"It's hard to tell how fast a train is coming when you perhaps stop at a crossing," said Commissioner Pat Geissman, who chairs the county's Railroad Safety Task Force. "It's important for people to know these speeds will be increasing."
She wrote a letter to all the townships and villages through which the Akron-Canton-Youngstown line of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad passes. She also sent it to all the neighboring school districts to inform bus drivers.
Wheeling and Lake Erie President Bill Callison said the railroad has been working to upgrade its tracks on the ACY line, which runs from Carey in Northwest Ohio to Youngstown, to meet the federal standards for 40 mph speed. He said the railroad started at the western end of the line and increased train speeds on each section of the project as it was completed. He said the final upgrades on the tracks, including those in Medina County, should be done by the end of the month. In Medina County, the track runs through Spencer, Chatham, Litchfield, York, Lafayette, Montville and Sharon townships, Spencer village and Medina city.
"The bottom line is a lot of the track has been 25 mph and that is a relatively slow speed. By putting money into the track and increasing the speed, we have a more solid infrastructure and better customer service," Callison said.
The railroad's Bellevue-to-Pittsburgh track - which runs through Spencer, Chatham, Harrisville and Westfield townships, and the villages of Lodi and Spencer - was updated several years ago and has been operating at 40 mph.
Callison said he has notified all the counties through which the upgraded tracks run and has been working with Operation Lifesaver in Columbus to help get the word out about the faster trains.