Stopped trains blocking railroad crossings

Posted at 4:30 AM, Jun 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-01 07:57:54-04

LOCKLAND, Ohio -- Stopped trains are tying up the Village of Lockland for hours at a time, several times a day, according to Mayor Mark Mason.

Some of the trains stretch 2 miles or longer, and the entire village is just 1.2 square miles.

"Our biggest concern is, of course, we have children climbing under and over these stopped trains," Mason said. 

It's not just Lockland. Stopped trains are becoming more and more of an issue in Reading, Arlington Heights, Glendale, Wyoming, St. Bernard, Sharonville and Evendale. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has a list of more than 200 blocked crossing complaints since November, including many from the Cincinnati area. Click here to report a blocked crossing.

Businesses have been impacted. Evendale Mayor Richard Finan said a local business owner told him their employees are frequently late because of the trains. 

First responders are also affected.

"We can't get our EMS, our fire department, our police services across the tracks," Mason said.

When a reporter recently came across a stopped train, it took about 15 minutes before it started moving. And we can't say how long it was sitting there before that. 

Norfolk Southern operates many of the trains. In a statement, the company said they are "aware of the communities' concerns about trains blocking crossings." They said they're "are making adjustments in ... operations to try to hold trains out of these communities at times when rail traffic in the Cincinnati area becomes overly congested" and working with another train operator, CSX, "to better coordinate train movements through the communities north of Cincinnati."

Cities can issue citations against the railroads, but the railroads don't have to pay them. There are no federal laws on the books regulating how long trains can sit on the tracks.