Union Pacific officials say they are increasing the maximum track speed limit from 40 to 49 mph on the rail line paralleling Highway 60 in northwest Iowa.
We talked to Union Pacific spokesperson Calli Hite, who tells us the reasons behind the speed increase.
She says not only do the upgrades allow them to increase speeds, they also support the state’s current and future freight transportation needs, and enhance safety and efficiency.
Hite says the increased speeds shouldn’t have a large impact on safety.
She says train speeds at Sibley, Ashton, Sheldon and Hospers area crossings are increasing gradually.
Hite says trains do not have to move at the full 49-mile-per-hour rate. She says it’s a speed limit just like a speed limit for cars. And just like car drivers need to adjust their speed for certain conditions, conductors and engineers sometimes need to adjust the train’s speed as well.
Hite also says that the line that parallels Highway 60 in our area is under what they call “track warrant control,” which has a speed cap of 49 miles per hour. She says the speed limit could not go any higher than 49 without changing the method of traffic control, which would take significant infrastructure upgrades.