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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Vegetation-control pact forged in Vermont; crossing upgrades approved in Ohio

The city of Montpelier, Vt., recently reached an agreement with Washington County Railroad regarding herbicide spraying in the city center.

Residents had expressed concerns about the use of herbicides to control vegetation, and in response, public meetings were held with officials from the city, railroad, Vermont Department of Agriculture and Vermont Agency of Transportation's Rail Division.

The short line agreed to use weed trimmers instead of herbicides to control vegetation this summer on a segment of track in a populated area between Main and Granite streets. The city will cover the cost of labor and equipment.

The parties also agreed that the state will conduct a more thorough review of vegetation control practices so a long-term resolution can be determined.

"I am pleased that the railroad worked cooperatively with the city. They have understandable operational concerns and were willing to be flexible while decisions on best practices are made," said Montpelier Mayor John Hollar in a press release.

Owned by Vermont Rail System, Washington County Railroad interchanges with CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway.

Meanwhile, CSX and NS are among the railroads that soon will begin improving several grade crossings due to a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio decision. The commission on Wednesday approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) directing three railroads to install mast-mounted flashing lights and gates at six crossings in five counties.

NS will upgrade crossings in Avon Lake, Denmark Township and Washington; CSX will improve a crossing in in Washington Township; and the Indiana & Ohio Railway will upgrade two crossings in Mason.

NS and CSX must complete the work by April 22, 2016, and the Indiana & Ohio Railway must complete its upgrades by Oct. 22, 2016. The projects will receive federal funding through the ORDC.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/24/2015