Train speeds are set to increase Friday allowing for quicker delivery and less stopped traffic at railroad crossings around the city. -- Sarah Cook

Train speed limits to rise this Friday

Published 9:41pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trains crossing at Airport Road, Lapsley, Union, and Church Street will increase their speeds beginning Friday.

During the Monday County Commission meeting, Probate Judge Kim Ballard discussed the speed changes and stressed that residents be mindful of these increased speeds.

“It’s still a safe speed, although it will be increased,” Ballard said. “I think our tracks are in good shape, so it shouldn’t contribute to accidents or any elements like that.”

Lapsley, Union and Church Street will all increase their speed by 10 mph, making the trains’ speed limit 25 mph. Airport Road will increase to 35 mph Friday and then 49 mph on Dec. 21.

Norfolk Southern Corporation is the train company that travels through Selma and Dallas County.

“We get complaints, and the city probably gets a lot more complaints than we commissioners do, about trains blocking the crossings in the city and emergency personnel not being able to get where they’re supposed to be on time,” Ballard said. “That was a factor [in increasing the speed limit].”

Ballard also said from an efficiency standpoint, this will allow the trains to get to where they need to be quicker.

“The faster they can move, the more money they can make, and so that’s why the speed limits are being increased,” he said.

Ballard said he believes this change will be positive for residents of Selma and Dallas County, and said to still practice good safety and be mindful of train speeds, as there have been fatal incidents in the past.

“Everyone should be extra careful, especially with these increased speeds,” he said. “I know a few years ago we did have a fatality at one of the crossings.”

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