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USA
BNSF to Participate in Diagnostic Process to Evaluate Select San Diego Crossings

  BNSF : Thursday June 29, 2000
BNSFThe Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) today said it is participating in a two- day diagnostic process to determine what supplemental safety measures are needed at select downtown San Diego grade crossings to enhance the safety of residents and tourists if the train whistle is not blown. BNSF is participating in this diagnostic process with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Amtrak, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB), North County Transit District (NCTD) and the City of San Diego.

The FRA previously issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the blowing of the train whistle to alert motorist and pedestrians at grade crossings to the approach of railroad trains. The FRA Notice points out for similarly situated crossings the likelihood that an accident will occur at grade crossings is 62 percent greater when the train whistle is not blown unless other engineering solutions called ``supplemental safety measures'' are constructed to suffice in lieu of blowing the whistle. The FRA also points out that slow operating speeds of a train do not mitigate this alarming statistic.

The federal rulemaking process could take approximately two years until a final rule can be implemented. Therefore, rather than wait for the FRA final rulemaking to become effective, BNSF has stepped forward to initiate and complete a "pilot project" so that the community of San Diego can have a quiet zone in the downtown area. " We have engaged the services of an engineering consultant to propose engineering solutions which will be submitted to the Diagnostic Team for their evaluation and approval, in order that the quiet zone may go forward as a pilot project," says Roy Ketring, Assistant Director Public Projects for BNSF. This will require close coordination between the CPUC, FRA, MTDB, Caltrans, NCTD and the City so that CPUC can complete the diagnostic process, and the City can obtain appropriate funding and construct engineering solutions.

"As a member of the San Diego community since 1885, BNSF is committed to completing this project as expeditiously as possible, and in a way that addresses not only the convenience for the community but also the safety for residents and tourists that visit this fine city," says Jeff Wright, BNSF Assistant Vice President, San Bernardino Service Region. `"We appreciate this opportunity to partner with the City of San Diego and all the other stakeholders." Of the 44 trains (excluding trolleys) that operate in the downtown San Diego area, BNSF currently operates 4-6 trains in a 24-hour period.

Headquartered in Fort Worth, BNSF operates one of the largest rail networks in North America, with 33,500 route miles of track covering 28 states and two Canadian provinces.


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Source: Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Company


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