Fewer blocked crossings promised

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BNSF double train engine in Benson, MN

For well over a year Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway has been working to install automatic switching gear on the tracks that run through Benson. The goal was to eliminate the need for manual switching – requiring a person to physically throw the switch – a process that slowed down how quickly trains could move through the community.

Last week Amy McBeth, with BNSF public affairs, informed City Manager Rob Wolfington that it was putting its new power switch into operation in Benson.
“This means that trains can pass through town and won’t have to stop and hand throw the switch,” she told him in an email. “It should help to reduce the time trains are there and alleviate some of the issues we’ve had there with motorists trying to traverse the crossings.”

Trains will continue to block the three downtown Benson crossings, however. The long stretch of double tracks through the city provides BNSF trains headed in opposite directions with a place to pass each other.

Train movements that require dropping off cars also can lead to blocked tracks.

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