Stopped in their tracks

Trains cause SHS students to be late to school


Andrew Tapp

The train tracks on Southport Road on Friday, Feb. 24. Trains run through at all times of the day and have been known to make students late to school.

David Worland, Reporter

After walking up the steps to get onto bus 1215 on a dark morning, already annoyed at the thought of going to school, sophomore Jadynn Matthews only wanted a smooth ride. However, after the bus pulled out onto East Stop 11 Road, her hopes of a smooth ride were stopped dead in their tracks after a train began passing by in front of the bus. After the bus had sat for five minutes, the train stopped altogether. By the time the train began to move again, it had caused Matthews and the others on her bus to arrive to school late.

“It honestly just annoys me,” Matthews said. “I know it’s going to make me late and I can’t afford to be running late to all of my classes.”

Matthews, however, is just one among a crowd of disgruntled students and parents who have encountered the morning trains and have been late to work or school because of them. However, according to Thomas Vaughn, Chief of Police at the Southport Police Department, changes that will have a positive effect on the area are coming soon.

The train, which starts in Louisville, runs through the Southport area and ends up in Chicago, is owned by the Chessie-Seaboard company. That company and the owner of the Louisville and Indiana Railroad have recently begun working together to create improvements on the tracks.

“They’re redoing all of the tracks from Louisville to Chicago,” Vaughn said. “They’re also adding 100 more cars to the train.”

While Vaughn says he understands how that may be concerning to some, he also said that the trains, which typically go about 25 mph, will soon be upping their speed to 50 mph. According to Vaughn, the reason the trains are going faster is not only because they are carrying more cargo, but also due to the tracks being changed to what is called a straight rail. Straight rails are solid welded and have no bolts to hold them down.

Along with an increased rate of speed, the tracks are also becoming more of a straight rail because, according to Vaughn, it will make the passing of the train more quiet.

Construction on the tracks to institute this change will happen sometime around the end of July and early Aug. According to Vaughn, this will not add to a longer wait time because the straight rails only take one day to install. The L&I Railroad is also working to clear out trees and debris causing visibility restrictions along an inclined road that is crossed by railroad tracks at the peak, in response to complaints brought up by community members. Vaughn went on to say that he believes these changes are what’s best for the community.  

“People don’t like change,” Vaughn said. “…But I think once they see it, when it’s moving faster and it’s quieter, they’ll see the upside.”