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BNSF to run test trains on south Lincoln tracks ahead of full service next month
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BNSF to run test trains on south Lincoln tracks ahead of full service next month

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Idle train

A BNSF Railway train sits idle on tracks along Nebraska 2. Dormant for many years, train traffic resumed along the route in south Lincoln earlier this month.

BNSF Railway will be running test trains through south Lincoln next week in preparation for the Arbor Line resuming full service next month.

Beginning Monday, a 40-car train will run nightly from Lincoln to Nebraska City and back on the tracks along Nebraska 2, BNSF spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said in an email. 

On the weekend of Dec. 19-20, a similar-sized train will operate during daylight hours, she said. 

Long-dormant railroad tracks cutting through south Lincoln to see trains again in January

BNSF hopes to use the test trips to both compact the ballast — the gravel or coarse stone used to form the railroad track bed — and to allow crews to get certified on the route, Wallace said. 

Inclement weather or additional track maintenance may push back some test train trips to the week of Dec. 21, she said.

Trains will be operating at reduced speeds during the test trips.

City Hall: Trains along Nebraska 2 will blow horns heading through Lincoln, but railroad officials may study quiet zones

BNSF and the Omaha Public Power District, which owns the tracks east of the 56th Street and Old Cheney Road intersection, announced this summer they would resume use of the Arbor Line for the first time in 17 years. 

BNSF coal trains will service the utility's Nebraska City power plant, and officials expect a train to run out and back on the tracks daily beginning in January. 

In Lincoln, the tracks cross several busy corridors, including 14th, 27th, 40th, and 48th streets; 56th and Old Cheney Road; Pine Lake Road; 70th and 84th streets; and Yankee Hill Road.

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Local government reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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