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W&LE increasing train speeds

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February 14, 2001 The Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway Co. is on track to increase train speeds from 25 to 40 mph, and railroad and public officials are advising motorists to take extra precautions at crossings. The Gazette in Medina County, Ohio, reports.

"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.

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