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Railroad committee to meet

November 13, 2011

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A new study committee meets for the first time Thursday to begin considering whether Upton should press for a petition before the federal Surface Transportation Board. The committee was formed, said Town Manager Blythe Robinson, because opinion in town is divided over whether the Grafton & Upton Railroad is subject to state and local supervision when it comes to handling hazardous materials at its Maple Avenue rail yard. Concern has also been raised over hazardous materials stored at the rail yard between its arrival and departure. In what amounts to an inter-board impasse, Robinson acknowledged, the Board of Selectmen believe that the railroad is exempt from state and local oversight, but the Planning Board wants a federal ruling on the matter. The new Railroad Fact Finding Committee, consisting of a selectman, a Planning Board member, a member of the Board of Health, and two residents without an official position in town, will make a recommendation about the petition. - James O’Brien