Norfolk Southern trains will travel at increased speeds of 50 mph through Knoxville
(WBIR -- Knoxville) Norfolk Southern announced an increase in train speeds through Knoxville starting in September.
In a release, the company said starting September 1st, it is raising its freight train speed from 30 mph to 50 mph along a 15-mile stretch of railway in the city. The area includes major railroad crossings like Concord Street, Central Avenue and Cherry Street, as well as several residential areas.
Norfolk Southern expects the change to improve flow of traffic, since a fast-moving train will take less time to cross. The company doesn't expect any additional safety issues, citing statistics linking more highway-rail grade crossing collisions occurring at slower train speeds.
Gus Planells lives near a train crossing in West Knoxville, and is apprehensive about increased speeds.
"You can do a lot of damage at 50 mph in a car, and your car is not made out of [the kind of] steel like a train is," he said. "It's going to create some type of chaos."
Bryan Knight regularly gets stopped by a passing train.
"Going to work every morning and coming home every evening, I get caught up by the train," he said.
However, he takes more issue with the number of cars rather than the speed.
"I wish they were a little bit shorter, but I don't think the speed should go up any. It's a dangerous thing, people get caught in the middle of them sometimes, right there," he said, referring to the tracks near his home in East Knoxville.
Norfolk Southern said, even with faster speeds the warning time will remain 20-30 seconds. The company said that alarm is triggered by time, not distance.