Brenham Considers Closing Railroad Crossings

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Railway companies are asking some cities to look at closing certain railroad crossings as a way to reduce liability. Calvert decided last year to close one crossing in town and now Brenham is considering it.

When a train races through Brenham, it passes over 11 crossings. But, the Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe Railway has asked the city council to consider closing two of them.

"Whenever something like this comes along you're always a little bit reluctant to give up something that you already have," said Brenham Public Works Director Doug Baker.

Baker said the city is looking at abandoning crossings on Vulcan and Second streets.

If Brenham closes one crossing, the railway will upgrade two existing crossings and give the city $30,000. Yet, if two are closed, the railway will fix up three existing crossings and hand Brenham $60,000.

While the city is currently making budget cutbacks, Baker said considering the closures is not about the money.

"The city wants public input. Brenham is sending out letters to residents who live near the crossings, letting them know about the situation.

Rose Graves lives one house away from the crossing on Vulcan.

"I wouldn't want it blocked off completely and therefore we'd have to go all the way around. Oh no, we want to keep that," said Graves.

On the other hand, some feel it won't make much of a difference.

"I think it would be okay. There's a lot of crossings here. There's like two or three of them down here so like closing one or two wouldn't be that big of a deal," said resident Teresa Moudly.

"If somebody comes forward with a real compelling case, it's going to hurt their business or something like that, then the crossings shouldn't be closed I think the council would recognize that and not close them," said Baker.

Baker said if either of the two crossings are closed, there are alternate routes in and out of the neighborhood.

The Brenham city council will hold a public hearing on this issue Thursday at 1 p.m.