CSX may run trains through town to retrieve cars east of O’Fallon

O’FALLON – You may see trains temporarily using the track running through O’Fallon soon, following a decision by the Federal Railroad Administration to allow CSX to remove the cars stored in Aviston and Shattuc.

CSX’s petition was recently granted, granting the company the ability to operate during daytime hours at speeds not exceeding ten miles per hour, with flaggers and CSX police at every grade crossing.

According to local train expert Steven Gilroy, “You can expect a minimum of two movements through time – one with only engines to go retrieve the cars, and then the other returning later with the cars.  Or perhaps four if they wish to divide it into smaller sections, but anything more than that would seem doubtful to me.”  

Gilroy went on to tell the Weekly that he anticipates the eastbound operation will take place early in the morning to avoid having the train stranded in Shattuc since CSX is limited to daytime operations. 

“Since union agreements require any train crews operating on this line to come from Vincennes, Indiana, it would be a needlessly-expensive operation to bring an additional crew in for the next day. Incidentally, that is why the previous movement took so long.  The train stalled coming from Caseyville and they had to wait to get a new crew from Vincennes to power the helper units which ran behind it up the hill. And then the crew ran out of time farther east, and again, had to wait for a relief crew,” Gilroy explained.

Gilroy speculates that the removal of the train cars in Aviston and Shattuc may be related to a possible sale of the line. 

“You may have noticed recent hi-rail activity again, including an inspection which rolled through midday on [November 26, 2018]. A few months ago, CSX led a series of hi-rail tours for other railroads which are interested in acquiring the line, as well.  The current impetus to remove the cars may purely be for scrap value, though the timing of this, the tours, and CSX’s recent plans to review the line for sale, could suggest we may see new activity on the line soon,” Gilroy said. 

CSX cuts line at Caseyville… again

CASEYVILLE – The CSX train line running through Caseyville and into O’Fallon to the east was recently cut again by the company, signaling a halt to train traffic along the track.

Earlier this past May, O’Fallon residents were surprised to see a train slowly coming though town after the track had been cut and service suspended in August 2015. At the time CSX had indicated they were planning to store empty train cars along the line and that the train that came through town was hauling close to 300 cars to be stored further east.

City officials in O’Fallon expressed their frustration regarding the lack of notice by CSX about the train to the Illinois Commerce Commission, which regulates train travel in the state.

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CSX running trains along O’Fallon line, plans to store empty cars along track

City officials notify CSX they do not want unused train cars stored within city limits

The train rolls by the intersection of East First Street and South Smiley Street Saturday morning. (Photo by Brian Keller)

O’FALLON – The ongoing saga of what will happen to the train line running through O’Fallon took a surprising turn Saturday morning when a train rolled through at approximately 7:30 a.m.
The tracks, which have been closed since August 2015, had been cut at Caseyville and Flora. It has since been put in place and restored at those two locations. However, there are still diamonds that were removed in Shattuc, in Clinton County, and Odin, in Marion County, preventing the track from being fully used.

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CSX, District 90 host seminar for area teachers to learn about executive function skills

Teachers from around the area attended the seminar hosted by CSX and District 90. (O'Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

Teachers from around the area attended the seminar hosted by CSX and District 90. (O’Fallon Weekly Photo by Angela Simmons)

O’FALLON – Recently, CSX granted funds for District 90 to host a seminar for teachers about executive function skills, which took place on Friday. The seminar, which was also sponsored by South Western Illinois Speech, Language and Hearing Association, featured guest lecturer Sarah Ward, MS CCC-SLP. Ward provides consultation and expert witness testimony regarding the symptoms and functional presentation of deficits associated with brain based learning disabilities and the appropriateness of academic placement and treatment programs.

Ward became a specialist in the assessment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury with an emphasis on the treatment of executive functions. She then began to train graduate students in speech and language pathology, medical and special education professionals on the symptoms and treatment methods to improve the language, cognitive, executive function and social skills of brain based disorders. Ward has visited school districts across the country to help educate them about executive function skills and deficits.

Guest Lecturer Sarah Ward

Guest Lecturer Sarah Ward

Executive functioning skills include organization, time management, situational intelligence and future thinking.

“It can occur in conjunction with ADHD, traumatic brain injuries, and Aspergers, but it doesn’t have to. We’re seeing an increase of students with executive functioning disorder, and thought it would be good to get some better tools for helping them. Sarah’s research and treatment is cutting edge,” said Jami Bossart, a Speech Language Pathologist with District 90 who organized the seminar.

The seminar brought teachers, counselors and speech therapists together from all over the Metro East. They were taught various mechanisms to help boost executive functioning skills, including using apps like Skitch, Strip Design and SnapChat to have students picture map for success, and MobileNotes for older students that are able to utilize checklists. Ward also mentioned using Future Glasses, and having a model desk set up for students at the end of the day. The glasses would help students visualize what they need to do, and the model desk would show them what they need to take home or for a certain activity, rather than pointing out students who may or may not have what they need.

Bossart said that on November 8, while children are off school for a teacher in service day, the plan is for those that attended the seminar to share the knowledge they gained with the rest of the faculty.

Lex White, manager of CSX, was introduced to the group and called “the founder of the feast” by Bossart.

Lex White, manager of CSX & President of the O'Fallon Rotary Club

Lex White, manager of CSX & President of the O’Fallon Rotary Club

“I know a lot of you and I see some familiar faces. My wife and I are parents of a child with executive functioning issues, and I can’t tell you how blessed we’ve been to be a part of this community and be as well taken care of as we have been over the years. There are other people outside of the area that we’ve done therapy with and when I watch the difference, I look at my soon and think of what he was like then and what he’s like now. They told me that there’s about 200 people here, and what I’m really thinking of 20,000 or more people’s lives that you all change with what you do. The amount of people we’ve been able to touch for the amount of money we’ve been able to give makes the decision for CSX to be involved very easy. God Bless every one of you,” White said.

White also told the group to reach out to him and share success stories.

For more information on executive functioning skills and tools, visit Ward’s website at efpractice.com.