PTC rail siding operational

Tue, 06/27/2006 - 4:00pm
By: John Munford

CSX Railroad has officially begun using its rail siding in Peachtree City.

The siding, stretching north from the Home Depot, is an extra lane of track where trains can park so others may pass them, railroad spokesman Craig Camuso explained at a City Council meeting last week.

The company’s intention is to park some trains on the siding briefly, ideally as short as 20 minutes, because the company’s business is best served by keeping the trains moving, Camuso said.

“The intent is to do it as quickly as possible,” Camuso said, noting that the only time trains would be parked for hours at a time would be if there was an emergency on the railroad that shut down all train traffic.

Part of the railroad’s problem is that the tracks can only handle trains going in one direction, unlike in the north where the company has tracks running simultaneously in both directions, Camuso said.

Camuso said the company is committed to screening the section of track, and CSX will also allow the railroad crossing at the old Comcast Cable building to remain open. The latter allows the city to extend MacDuff Parkway, the main collector road for the West Village, all the way up to Ga. Highway 74 at the intersection of south Kedron Drive.

Any train parked temporarily on the siding would block that crossing, however, Camuso noted.

The siding has room to accommodate trains up to 120 cars in length, and it will come in handy to separate trains going in different directions, Camuso said. The siding was necessary to handle the additional growth in train traffic that CSX has experienced in the past few years, Camuso said.

The siding initially sparked safety concerns because of the hazardous chemicals some of the trains carry and references that CSX could park trains on the siding for up to 12 hours at a time. But Camuso said he has been told the siding will not be used in such a manner. Camuso also noted that compared to other CSX rail lines, there are fewer hazardous chemicals transported on the line that goes through the city.

The company will also work with the Peachtree City Fire Department to make sure they are aware of what chemicals are transported on the rail line so firefighters can respond appropriately in an emergency, Camuso said.

Mayor Harold Logsdon said he had a difficult time understanding why the railroad didn’t pick a more rural location for the siding instead of locating it on the most visible portion of the track in Peachtree City.

Camuso said he was not part of the site selection process and was unaware of the criteria railroad officials deemed necessary for the site.

The company will work with the city engineer to develop the buffer plan to screen the area and reduce noise, Camuso said.

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