The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local news

September 12, 2013

Going faster: BNSF trains may increase speed up to 70 mph in Enid

ENID, Okla. — Trains go through Enid a lot, and soon could be going faster — up to 70 mph in places.

There are five levels of track speed for freight, said Joe Faust, spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. Class 4 allows speeds up to 60-70 mph, and BNSF track in Enid is designated at Class 4.

Faust said trains are governed by track quality and safety, which determine how fast they can move through town. However, just because a train has the authority to move faster, doesn’t mean they all will go faster, he said.

“It’s like the Oklahoma Department of Transportation sets rules for highway speed and you can drive up to 70 mph. That doesn’t mean everyone will drive 70,” Faust said.

Faust said the new speeds will be implemented within the next 10 days. He said the railroad has not received any complaints about slowness, but some Enid residents have taken to social media in the past to complain about being stuck at crossings.

“This is across our entire operating network,” Faust said. “We have track certification for certain speeds.”

BNSF’s primary interest, Faust said, is safety and the ability to efficiently move products across the country. Safety factors are determined by the Federal Railroad Administration, he said.

“I haven’t been informed of increased safety at crossings,” Faust said. “That is determined by the municipality. If a community believes it needs added protection at a crossing — lights, gates, any upgrade — the community pays for it, and Burlington Northern will install it and maintain it.”

BNSF has seen an increase in volume into and out of the area, Faust said, and increasing trains’ speed will allow the company to move products through faster, causing fewer delays in frequently traveled areas.

Some Enid residents say they hope the trains do go faster. Some also are upset when trains move forward and backward while in a crossing.

“They need to move along,” said Stephanie Carr.

She said Willow from Grand east can be a problem, because there isn’t any way to get through town without waiting about 25 minutes, or driving through residential areas.

“This stopping and backing up three and four times is annoying,” Carr said.

John Glaze, of Enid, said trains need to move faster.

People who responded to a Facebook request for comments tended to favor trains moving faster through town.

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