Passing trains go silent soon

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Work on downtown Kilgore’s new quiet zone is “100 percent complete” and the project has passed inspection by Union Pacific Railroad.

When the change goes into effect for three railroad crossings in mid-May, it will be three-and-a-half years since Kilgore City Council members OK’d the project, a complicated process of design, approvals, construction and completion of efforts undertaken predominantly by city crews with contractor assistance.

Kilgore City Manager Josh Selleck updated council members on the end-of-the-line update April 30.

“We should be ‘quiet’ on May 15,” he wrote in a biweekly report to the elected officials. UP has not yet definitely confirmed the timing.

Part of the project included removing the Danville Street railroad crossing entirely, one the railroad already planned to eliminate more than three years ago. UP gave the city a $50,000 credit for voluntarily cutting the at-grade crossing.

The remaining crossings in the zone include Main Street, Lantrip and Southport Road. Construction at these spots included adding additional safety measures (such as new curbs and more signage) to best-ensure drivers are unable to cross the tracks as a train approaches and pedestrians are well aware to heed the flashing lights and barricades at the tracks.

Catherine Blankenship, owner and operator of Mustang Cat’s at the intersection of Main Street and North Street, said she’s very pleased to hear the quiet zone will be in effect soon, dampening the noise stylists, customers and visitors have to endure numerous times throughout the day.

“We like it. I know a lot of people like to hear the train,” she allowed, but dozens of times in the workday is rough: “It is pretty loud right where we’re at, and they’re so often coming through. I think it’s going to be nice.

“We’ve talked about that with clients – everybody’s been asking when it’s going to go through. That’s very handy, especially with the nature of our business. I think it will be very nice, especially for the restaurants next door and with the concerts they have; that will be more pleasant.”

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