(Muncie, Indiana – December 11, 2012)
A battle between the city of Muncie, IN and the CSX railroad evidently has become a situation of another community held hostage by the railroad industry as rail management decides on its own to force speed increases upon municipalities, regardless of city ordinances or public opposition.
CSX had surprised Muncie city officials late last week when Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler was contacted by a local newspaper for comment on a CSX news release announcing that speeds of its trains through the medium-size Indiana community would double from 30 mph to 60 mph effective the first of the year. Muncie has a city ordinance restricting the speeds of trains through the city limits to 40 mph.
“My attorneys did some research and have come to believe that federal regulations will preempt anything at the local level regardless of the law we have here,” lamented Mayor Tyler to a Star-Press news writer.
CSX spokesperson Carla Groleau was quick to point out how beneficial the doubling of the speeds of their trains through Muncie would be for the railroad.
“To increase the speed up to 60 mph in that area would improve the efficiency of operations, “ stated Groleau. “It would be good for our customers, who would get their product more quickly,” and adding that “It would cause fewer delays while idling.”
Groleau further said that CSX officials would be meeting with the Mayor once “our calendars align.”
When asked by The Star-Press if local communities could regulate train speeds through their corporate limits, the CSX spokesperson declined to answer other than that the issue was a matter for the Federal Railroad Administration, adding that “We’ll be discussing that with the mayor.”