunteer, non-profit entity, and is targeted for all audiences. Farley works closely with OL State Coordinator Melvin Jones. The organization offers free presentations about railroad safety to church and civic groups, schools, and fire and police personnel.

CSXT is a principal operating company of CXS Corp., which is based in Jacksonville, Fla. The corporation provides rail, intermodal and rail-to-truck transload services, and its network includes service to 23 eastern states and the District of Columbia.

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