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Track Maintenance Brings Extra Train Traffic To Fort Collins

Flickr - Creative Commons
A BNSF train runs through Fort Collins, pictured in 2009.

Drivers in Fort Collins and other Front Range communities will find they're more likely to get stuck behind a train during the month of November. Officials with BNSF Railway say empty freight trains will be rerouted because of track maintenance near Sterling in northeastern Colorado.

The increased traffic may mean an additional six to 10 trains a day passing through town on their way to pick up coal in Wyoming.

The exact number will vary -- as will the times, says Mark Jackson, Deputy Director of Planning, Development and Transportation Services for the city of Fort Collins.

"That's what's frustrating… the railroads don't operate [freight trains] on a schedule, so there's no way to say 'there's gonna be trains coming through Ft. Collins at 4:30, avoid this intersection,'" Jackson says. "We just ask people to be patient."

The extra traffic means as many as 16 trains a day could be running along the Mason Street corridor, parallel to College Avenue over the next five weeks. Jackson says the Union Pacific line that runs parallel to Timberline Road won't be affected.

One bright spot – the coal trains being routed through Fort Collins and other towns are empty.

"Hopefully they'll be moving a little bit quicker than a full train would be," Jackson says.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
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