Posts Tagged ‘grade crossings’

PUCO Approves 3 Grade Crossing Projects

August 1, 2020

Three grade crossing projects were approved this week by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Norfolk Southern was directed to to install lights and gates at the Monroe Street/County Road 39 crossing in Huron County.

The Indiana & Ohio Railway was directed to install flashing lights and cantilever at the State Street crossing, and flashing lights and gates at the Deerfield Road crossing in Hamilton county.

The NS and IORY projects must be completed by July 29, 2021.

The Wheeling & Lake Erie was directed to install flashing lights and gates at the Baymere Avenue/Township Road 322 crossing in Stark County by April 29, 2021.

Federal funding will be provided for these projects.

FRA Grade Crossing Study Used Drones

January 22, 2020

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a report on its Office of Research, Development and Technology’s study of the use of drones to produce accurate 3-D models of high-profile grade crossings.

In a news release, the FRA said the study, which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, found that photogrammetry with ground control points can produce models with similar accuracy to those produce using LiDAR at a much lower cost, FRA officials said in the report.

The study determined the process needed to achieve a simple measurement of ground clearance for these crossings. Volpe also made recommendations to FRA for pursuing the capability, as well as to work with the Federal Highway Administration to provide better information to drivers of low-clearance vehicles.

The study results can be found at https://railroads.dot.gov/sites/fra.dot.gov/files/2019-12/UAVs%20and%20Grade%20Crossings.pdf

MDOT Awards $3M in Grade Crossing Project Funds

December 24, 2019

A total of $3 million has been awarded by the Michigan Department of Transportation for 41 grade crossing projects in the state.

In a news release MDOT said the Local Grade Crossing Surface Program providing for projects ranging from minor asphalt repairs to installation of new track and surface materials.

Projects receive 60 percent state funding with railroads responsible for the remaining 40 percent of the costs.

The work is to be performed by the railroads and their contractors, with cooperation of MDOT and local road departments for detour routes.

Scheduling of the projects is the responsibility of the railroads and local road agencies.

Eight-one applications for the grant money were received from 40 road agencies in partnership with 17 railroads and were evaluated on a competitive basis.

FRA Launches Webpage to Report Blocked Crossings

December 21, 2019

The Federal Railroad Administration created a webpage that can be used by the public and law enforcement to report blocked highway-rail grade crossings.

The page collects such information as date, time, location and duration.

In a news release the FRA said it will use the information collected will to gain a more complete picture of where, when and for how long such obstructions occur at the nation’s approximately 130,000 public grade crossings.

The agency said it will share that information with railroads and government officials and use it to help create local solutions to blocked crossing issues.

Filling out the form online should take an average of three minutes the FRA said.

The page can be found at www.fra.dot.gov/blockedcrossings

Ohi-Rail to Improve 2 Crossings in Minerva

December 3, 2019

Ohi-Rail will improve grade crossings in Minerva as a result of action taken recently by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

PUCO will provide funding for the projects that are to be completed by Nov. 21, 2020, with funding from the State Grade Crossing Protection Fund covering part of the costs.

Ohi-Rail will upgrade LED lights at the Line Street grade crossing and upgrade LED lights at the Bonnie View Avenue crossing.

In a news release, PUCO said funding from the State Grade Crossing Protection Fund is not to exceed $5,000 per project.

Trains Tying Up Toledo Crossings for Long Periods

November 5, 2019

Some Toledo motorists are growing impatient over what they term long delays due to grade crossings being blocked by longer trains.

The Blade newspaper of Toledo noted that blocked crossings are not new in East Toledo, but with Norfolk Southern having adopted the precision scheduled railroading operating model the time that crossings are blocked has lengthened as the trains have become longer.

“It wasn’t really that bad until they started doing something different,” resident Tom Salona told the Blade.

Another resident, Chris McCrory, said delays have stretched to a half hour and even an hour.

Nick Fuzinski said the problems started getting bad last spring. “It used to be just five minutes. Then they’d be on their way,” he said.

Toledo City Councilman Peter Ujvagi, whose district includes East Toledo, said he has received numerous complaints about long blocked grade crossings.

“People have complained, because for a very long time that one single [track] line was not used much at all,” he said. “But now we have these extended blockages, and you can’t get around them.”

He was referring to the fact that CSX also has a rail line a few blocks from the NS track in question.

