All aboard for rail line improvements

First Posted: 1/30/2015

It’s time to offer a slow clap for Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad.

Congratulations on improving 315 miles of rail line between Tolleston, Indiana, and Crestline, Ohio. That’s an impressive feat, leveling and aligning nearly 50 miles of track. We’re thrilled for you that you can add an additional six eastbound freight trains per day.

Maybe that extra revenue can help you fix the Cable Road crossing for your line. It’s only one road, after all.

Many residents of Lima may think of it as the east-west train that often blocks Cable and Eastown roads. Mostly, though, we think of it for those potholes that develop near the approach to the tracks. If you’ve lived in Lima for more than a week, you probably have a story about thinking you’d lost a tire while bouncing over those tracks.

For a long time, people looked to the local governments for guidance on the tracks. The tracks and the pavement leading up to them are the railroad’s responsibility, but that didn’t stop residents from complaining to their local governments.

Lima and the line’s owner, Genesee & Wyoming, have a general agreement the company needs to improve the railroad crossing. We hope the company includes specific plans to permanently solve this public safety hazard before it seriously damages a vehicle or causes some kind of an accident.

The city seems to agree.

“We’re looking forward to the CFE’s plan for Cable Road here in the near future,” said Howard Elstro, Lima’s Public Works Director.

This dangerous annoyance aside, anyone with a love for the local economy should applaud this additional train traffic coming through our region. Increased rail traffic means more good news for Lima and the region.

This additional rail traffic can be good news to people already frustrated by the trains stopped on the line. Additional volume means the company can’t afford to have anything block its rail lines through Lima.

You can be certain the company doesn’t want to see a bottleneck in Lima any more than a driver trying to get across those tracks does. There will be more emphasis on getting the most out of the line, instead of settling for train cars that might block tracks for 10 minutes at a time.

Additional traffic means locally produced items are shipping elsewhere. The 315-mile track already has 39,000 cars per year on it. Its connections to lines belong to Genesee & Wyoming and other carriers helps distribute the goods made here throughout North America.

That train horn signals a healthy economy, and we couldn’t be happier — especially once the company fixes the Cable Road crossing so drivers don’t have to contribute to the local auto repair economy again so soon.

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