Federal Railroad Administration wants to hear from you about stopped trains

The agency is accepting public comment. The FRA wants information about how blocked trains impact drivers, first responders and even businesses.

Posted: Jun 20, 2019 3:48 PM
Updated: Jun 21, 2019 9:41 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - It's more than an inconvenience. It's a major safety concern. Blocked railroad tracks keep you from where you're going and can keep first responders from getting to you in an emergency. Now, the Federal Railroad Administration wants to hear from you about the problems you encounter at the tracks.

There are no federal laws to regulate slow or stopped trains. The Federal Railroad Administration wants to know about the problem facing people across the country, and right here in the Wabash Valley.

The agency is accepting public comment. The FRA wants information about how blocked trains impact drivers, first responders and even businesses. The FRA is accepting comments through August 13th.

People in Terre Haute say blocked crossings remain a persistent problem.

Terre Haute Fire Department Assistant Chief Norm Loudermilk says, "We're really facing the same problem everybody else is and yes, it's a safety issue."

Resident Art Blankenship says, "I don't know what regular people can do, you know? Like me, what do you do? We just try to do what we have to do and get by."

The railroad crossing near Art Blankenship's home in Terre Haute was clear Thursday morning but he says trains can sit there for hours most nights.

Blankenship says, "Three nights this week, when I've come home, the train was there. I know one time it was there for over two hours. I don't know how long it had been there when I got there."

LINK | MAN SAYS BLOCKED RAILROAD CROSSING KEEPS HIM FROM GETTING IN AND OUT OF HIS DRIVEWAY

News 10 first introduced you to Blankenship in February 2018. That’s when he told us about the time his wife needed an ambulance but a blocked crossing kept first responders away. Blankenship says he had to drive through a muddy field to get her to help.

Now, more than a year later, Blankenship says he is still driving through that same field to get around stopped trains. He says CSX has stopped responding to his calls for help.

Blankenship says, "The guy that you {News 10’s Heather Good} gave me the number, I called him several times and he doesn't answer my calls anymore. I text him but it doesn't make any difference."

LINK | STOPPED TRAINS STILL AN ISSUE, LAW ENFORCEMENT OPTIONS LIMITED

Blankenship keeps track of the stopped trains and says he'll be going online to give the Federal Railroad Administration his input.

Blankenship says, "I'm not sure that they really care. So far, the train people have not. Railroad, evidently, is above the law. Always was. Hopefully, won't always be."

You can provide your input by clicking here.

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