I‘ve decided I liked the format of my earlier post about the CSX meeting on Tuesday. So, here are some more quick thoughts…
1) You don’t see this in many of the published reports, but Rick Hood always called the project the “Intermodal and Automotive Terminal.” I’m not saying that means anything at all, but it’s interesting he didn’t shorten the name to the intermodal as everyone else does.
2) CSX is adding two railroad sidings of about 10,000 feet each to handle the longer trains.
3) There was quite a lot of talk about the problems trains have approaching Lakeland. The grade, the angle of approach, etc. Some wondered if it was a choking point. The grade was blamed for the recent problem where a train blocked traffic for about 90 minutes. According to CSX, that the New York crossing was under a “stop and flag” order. The train was loaded with rock and couldn’t move up the grade after stopping. A CSX rep said that in hindsight they should have had a second engine on that train. That explanation was a bit different than given the day after the problem.
4) Here’s the CSX policy on Quiet Zones. Whoops. CSX promised a link on their website. I couldn’t find it. Can you?
4b) Since I couldn’t find that policy here’s a bonus story from the Sun-Sentinel: Train horn noise study in the works. Maybe Lakeland should hire Marlin Engineering of Miami?
5) I could put a paragraph here about the Risk Index With Horns and Quiet Zone Risk Index numbers presented by the CSX Director of Public Safety Awareness, Cliff Stayton. But, frankly, it wouldn’t do any good. They’re based on the current train traffic in Lakeland and didn’t take into account the growth. Plus, you’re really need the data he used to compute the numbers. Stayton did mention the Quiet Zone Calculator quite often. I found that calculator, but without the data I didn’t bother to register.
5a) There was some discussion from the audience about the numbers. The gist was: Lakeland could spend a lot of cash to reduce our current risk to qualify as a quiet zone…and still fail to qualify after traffic increased. Numbers thrown out were $100,000 to $250,000 to upgrade crossings to make them Quiet Zone ready.
5b) One of Stayton’s ideas was to close the crossing at Kentucky to reduce that risk to zero. This is a good example of not understanding our community.
5c) The Quiet Zone Rule website explains quite a bit about quiet zones, including Federal Railroad Administration ruling information, community and railroad opinions, etc. You can also study the FRA’s Guidance on the Quiet Zone Creation Process
6) Tom Drake, from the FRA’s Atlanta office is scheduled to meet with Lakeland officials June 21st. I missed the name of the board meeting he’ll attend.
7) Quiet Zones are revisited by the FRA every three years. You could get one and lose it.
8) CSX said the changes will not increase train traffic going through Lakeland toward Tampa.
9) As I mentioned in my post yesterday….a key point is not the number of trains, but the total miles of trains Lakeland will see in a day.
Right now, CSX is giving the number of trains as 12 to 16 per day. That would be about 20.45 to 27.27 miles of train passing through Lakeland each day. I didn’t get the current total feet of trains passing through Lakeland. I’ll find that for another day. That’s about my limit for tonight. As I go through my notes tomorrow, I’ll post if I forgot something.