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Upton Railroad Question and Answer Web Page Created

Upton town officials are continuing efforts to help keep residents informed and educated on the Grafton-Upton Railroad. Most recently, a new question and answer page on the railroad was posted on the home page of the town's Web site at www.upton.ma.us.

According to Town Manager Blythe Robinson, she and Fire and EMS Chief Ron Goodale were discussing the possibility of the Q & A and brought the suggestion to the Board of Selectmen, who agreed it would be a good idea. The new Web site page answers the most frequently asked questions from residents concerning the railroad. "Some people perceived there wasn't a response from the town," explained Robinson regarding the need for it.

Although Robinson oversees the new Q & A page, she said a number of other town departments, including the Board of Health, the Fire Department, and the Police Department are involved to fact check answers that are posted. Railroad personnel also have input.

Questions covered touch on federal regulations, pre-emptive status, hazardous chemicals, safety precautions, emergency response plans, and the Railroad Fact Finding Committee, among others. Certain definitions are also clarified.

Additionally, the Q & A includes several links that direct residents to letters and reports from such agencies as the Department of Environmental Protection and Town Counsel relating to various actions and inspections of the railroad that have taken place. "This shows that we have been out there. We do respond. We are aware of what's going on," said Robinson.

Robinson added that the intention of the Q & A is not to attempt to sway residents' opinions of the railroad but purely to keep them informed. Anyone who has a new question concerning the railroad should email it to Robinson at brobinson@upton.ma.us.

The Q & A is just one of several steps taken to make certain residents are kept up to date on the railroad. On November 1, the Board of Selectmen brought in Staff Director of the Hazardous Materials Division for the Federal Railroad Administration William Schoonover to help educate and answer questions from residents concerning how the Grafton-Upton Railroad is regulated. The Board also formed a Railroad Fact Finding Committee made up of Planning Board member Gary Bohan, who will serve as Chair; Board of Health member Richard Desjardins, who will serve as Vice Chair; and Selectmen Ken Picard, who will serve as Clerk. In addition, two Upton residents will also serve on the Committee. Those who are interested include Marsha Paul, Diana Delgrosso, Peggy Laneri, and Bill Taylor. The two resident committee members are expected to be selected at the next meeting after all have been interviewed. The Fact Finding Committee is charged with researching the operations of the railroad activity in Upton, specifically as to how it impacts public safety and health concerns of the community.




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