A simpler, cheaper railroad plan

An article in The Daily World on Jan. 20 mentioned more public funds being spent to try to get the East Aberdeen Rail Separation project going.

I have tried unsuccessfully to interest public officials, going back to Mayor Simpson, in an alternate way to solve traffic congestion from train traffic. However, it seems that this project still has our government plowing forward using our money unnecessarily; hence this letter.

The root cause of train delay is the fact that the speed over the Wishkah River rail bridge is 5 mph. This speed causes a mile long train to take about 13 minutes to go over a road crossing.

In the packet I handed out to all the stakeholders in this project was included copies of the relevant pages of the 1982 Burlington Northern Railroad Timetable and Special Instructions. In this document the listed speed from Montesano to Hoquiam was 25 mph. A 10 mph restriction over street crossings in Aberdeen was also listed, and was probably due to a lack of crossing signals.

Today’s track operator, the Puget Sound & Pacific, is owned by Genesee & Wyoming Incorporated which controls 112 railroads worldwide. My suggestion is simply this: Why not have the PS&P railroad bring the Wishkah Bridge up to 25 mph again and petition the Federal Railroad Administration for help in the installation of crossing lights and gates? This would lower the time a crossing was blocked to two minutes and 30 seconds. I’m sure this could be done far sooner, far cheaper, and with less disruption for the affected businesses than the current “plan.”

Jon Meyer