The number and speed of freight trains on a central Indiana rail line are expected to increase next month.
The CSX Transportation and Louisville & Indiana Railroads will begin increasing the frequency, length and speed of trains between Seymour and Indianapolis as soon as Aug. 21, The Republic of Columbus reported.
The upgrades are expected to boost train traffic in Columbus, but city officials originally anticipated that the railroads wouldn't increase traffic until the Noblitt Park railroad bridge over the Flat Rock River is rebuilt in 2018.
CSX plans to add two additional trains to the up to six trains it runs daily, said John Goldman, Louisville & Indiana Railroad president. Louisville & Indiana also runs about two to four trains a day on that line.
Mayor Jim Lienhoop said it's unclear how the changes will affect motorists because it's unknown what times of day the trains will be passing through the city.
"A train at 7:30 a.m. on a weekday has a lot more effect than one at 3:30 in the morning," Lienhoop said. "This may be giving us a taste of what's in store for us next year."
Lienhoop said city consultant American StructurePoint predicts the city could see as many as 22 trains a day next year. The city currently sees about eight trains a day.
Railroad officials have said the trains could run up to 49 mph on the line in order to lessen the delay for motorists. However, the Flat Rock River bridge must be improved before trains can run faster than 10 mph in that area, Goldman said.
Earlier this month, Columbus-based Cummins Inc. announced that CSX, the Louisville & Indianapolis Railroad, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the city of Columbus and Bartholomew County would spend $30 million to build a new rail overpass across State Road 46.