PONTIAC — The Track Renewal Train laying high-speed rail line is expected to be in Livingston County next month, but county leaders already are preparing for the process.
“There is a lot of activity going on already and that will pick up in the next few weeks,” said County Engineer Dave Winters. “There will be some temporary crossing closures and some inconveniences, but things are really starting to happen very quickly.”
The TRT arrived in McLean County earlier this month and is expected in Livingston County in late June. The majority of the temporary crossing closures are likely to occur in July, Winters said.
“The train that takes up the rail is a fantastic machine and it is definitely worth a visit to see it,” he said.
The TRT is about a half-mile long; the support cars and locomotives that accompany the TRT extend about eight miles. Amtrak passengers will be shuttled by bus around the construction.
County leaders worry about safety at the crossings once the project is complete. Eventually, trains are expected to travel at a speed up to 110 miles per hour and the crossing gates will be lowered about 90 seconds prior to a train’s arrival.
“I have concerns with our rural crossings,” Livingston County Board member John McGlasson said. “A tractor with three wagons can move pretty slowly.”
Currently, Winters said, the gates are lowered 30 seconds prior to a train’s arrival. Trains now travel between 70 and 80 miles per hour.
“I think we are all going to be waiting longer at crossings now,” said county transportation committee Chairman Ron Deany. “But safety is a concern.”
A bridge along 2400 North Road in Odell Township, south of Odell, will be replaced by the Illinois Department of Transportation Bureau of Railroads, Winters said. He did not know when construction would start.