State rails on crossings

Mindy Carls

The Illinois Commerce Commission is leaning on Burlington Northern Santa Fe to fix railroad crossings in Orion, village trustees learned on Monday, Sept. 15.

After an ICC official inspected the 10th, 11th and 12th avenue crossings and found loose timbers at each one, Rail Safety Program Administrator Michael Stead wrote a letter to the railroad.

The conditions do not satisfy state requirements, Stead informed Craig Rasmussen, manager of public projects for BNSF.

Stead gave the railroad 30 days to prepare a plan for repairing the problems, which include potholes along the edges of the 10th Avenue crossing.

Sometime before Wednesday, Oct. 8, the village should find out what the railroad plans, Trustee Karl Kane told board members.

“The ICC got back to us in a timely manner, after just one phone call,” said Village President Jim Cooper. He has made many phone calls to railroad officials, who keep passing him on to someone else.

Cooper praised Sewer Superintendent Chris Lundburg, Street Superintendent Neil Dahl, Trustees Mel Drucker, and Robert “Deano” O’Leary and Thom Sederquist, plumber Dan Myers, Orion Fire Chief Larry D. Anderson, Fire Lt. Rob Anderson and numerous volunteer firefighters for their efforts to pump water from manholes during six to eight inches of rain on Saturday, Sept. 13, and on into Sunday, Sept. 14.

“We minimized the adverse impact on the village,” Cooper said. “We owe the fire department big kudos. If they hadn’t helped us, we’d have been fighting a losing battle all day. Their commitment to do what was best for the village did not go unnoticed.”