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Train volume increases in area due to flooding in Iowa

June 30, 2008

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

If it seems like there are a lot more trains going through, that’s because there are.

With the flooding in Iowa, the Ottumwa Subdivision, which travels east and west through southern Iowa, is still under water, according to BNSF Railways spokesperson Steve Forsberg.

Since June 14, many of the trains that would normally go through Iowa have been rerouted along the Wayzata Subdivision, which runs parallel to Highway 12.

On average, there are between nine and 12 trains in a 24-hour period, Forsberg noted from 2007 reports.

Forsberg is unaware of the number of trains being rerouted through the area, but train traffic is “substantially above” what the area is used to seeing.

A person may also notice more trains carrying coal. The Iowa route is a heavy coal route, making the Wayzata Subdivision a “very needed alternate lifeline,” Forsberg said, explaining the coal is used to generate electricity.

Though the waters are receding in Iowa, the Iowa railway is “very much a work-in-progress,” Forsberg said.

The tracks underwater will need to be inspected and repaired before train traffic can be routed through that portion of Iowa, for which a time could not be determined, according to Forsberg.

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