Austin Western Railroad


Railroad blocks US 281 days after meeting

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

Burnet Bulletin

Apologetic Austin Western Railroad officials promised Burnet County commissioners on July 24 they would put in place measures to prevent trains from blocking busy intersections for longer than 15 minutes after several incidents which took place last month.

However, just two days after receiving assurances the problem would be resolved, it happened again as a train blocked US 281 Thursday afternoon, July 26, for nearly half an hour, a situation Burnet County Judge James Oakley and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr. have called “unacceptable.”

“At about 4 p.m., we look up and our phones start ringing with claims from residents that US 281 was closed for 25 to 30 minutes,” Oakley said. “I know that on the north side of the track, it was backed up all the way to the intersection of US 281 and Park Road 4, which I would guess to be about three miles or so.


Road closures have county officials feeling sidetracked

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 in train derailment west of Bertram

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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