Proposed train speed increase opposed by Muncie's mayor - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Proposed train speed increase opposed by Muncie's mayor

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MUNCIE -

There's controversy tonight over a plan to allow freight trains to roll faster through crowded cities.

While some have safety concerns, others want the trains to speed up.

In Muncie, talk of doubling the speed from around 30 miles per hour to 60 may have some trouble moving full speed ahead.

Trains whistling through Muncie is nothing new. Tracks criss-cross the town everywhere. It's a fact of life Bob Hartley has grown used to. He owns The Artist Within, just blocks from the tracks.

"There's been a constant struggle with the trains anyway.  We lost a hotel because of the noise of the train," said the small business owner.

That's why talk of raising the limit from around 30 or 40 to 60 is creating controversy.

"I think their initial reaction is 60 miles per hour! I'm not getting anywhere close to that. If you're going to avoid that you're going avoid the downtown, which is the opposite of what we want to have happen," said Bob.

"Do you sacrifice your needing to get from here to there quicker for the reduction in safety," asked Dennis Tyler, Muncie's mayor.

Mayor Tyler found out about CSX's plan through news reports.  He had to call them for an explanation.

"That it would give them more efficiency getting from one location to another," said the mayor.

"You take a train going 60 miles per an hour with 100 cars and those cars are all full, I can't imagine them getting stopped within a quarter of a mile from the time they tried to stop it," finished the mayor.

The region is no stranger to train accidents often created by inattention or people trying to beat the train.

But Bridget Hedinger sees things differently, spending so much of her time waiting on trains.

"I sit a lot at the train tracks waiting for them to pass through.  So if they went by faster, it would not bother me at all," said Bridget.

Mayor Tyler is planning to meet with representatives from CSX in an attempt to fight the plan and demand a full safety campaign.  CSX says they had planned to increase the speeds on January 1.

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