Galesburg shows Boulder, CO how to handle trains

Former editor of the Daily Camera shares how Galesburg handles train after train through town.

Excerpt from the Boulder Daily Camera:

This fall I spent almost three months as a visiting professor of journalism at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. While away from home, I saw occasional stories and letters on DailyCamera.com about progress on the plan to run passenger trains to and through Boulder.

Galesburg is a railroad town, so I had a lot of exposure to trains on my visit. As much as I love trains — and I’ve made sort of a hobby of traveling on them — trains make noise and they block traffic. And I wonder if Boulder is ready for that inconvenience.

Galesburg has 35 grade crossings within the city and its City Council has approved spending $76,000 to start what they call a “very long process” of three to five years, trying to hush the train whistles, establishing “quiet zones” in the city. The city and the business community are also trying to obtain state funds to build overpasses for at least three grade crossings where traffic on state highways passing through town is routinely blocked. BNSF Railroad is also the city’s largest employer, which further complicates the issue.

The old Santa Fe tracks and Burlington Northern tracks meet and cross in Galesburg and form five to eight subdivision tracks, depending how you count.

There are so many trains that trainwatching hobbyists vacation or even retire here. One of my students found a local resident who bought a second house by the tracks just so he could go there to watch trains during the day (it helps that houses are much cheaper there than in Boulder).