A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Crossing on Queen to be fixed next week

Written September 23rd, 2022 by Hasso Hering

One of the four tracks at the Queen Avenue crossing on Nov. 22, 2021.

The Queen Avenue railroad crossing, long the bane of Albany motorists because of its extreme bumpiness, is finally going to get fixed starting next week.

To allow the work to go ahead, the crossing will be closed starting Wednesday, Sept. 28, through Sunday, Oct. 2.

The crossing has four tracks. One is the Union Pacific Railroad’s mainline. Trains or the yard engines of the Portland & Western Railroad (PNWR) operate on the other three.

Both the UP and the PNWR will be doing work during the closure. Ron Irish, the citys transportation systems analyst, summarized the plan this way:

— The UP will pull up and reset its mainline track, and this is intended to be a permanent fix.

— The PNWR will pull up the rubber panels between the rails, smooth out the asphalt between its three sets of tracks, and then put asphalt between the rails. No new rubber panels will be installed.

Then, perhaps in two years, the Oregon Department of Transportation will come back with its long-planned “safety project” at the crossing. This involves new gates, new train-warning signs, and an improved crossing for pedestrians.

At the time of the ODOT project, the PNWR tracks will be reset with concrete panels between the rails. The UP track will not have to be rebuilt again.

On its website, the City of Albany has suggested detours when the crossing is closed. Most Albany drivers are familiar with this information. They’ve been using detours when the crossing gates are down for what seems like forever as the PNWR is switching rail cars and building trains.

Drivers have reason to look forward to a smoother rail crossing on this busy street. As for delays, those will continue to annoy impatient drivers as long as there’s switching going on in the Albany yard. (hh)

12 responses to “Crossing on Queen to be fixed next week”

  1. Pat Kight says:

    That’s great news, and it’s about time!

  2. Rick says:

    I’m a little confused because isn’t the Crosing part of the upcoming Queen project that was supposed to begin last June and now is postponed till April 2023 ? According to the letters we received the Quuen project was from the city line to Ferry street

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    Permanent fix? Nothing is “permanent” Natural weathering and use eventually wears things out. Just look at the Oregon coast, rivers, etc.

    • centrist says:

      Read “permanent” as “long term”. There’s an expected life to any project. Not having to fiddle with the thing during that span is considered permanent.

  4. Aaron says:

    I really feel like it’s far past time for a push to find a way to force the switching yard out of town. That Intermodal station got put in just fine, no reason a new switching yard couldn’t be built. We’ll always have lots of trains coming through town and asshole engineers that unnecessarily got hog wild on the horn at night but it would make a world of difference if the yard was gone.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      The “switching” will not end. As Hasso rightly states, it’s “impatient drivers.” that are the problem…

    • Cheryl P says:

      It’s not ‘unnecessary’, it often saves people’s lives. You know, the ones too stupid to look before crossing tracks, or the ones who think they can beat the train. Even though it’s not their fault, it’s still pretty traumatic for the engineer folks get killed.

    • Erik H. says:

      Sure. Genesee & Wyoming, Union Pacific, and the Oregon Department of Transportation eagerly await your donation of 45 acres of prime Linn County farmland, plus the additional $20 million or so to build the railyard, plus a locomotive shop, freight car repair facility, and office space. Please let us know when you have clear title and are ready to submit it for the new rail yard.

      BTW: Those “asshole” engineers are following the law. Don’t like it? I sure know that you are younger than the railroad, so why did you move next to a railroad yard?

  5. The beast says:

    Trains were here long before streets or cars
    They have the right away
    Always go around if you don’t like to wait

  6. Grace says:

    I’m glad they’re working on this. Hasso, have you seen that giant, silver monstrosity recently erected on Hwy 20 between Independence Hwy and Granger? If so, do you think they’re putting in a light? If you’ve already written about this, my apologies. If not, can you? Pretty please and thank you.


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