Major railway kicks off amid concerns in Galesburg

GALESBURG, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A major railway construction project kicked off in Galesburg Monday.

Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation are working to improve rail crossings, making it easier for trains to go faster through the city.

Newschannel 3 talked to several people Monday who said they didn't think it was such a good idea.

There's definitely concern in the area, as a number of people told Newschannel 3 Monday that they see kids walking along the tracks too often; now with trains preparing to travel through the city at 100 miles per hour, some say it's a receipe for disaster.

In Galesburg, three railroad crossings are getting a facelift, to make way for Amtrak trains to run at up to 110 miles per hour.

"It's going to be wonderful; you're going to be able to get from Detroit to Chicago in a lot less time, and much more comfortable," said train enthusiast Keith Martin.

But Martin adds that faster trains need to coincide with better education.

"Trains are going 110 miles per hour, they can't stop on a dime to avoid an accident," he said.

Last month, 16-year-old Tyler Beischl was killed by an Amtrak train while walking along the tracks near Galesburg.

Some worry that faster trains will mean more fatal accidents, but Galesburg Police Chief Richard Mau says they're working on plans to keep kids off the tracks.

"We're gonna start working with the schools on various programs, and we are gonna be enforcing the tresspass on railroad property," he said.

But some still contend that 100 miles per hour is too fast.

The crossings are expected to be back open by August 15, with the exception of North Grant Street, where that crossing will be permanently removed.