London Ontario - Discussions on how to solve the Talbot Street bridge truck can opener dilemma have morphed into a push to possibly change the way Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) trains run through London.
City staff have already said moving the tracks would be too expensive, but the civic works committee is now asking them to appeal to CP and Canadian National Railway (CN) to share rail lines that already exist within the city.
While the Talbot Street underpass has plagued inattentive truck drivers for years, discussions on potentially moving the tracks really started to heat up amid debate over bus rapid transit (BRT).
It was eventually scrapped due to the cost but staff initially proposed running a BRT tunnel under Richmond Row to avoid the level rail crossing, which will delay BRT buses unless city hall can find another solution.
During Wednesday's committee meeting, Coun. Bill Armstrong said the city should lobby the federal government to support moving CP trains onto CN tracks.
When Armstrong first pitched the idea earlier this month, staff expressed doubts CP and CN would be on board based on previous conversations.
However, staff agreed to give the negotiations another shot during Wednesday's committee meeting.
Staff hope to report back to city politicians with an update on those talks this fall.
They also received the information regarding the Talbot Street underpass, but staff have previously said physically moving the tracks would cost billions of dollars.
Coun. Phil Squire hopes staff will be able to bring an end to further suggestions that the city move the tracks.
"If we spend the next eight years talking about it and we're not doing the other things that we can do, which is the Adelaide underpass, looking at Richmond, then we're going to be in the same spot in eight years and people are going to be standing up in a meeting going, why don't you move the tracks?" Squire said.
"So when do we get the definitive, stamp it, we've tried it, we've talked to them, and it's not going to happen, or has that already happened?"
Roughly half a dozen trucks strike the Talbot Street underpass each year.
Back on 20 Aug 2015 the city added enhanced warning signage around the underpass.
There are currently four signs cautioning drivers heading south on Talbot Street, and nine signs cautioning drivers heading north.
A report from city staff suggests raising the problematic bridge would require the construction of a new train bridge spanning Oxford Street and the Thames River, while lowering Talbot would jeopardize the underpass's stability and hamper utilities below ground.
OKthePK Joint Bar Editor: Perhaps some sort of "telltails" device would work. You remember telltails don't you? Those series of ropes that were once dangled over the track before obstructions, such as a tunnel or low bridge, to warn employees riding on the roofwalk of freight cars.