The Blade said the NS trains in question are headed in and out of Evans Yards, formerly known as Homestead Yard, in Oregon.

In the past, NS ran shorter trains and departing trains could conduct an air test without blocking any streets.

In particular, the Blade reported, the train that is blocking crossing the most originates in Bellevue and has a few blocks of cars for Evans Yard and the Air Line Yard in Central Toledo.

That train also interchanges traffic to the Ann Arbor Railroad in North Toledo.

The Blade said that this train typically arrives at Evans Yard in the middle of the morning to drop off cars and then picks up cars bound for Air Line Yard.

Most of the cars NS interchanges to the Ann Arbor Railroad are auto racks and that results in consists that are more than a mile long.

That is long enough to block most, if not all, crossings between Burger and York streets as the crew does switching and performs an air break test before departing for Air Line Yard.

To reach Air Line, the train must get onto the NS Chicago Line near East Broadway and Oakdale Avenue.

If it has to wait for traffic before getting onto the Chicago Line that means more time blocking crossings.

What has changed is that the auto racks are no longer handled in separate trains as they were in the past.

Likewise, NS used to run a train from Bellevue with just cars bound for Evans Yard.

A yard crew at Evans would then build another train with cars bound for Air Line Yard.

But now all of those movements have been consolidated into a single train.

Yet another complication can occur if an NS train is blocking a diamond with CSX at Ironville Junction.

That has a ripple effect with CSX trains blocking crossings in North and East Toledo as it waits it turn to proceed across the diamonds.

Ujvagi said he might write a letter to Norfolk Southern and perhaps one to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur to see what help she might be able to offer.

PUCO OKs CSX Crossing Project

May 5, 2018

CSX will upgrade a crossing in Hardin County, Ohio, following approval of the project by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

PUCO directed CSX to install lights and gates by Feb. 2, 2019, at the crossing at Locker Road/County Road 60 in Hardin County.

Federal funding for the project is being provided through the Ohio Rail Development Commission as well as the Ohio State Grade Crossing Safety Fund.

CSX to Upgrade 8 Crossings in Marion

April 6, 2018

CSX will upgrade eight grade crossings in Marion as a result of action by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio this week.

The railroad will install new flashing lights and roadway gates at the following locations: Main Street/Ohio Route 4 (two crossings); North State Street (two crossings); Oak Street (two crossings); Prospect Street North; and Prospect Street South.

The work must be completed by April 4, 2019, and federal funding will account for 75 percent of the project costs with CSX paying the remainder.

OLI Says Grade Crossing Fatalities Rose in 2017

March 16, 2018

Deaths caused by trespassing on railroad property and at grade crossings rose in 2017, Operation Lifesaver said this week.

Trespassing fatalities jumped by 22.3 percent while those at grade crossings increased by 7.4 percent last year when compared with 2016 figures.

The data came from the Federal Railroad Administration, which said 575 died and 505 were were injured after trespassing on railroad property in 2017.

At grade crossings, 274 were killed and 807 were injured last year.

When comparing 2017 to 2016, total casualties, which includes deaths and injuries, rose 13.3 percent in trespassing incidents while the number of collisions at grade crossings increased 3.1 percent to 2,105 from 2,041 in 2016.

“We are very concerned about the increase in crossing incidents and deaths, and alarmed by the sharp rise in trespass deaths,” said OLI Interim President Wende Corcoran in a statement.
OLI said that the 2017 railroad trespassing casualty rate — deaths and injuries per million train miles — was 1.55, the highest level in the past decade.

The highway-rail incident rate — incidents per million train miles — was 3.01, an increase from 2016.

States with the most crossing collisions in 2017 were Texas, California, Illinois, Florida and Georgia. States with the most trespasser casualties — deaths and injuries combined — in 2017 were California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

PUCO Approves 3 Grade Crossing Projects

January 5, 2018

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved grade crossing projects in Montgomery and Perry counties.

In Montgomery County, CSX will install new lights and gates at the Washington Street grade crossing in Dayton. The project is to be completed by Sept. 20, 2018.

Also in Dayton, Norfolk Southern will install new lights and gates at the crossing at Albany and Washington streets. That project must be completed within 60 days after CSX finishes its work on Washington Street.

In Perry County, the Kanawha River Railroad will install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at the Township Road 185 grade crossing in Jackson Township. The work is to be done by Dec. 20, 2018.

Federal funding for all three projects is being provided through the Ohio Rail Development Commission.