Trains, trains and even more trains.
Beginning Sept. 7, CSX Transportation plans to increase the number, length and speed of trains traveling its rail line between Seymour and Butlerville in Jennings County.
The increase will happen just a week after CSX and Louisville and Indiana Railroad start to move more trains along the L&I rail line between Louisville and Indianapolis. Those trains, which will travel through Seymour, too, also will be longer and faster, railroad officials have said.
Story continues below gallery
The two rail lines cross in the middle of Seymour in the downtown area, dividing the city into four quadrants.
Train speeds will jump from the current limit of 25 mph to 40 along the east-west line and to nearly 50 mph on the north-south route. There also are discussions about increasing the speed of trains switching tracks from 10 to 25 mph.
The number and length of trains will vary depending on freight volumes, railroad officials said.
Mayor Craig Luedeman said he has been told the number of daily trains on the east-west line could increase from two or three to five.
CSX currently operates three to four trains per day on the north-south route, and that will gradually increase to around 10 or more, railroad officials said. Train length may be up to 14,000 feet long, nearly triple the length of current trains.
The changes are expected to enhance capacity and efficiency along the rail corridor and improve connectivity for manufacturers, farmers and other contributors to the area’s economic growth, according to a news release from CSX.
Track and signal improvements have been made along the routes to increase safety and to comply with federal regulations, CSX officials said.
But Luedeman said it isn’t enough to prevent traffic from backing up. He continues to push for a railroad overpass south of town and a gate at the crossing at Sixth Street (State Road 258) to keep cars from trying to “beat the train.”
There are a total of 24 crossings on the east-west CSX rail to Butlerville, including Broadway (State Road 11) and O’Brien streets in Seymour.
Motorists and pedestrians are reminded to always obey railroad crossing signals and warnings and to use caution when approaching railroad crossings.
The increased rail traffic is the result of progress being made on a $100 million project to upgrade and strengthen the 106½ miles of rail line that runs from Louisville to Indianapolis. Although the line is owned by L&I, it also is used by CSX Transportation, which is funding much of the work.