Online railroading forums and social media were buzzing recently after Norfolk Southern Corporation petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration to reduce capacity on the Fort Wayne Line, which runs through Richland County.
The line runs in a northwest to southeast direction through Lucas and Mansfield; to the east it runs to Wooster and Alliance, and to the west to Bucyrus.
The petition, filed on March 20, calls for removal of approximately 32.6 miles of double track main line and converting the same into single signaled bi-directional track. The reason shared for this change is “line rationalization and system improvement.”
The net result will be a patchwork of single and double track along the line west of Alliance, with the longest single stretch of remaining double main line being 14 miles in length. A visual overview of the Fort Wayne line can be found on this page of the Norfolk Southern website.
It is not known what impact this will have on train traffic through Mansfield, however it is likely to result in a decrease in certain types of rail cars, including those carrying oil. The Fort Wayne line currently carries trains which cannot make it through other clogged rail arteries, so the wider impact on rail service is also unknown.
Comments on the petition can be filed with Federal Railroad Administration through the following methods before May 26:
Website: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: Docket Operations Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.
Hand Delivery: 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.