Rails and cross-ties have been replaced and crossings torn up and repaved over the last several months in communities up and down the train tracks in Scott, Clark and Jackson counties.
There's a reason for all this activity. As new signs posted at crossings indicate, motorists can expect more trains pulling more cargo using the tracks. And they'll be moving faster, too.
A half-page ad in The Scott County Journal and The Chronicle published July 30 explained that plans made some three years ago by the Louisville and Indianapolis (L&I) Railroad and CSX Transportation (CSXT) are coming to fruition. Fueled by a $100 million investment by CSXT, the improved transportation line between Louisville and Seymour will accommodate more traffic on the rails hauling more products, equipment and crops.
Earlier estimates related that as many as 17 trains may be using the route daily. Initially, however, the number of trains will be increased to ten daily. Trains may reach up to 49 miles per hour in certain stretches and could measure up to 14,000 feet long.
All of this was made possible by the new type of rail installed. Instead of laying sections of rail held together by joints, a new, sturdier, “seamless” rail has been installed. Consequently, the tell-tale “clickety-clack” of trains as they travel has been eliminated as has the threat of derailments due to rail and/or joint failure.
The agreement between L&I and CSXT was signed last summer. CSXT had been attracted to the L&I route because of its relative straight line as it travels through communities. Previously, CSXT used an Ohio route which offered more challenges, i.e. more hills and curves, and which was aging more precipitously.
As noted in the advertisement, “The number and length of CSXT trains will vary and continue to adjust depending on rail freight volumes.”
CSXT serves the Port of Jeffersonville.
All of these changes will come on or soon after 12 midnight on Thursday, September 1.
Motorists and pedestrians should realize that they have responsibilities that come with the changes.
Everyone is reminded to “...always obey railroad crossing signals and warnings and to use caution when approaching all highway/rail grade crossings. A train can come at any time, so 'stop, look and listen' before proceeding through an open crossing,” the ad urges.
Organizations, public officials, transportation facilities and schools which would like to have presentations about rail and crossing safety are welcome to contact Operation Lifesaver, which is a nationwide public education program to promote awareness of safe behavior.
Operation Lifesaver can be reached at www.inol.org for more information.
To learn more about the improvement project, persons may call 812-258-9523 or 1-877-835-5279. Information about L&I is available at www.anacostia.com/railroads/lirc and about CSXT at www.csx.com.