MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Residents in a rural Montgomery County neighborhood say for years they have dealt with a train blocking the only entrance to their neighborhood. A problem they say has been reported to CSX.
“For a long time we have been unheard down here,” said resident Shanteria Langford. “We complain all the time, all the time, because that problem was nonstop.”
The blockage has some neighbors concerned about what might happen to them if there was an emergency.
On Tuesday, resident Veronica Rogers said, “One time it stayed on the track eight hours. If you get sick, the ambulance can’t come get you, you just going to die. My father is 93 years old. He’s old. He may die because he can’t get over the track to the hospital.”
The crossing at the intersection of Alexander Road and Ashley Road falls just outside of the city of Montgomery’s and Pike Road’s police jurisdiction. District 5 Montgomery County Commissioner Doug Singleton said he has been in contact with CSX and they have come up with some solutions.
“What’s happening is they are loading sand right across the county line, therefore the back end of the train is here blocking the tracks,” said Singleton. “It’s a longer train, so they’re going to go to a shorter train which should alleviate the problem.”
Singleton says a shorter train to prevent blockage is a solution CSX has had in the works.
CSX released this statement Friday about the crossing:
"CSX constantly evaluates our operating plan to provide the safest, most efficient service. Our decision to change our operating plan was made prior to this news story, and does include shorter trains to serve the customer at this location, which should minimize disruptions to the community."
Singleton said there could be a possibility that a longer train comes through in the future. If that happens and there is an emergency, he urges residents to call CSX's emergency hotline at 1-800-232-0144.
“If there is an emergency and the train is blocking the road, [CSX] will immediately dispatch people out from the train,” said Singleton. ”The engineer will come and unhook the cars and open up access to the neighborhood.”
Singleton also said they are working on is making sure CSX is in contact with the county’s emergency agencies. This way if there is an emergency, CSX can know ahead of time to prevent a train from even coming.
“For example, if there is a fire or something inside of this neighborhood, [CSX] will be contacted and know that there is an emergency, there is a fire here, and they will stop the trains from coming.”
Singleton said if there is a problem and it’s not an emergency to call the Montgomery County commission or give Singleton a call at 334-300-0790.
“I wanna commend CSX for stepping up,” said Singleton. “They want to be a good corporate citizen and they want to make sure everyone is not inconvenienced while they continue to perform the duties they have for the customers.”
“Hopefully this doesn’t keep being a problem,” said Langford. “I appreciate you guys taking your time to come out here and listen to us and help us find a solution.”