Train Speed Limit About to Increase Through Town

Train Speed Limit About to Increase Through Town
By: Arnold Wyrick
Marion, IL - Union Pacific trains will begin rolling through the Marion area a little faster in just over a week. That's when the railway company notified Marion city leaders of their intentions of increasing their freight train speeds, from the 35 to 49 mph.
"They say the reason that they want to increase their speeds is that they will get through town quicker. And that means they will be blocking the crossings on the streets for less time," says Marion Mayor Bob Butler.
When asked how he felt the change in speed would affect traffic at railroad crossings, he had this to say.
"My thoughts this is a dangerous scenario. If a car is hit at any speed by a train I suppose it's going to be bad. But when you increase that speed by 35% to 40% in this instance, I think somebody is wanting people to live dangerously," Mayor Butler said.
The speed on city streets in Marion is currently at 30 mph, some drivers feel that trains traveling at nearly 50 mph is way too fast!
"That shouldn't be, that shouldn't be allowed in any municipality. It should be the same as a car 30 mph through town," says Richard Cornell of Marion.
But Mayor Butler says there isn't anything city leaders can do to slow the trains down.
"The Federal Government sets the speed on trains. And they've given them permission to increase their speeds through Marion, and I presume all the way down to Vienna," Mayor Butler said.
The first increase in speed will come on May 25th, when trains will begin rolling through town at 45 mph. Then on June 1st their speeds will top out at 49 mph.
Union Pacific recently signed hauling agreements with two coal mines in the area. And have increased their daily train traffic through Marion from 3 trains a day, to 10.