Road closures leave area officials feeling sidetracked

Courtesy Austin Western Railroad
The above map shows the short line track operated by Austin Western Railroad, including both the line from Llano to Giddings as well as a branch from Fairland to Marble Falls. Recent rail activity has led to delays and closures of roadways in Burnet County and has had an impact on first responders, local officials said.






By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Continued closures of Burnet County highways and roads due to railway activity the past several days has left Burnet County officials feeling “sidetracked.”

It has even prompted Burnet County Judge James Oakley to ask Austin Western Railroad officials for a sitdown at the next Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, July 24, to see what can be done to get the two sides back on the right track.

Meanwhile, Austin Western Railroad officials on Thursday apologized for the delays motorists and first responders experienced and explained what caused them.


No injuries reported in Bertram train derailment

Contributed/Hill Country Tribune

No injuries were reported when a Austin Western Railroad (Watco Companies) train derailed early this morning, April 19, on the west side of Bertram at the intersection of Texas 29 and County Road 252, just across from Johnnie Mae Wheeler Park.

Mechanical failure likely is the reason 22 rail cars and two engines left the tracks at about 1:17 a.m., with an early investigation pointing to a rail breaking, causing the No. 6 boxcar to derail, according to Bertram Police Chief J.J. Wilson. All of the cars were empty, so there was no spill to clean up. Only two engineers were aboard at the time of the incident.

Originally, two crossings in Bertram at Lampasas and West streets were blocked, but they were cleared by 3:45 a.m. Heavy equipment crews were on the scene, working to remove the toppled cars. A repair crew is being called in from Houston to repair the rail, which could take several days.

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