Discussion about rail road crossings along the Pan Am Railways line and the impact on neighborhoods from train whistles.
Action: No Council action is anticipated.
Note: An updated presentation (V1) was posted on August 22.
Town staff, including Theo Holtwijk, Nathan Poore and Police Chief Edward Tolan, along with the Town of Cumberland, have been working with a consultant, Wayne Duffett, to explore options for the Council to consider regarding the safety of the rail road crossings along the Pan Am Raiways line.
There are four crossings in Falmouth including crossings on Blackstrap Road, Falmouth Road, Field Road and Woodville Road. There is one other crossing on a private road, Muirfield Road/Birkdale Road, which impacts Falmouth residents, but is located in Cumberland. Two crossings, Blackstrap and Falmouth Roads, are currently located in what is called a "Quiet Zone" (QZ). These zones were previously created and approved by the Federal Railroad Authority (FRA). QZ are only allowed if there are adequate supplemental safety measures in place that will ensure similar or greater safety related conditions than reliance on the train whistle. The new Downeaster extension of service from Portland to Brunswick will add rail traffic to the crossings and the rail upgrade will allow freight trains to travel at higher speeds. Most crossings
will have upgrades paid for by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), operator of the Downeaster. However, these improvements will not be enough to either maintain QZ at Blackstrap and Falmouth Roads or add QZ to Field and Woodville Roads.
There are some options or supplemental safety measures that could be added to these crossings to maintain or add a QZ in Falmouth. Staff will provide an overview, through a PowerPoint presentation (see attached), that will explain more about this issue and possible options for the Council to consider.
An informational meeting (to be confirmed) is being scheduled with FRA officials for September 19th in Cumberland Town Hall. This meeting will be a joint meeting of the Cumberland and Falmouth Town Councils and is another opportunity for the public and the Council to be informed about all aspects of this matter.