Dear Johnnie: I am wondering if you could find out whether the railroad tracks near Mountain View and Martin (due east of the LAC) are on the list to be repaired? They are just nasty to drive over in a car, and I can imagine even more punishing on a motorcycle or bicycle.
Is this budgeted by the city and/or railroad? If it is not on the list, how can we put in a request? I believe they just repaired these tracks in the last five years or so and the installation didn’t hold up. Now from a non-expert’s perspective, it would seem to me the same solution that was installed at the track crossing on 17th and Lamplighter would be a good solution at Mountain view. That is a smooth ride crossing 17th Ave! — Smooth Track Seeker
Dear Johnnie: Who has the responsibility for repairing the railroad tracks on Ninth Avenue between Hover and Airport road, just south of Twin Peaks golf course? A friend of mine recently injured himself badly riding his bike across the tracks, and cars have to slow down to about 5 mph when crossing. — Concerned
Dear Johnnie: Which are the active train tracks through Longmont and which are inactive? — Jodi
Dear Johnnie: I was just wondering if there is some way to get the train schedule for the trains that run through Longmont.
I would like to try and leave my home early on the days I know they will be running so I am not late for work. It seems I always have to wait for the train at the same time in the mornings on Third Avenue, but I don’t know what day they will come. I usually have to wait 10 minutes or more because they are long trains and they usually stop and back up and then go forward again.
If I remember correctly, the trains are not allowed to stop traffic in Boulder during the morning rush hour, why can’t they do the same in Longmont? –Late For Work
Dear Smooth Track Seeker, Concerned, Jodi, Late For Work and the other two people reading this: I’ll start with the repairs.
Indeed, the crossing on Mountain View rattles the teeth and could use the attention that other crossings have received.
Tom Street, engineering administrator for Longmont’s Public Works and Natural Resources Department, told Johnnie that a city project manager “has previously contacted the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad regarding the poor riding condition of the Mountain View Avenue Railroad crossing. The railroad has indicated they will be providing maintenance at this location, but a firm maintenance schedule has not been established at this time.”
The tracks that cross Ninth Avenue don’t feel as rough to me, but what stands out about this crossing is that it cuts diagonally across the road. I can see how a front bicycle wheel, when it meets the rail, could get twisted and caught in the rut. Tom said that BNSF is responsible for maintaining the crossing on Ninth Avenue between Hover Street and Airport Road. He said that city staff would inspect the crossing and request maintenance from the railroad if it is needed.
Every train track in Longmont is an active track. “The main line tracks are frequently used and the spur line tracks are less frequently used,” Tom wrote, “but I am not aware of any tracks that are inactive within Longmont.”
Now, to the answer you’ve all been waiting for.
“Freight train schedules are random,” BNSF spokesman Steve Forsberg told me. “The only (trains) that would have a set schedule are passenger trains.”
Statistically, more freight trains operate at night than during the day, but they can run at any hour of the day, seven days a week. This is true even in Boulder.
“Freight trains operate independently of when roadways face their own rush-hours,” Forsberg said. “That’s why a lot of communities put in overpasses and underpasses.”
That’s also why the interstate highway system has no at-grade crossings, he said.
While I had I him on the phone, I asked Forsberg if more trains have been coming through Longmont lately.
“We are rerouting more trains through Colorado … because of flooding in the Midwest,” he said. “The amount of rerouting (in Longmont) wouldn’t be … as much as Sterling, Denver, Colorado Springs. But there might be some mixed freight trains (coming through town) because of rerouting on the busier lines in Colorado.”