Train traffic won’t jump, official says

Contrary to rumors circulating, the Union Pacific Corp. has no plans to increase the number of trains coming through Marion County, company spokesman Mark Davis said last week.

Davis said that in the current stagnant economy, there is little likelihood that UPC will even work on planning to increase the number of trains because there is little foreseeable increase in the demand for railroad freight hauling.

?The rumor of more trains doesn?t make sense,? he said.

Davis suggested the rumor may be based on railroad upgrade work on tracks combined with a news release in February that UPC train speed limits in all communities between Herington and Peabody would be increased.

That increase placed trains at 5 mph faster Feb. 18 and at 4 mph faster Feb. 25 to set a new maximum speed of 49 mph, he said.

Davis said that not only were the tracks improved through towns like Lost Springs, Lincolnville and Marion, but so were the grade signal modifications.

He said the major advantages of the increased speeds to UPC were those of greater economic efficiencies. Faster trains spend less time getting the jobs done, which in turn ties up locomotives and personnel less of the time, he said.

The railroad also is pleased by greater public safety at the higher speeds, he said. Davis said railroad research shows there are fewer train-motorist collisions at crossings when train speeds are 45 mph and above.

Davis said he the reason for this is that when a motorist sees a train coming quickly, it instills a judgment that the train won?t take long to pass.

If the train is coming along at a slower speed, say 20 mph, the motorist becomes impatient and decides to take a chance on out-running it, Davis suggested.

With the mass of a train and the resulting time required for it to stop, Davis said a motorist should never take a chance on beating a train through a crossing.

So, motorists in the towns in Marion County probably will be spending less time waiting for trains at higher speeds to pass rather than more time because of numbers of trains, he said.

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