Concerns rising over railroad crossings

Posted at 11:24 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-07 06:57:19-04

Residents who live near railroad crossings say trains are constantly blocking intersections for long periods of time, causing major inconvenience and raising safety concerns.

As far as enforcement is concerned, city officials tell us while they were once able to write tickets for trains stopped longer than five to seven minutes, today, they no longer have the authority to do so because of a change in the law.

The trains stopping in their tracks bring neighborhoods to a full stop several times a day.

Mike Mallot lives down the street from a railroad crossing in Plymouth. He says CSX trains can stop on the tracks for up to 45 minutes at a time – backing traffic up for miles.

And, he’s got pictures to prove it.

He’s right. We checked with Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. They tell us stopped railroad trains have contributed to tardiness at the school – so much so that they have excused lateness for students and staff because of it.

Take a look at in the report above at surveillance video from a Speedway on North Mill.
On this day, its 9:25 in the morning, more than 10 minutes go by and cars are still at a standstill.

City officials from both Canton and Plymouth say they’ve been getting ongoing complaints.

In fact, in Plymouth, emergency crews have had to come up with a plan, just in case there’s a fire or catastrophe during blocked intersections.

We’ve learned trains on the tracks have affected response times it the past.

Aimee Melow lives in Canton and says she’s seen trains stopped for more than an hour - sometimes several. She too has taken pictures showing the gridlock.

And what happens when people know the train is coming and don’t want to wait because they don’t want to be late? Drivers try to beat the train.

The Federal Railroad Association says you should never do that.

A spokesperson from Washington D.C. tells us trains blocking intersections is an increasing problem - primarily due to insufficient infrastructure as our population grows.

We also contacted CSX about their trains.

They tell us they are aware of the issues Plymouth and Canton are having and are in the process of making infrastructure improvements which will, “mitigate both the number of blocked crossings as well as the time delays associated with them.”

They say the long stops have mainly been due to operational changes in the route, as well as brake checks – which requires staff to walk the length of the train.

Their statement goes on to say, "The line is important to the entire region to balance the safe delivery of commerce, and CSX is committed to working toward limiting the impact of our operations in the area.

People who live and work by these railroad crossings are hoping to see a change soon.

CSX says if you have concerns about blocked crossings or any of their railroad operations, they want to hear from you. Call them at 877-835-5297.

If it’s a different railroad train company you see blocking intersections, or you have additional concerns, you can also contact the Federal Railroad Association.

Complete Federal Railroad Association statement:

When crossings are frequently blocked for an unreasonable amount of time, we encourage citizens to contact our regional safety offices to let us know. FRA works with communities and the railroads to find a solution, especially when emergency access is a concern.

Our complaint form is on the main page of our website,, middle of the page on the right, under the “How Do I…?” Heading.  Or, direct link here.  Or, phone numbers for our regional offices can be located by selecting “contact us” at the top of the main page, and select “regional offices” on the right side.  Direct link here.

Complete CSX statement:

Safety is our  highest priority and we encourage residents who have concerns about blocked crossings, or any aspect of our railroad operations, to report these to our TellCSX system at 877-TellCSX (877-835-5297) or online through

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to the community.