BNSF puts speed increase through Devils Lake on hold
For now freight trains will not zip through Devils Lake at twice their current speed, after BNSF railroad put a hold on plans to change the speed limit through town from 30 to 60 miles per hours.
Local officials are pleased with the decision, and say they hope it leads to a compromise that maintains the safety of the community.
The speed limit increase was originally scheduled to begin Friday, affecting a 1.4 mile stretch of track through the heart of Devils Lake. Senator John Hoeven says BNSF changed their decision after he appealed to railroad chairman Matt Rose. Local residents and city officials have universally opposed the plan and they say they're thrilled by the railroad's decision. Devils Lake police chief Keith Schroeder says faster trains pose a safety risk, especially for people crossing the tracks. He says "no tresspassing" signs will be put up by the tracks next week. But Schroeder adds that a fence is what's truly needed to keep locals safe from speeding trains.
Devils Lake mayor Dick Johnson says he plans to meet with BNSF chairman Matt Rose, along with senators Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp next Thursday in Fargo to discuss the issue further.
The speed increase has been characterized as being put on hold, not cancelled entirely. BNSF has not responded to multiple messages seeking a comment on the matter.