AAO Protests NS Ft. Wayne Line Changes

All Aboard Ohio is trying to drum up public opposition to the plans of Norfolk Southern to remove some of the double track on its Fort Wayne Line in Ohio.

The rail passenger agency is protesting NS’s recent move to route tank car trains off the Fort Wayne Line and onto lines that pass through more populous areas, including Cleveland and Toledo.

NS rerouted the trains carrying crude oil and ethanol on April 7.

A month earlier it filed papers with the Federal Railroad Administration seeking approval to remove 33 miles of double track in three segments between Crestline and Alliance.

AAO said the tank car trains not only operate through more populous areas, but mix with and operate next to Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited, as well as Cleveland Regional Transit Authority trains.

In a statement published on its website, AAO cited instances in which trains carrying hazardous materials have derailed, caught fire and exploded, and resulted in the evacuation of hundreds from their homes.

The statement also suggested that such incidents could endanger waterways and drinking water sources, including Lake Erie.

AAO said the City of Cleveland and other local governments are considering resolutions that would urge that all hazardous materials shipments by whatever mode of transportation not originating or terminating in their communities be moved to less populous routings wherever and whenever physically possible.

The advocacy group described the Fort Wayne Line as the only route NS has that bypasses Greater Cleveland and northern Ohio.

It also said the Fort Wayne Line is NS’s only reliever route between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

“Resolutions and letters of opposition to NS’s actions and proposed actions should be forwarded to Norfolk Southern Corp. (c/o Marque Ledoux, vice president, government relations), the Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Surface Transportation Board, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Ohio Rail Development Commission, appropriate members of Congress, as well as Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, plus all appropriate members of the Ohio General Assembly,” AAO said.

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