Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway will increase train speeds through the Creek Subdivision, a section of track between Madill and Tulsa that runs through Ada, beginning Monday.
Train speeds currently vary on the line through Ada, with an average speed of about 25 mph. But the speed will go up to about 40 mph starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday.
“The planned speed increase would not necessarily mean that all trains would travel at a higher speed, but I wanted to make you aware of the upcoming change,” public affairs director Joe Sloan said in a Nov. 1 notice to officials with the city of Ada, Ada City Schools and the Chickasaw Nation.
Sloan said the Federal Railroad Administration has set the maximum speed limits at Ada crossings at either 45 mph or 55 mph, depending on the crossing. He said an FRA report indicated that 20 of Ada’s 24 crossings had speed limits of 55 mph, while four crossings had maximum speeds of 45 or 50 mph.
The increased speeds through Ada are due to recent track work, which allows trains to travel at speeds up to 40 mph, Sloan said.
“This change will affect all grade crossings through Ada and the Chickasaw Nation on the Creek Subdivision but will in no way compromise safety,” he said.
Sloan added that FRA speed limits vary across the creek subdivision and throughout the network.
Train speeds on spurs and sidings off the main line will remain low, and the increased speed will affect trains passing through Ada on the main line in both directions.
The higher speeds will reduce wait times at public crossings, but people should remember that trains cannot stop quickly, Sloan said. He added that people should be aware of rail traffic at all times and obey all grade-crossing laws for everyone’s safety.
Sloan said whenever BNSF increases train speeds, the circuits for active crossing warning devices are modified so drivers will have the same amount of advance warning when a train approaches. He also said faster trains will clear crossings more quickly, potentially reducing traffic congestion.