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Devils Lake city leaders not happy that freight trains could be moving through city at twice the speed they run now

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Devils Lake, ND (WDAY TV) - Freight trains could soon be rolling through Devils Lake at twice the speed that they run now, an increase that Devils Lake city leaders are not happy about.


Monday city leaders will meet with BNSF officials to voice their concern over the possible speed increase.

Dick Johnson / Devils Lake Mayor: “We ought not put our people at risk to get traffic through Devils Lake faster, and to make things flow better for the railroad. Safety number one. People number one.”

Safety concerns from Devils Lake Mayor Dick Johnson. BNSF trains could soon travel through Devils Lake at 60 miles per hour.

Johnson: “Chief of police got a letter from Burlington Northern. I believe it was dated July 7th saying that they had indicated they would be increasing speeds of their trains through Devils Lake.”

A change that could start on August 1st, affecting a 1.4 mile stretch of track through the heart of the city.

Johnson: “We've got a couple schools close. We've got a big trailer park close and the kids cross the railroad tracks to get to the school. Plus a major residential area right through the heart of downtown Devils Lake. 

A BNSF spokesperson says the change will reduce the time trains spend passing through Devils Lake, which they say makes a speed limit increase the safer choice.

Johnson: “Let’s leave it alone. Yeah there's a lot of train traffic. We realize that. We understand that. Having train traffic come through there at 60 miles per hour is completely unacceptable.”

Devils Lake City Leaders and BNSF officials will meet tomorrow at noon at the Devils Lake City Offices.

They will discuss the speed issue. City leaders have also voiced their concerns to North Dakota's congressional delegation and Governor Dalrymple.

Michael Yoshida