Too Fast, Too Close for Comfort

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Trains traveling through the area have been criticized over the years for going too slow and holding up traffic.

But now, Texas A&M and College Station say they're moving too fast, and they plan to do something about it.

Union Pacific trains that once traveled at a max of 35 mph can now push 50 mph.

The university says that's too fast.

Chuck Sippial, Vice President for Administration at Texas A&M says they know people will continue to drive around the arms and walk across the tracks. But says returning the speed to 35 mph will make the environment near campus, safer.

The speeds have increased over the summer because of improved track conditions.

The university fears faster trains could potentially equal more accidents or even a derailment.

But Union Pacific says most train accidents occur at speeds below 45 mph. And they say a person is ten times more likely to get struck by lightening than for a train to derail and spill hazardous material.

"Safety figures have shown us that the faster trains operate the less motorists will take chances," says Mark Davis, Union Pacific.

But the new speed breaks a city ordinance that allows the trains in that area to go only 40 mph.

"City ordinances on speed reduction would not apply to the rail industry. But with that said we do go in and work with and listen to concerns of the community," says Davis.

This week university, city and railroad officials will meet to discuss a solution. One that will ensure safety without compromising production.

"We are not in a tug of war with Union Pacific. We want to work with them. We want to get the speed reduced and that's the story," says Sippial.

The city of College Station plans to send a registered letter to Union Pacific objecting the speed increase without being notified first.

The meeting will be at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.