Stalled Train Gives First Responders No Choice

Stalled Train Gives First Responders No Choice

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Traffic may be moving smoothly now over these train tracks at Navco Road, but Friday, pre-rush hour traffic was at a standstill for at least two hours.

Corinne Graddick was one of those stuck on Navco Road trying to get home around 3:00 pm when she came up to a train stopped on the tracks and blocking traffic.

"It was backed up probably a good half mile and I had already, been about 30 minutes had been blocked because of how far back I was," says Graddick.

For those living in the neighborhoods on the other side of the tracks, there was only the one way in and out.

"Very frustrating cause it's kind of like, ok, do you turn around and leave and try to go to a friend's and go somewhere or, you keep feeling like any minute surely it's going to open up."

The CSX train had been abandoned on that stretch of railroad because the conductor or engineer had reached 12 hours on the job and it's a federal offense for them to work for more than that at a time. After that, they are federally obligated to stop the train where ever they are. While the stopped train was not blocking traffic, a train that had come up behind it was. Not only causing inconveniences to drivers, but a worrisome hurdle for first responders.

"The only means we have is to call the rail line and get them to either move the train either forwards or backwards, whichever is easiest for them so that we can get across," says Steve Huffman with Mobile Fire Rescue.

Meanwhile folks who live in and around the area just want a solution.

"It's been going on for many years, and what kind of tragedy is it going to take?" says Graddick.

Luckily there were no emergency calls from that area Friday afternoon. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, a train must avoid blocking a public crossing longer than 10 minutes. So after 10 minutes, they are supposed to cut the crossing and allow traffic through. Graddick says they could easily build a bridge to connect the road to dauphin island parkway and keep things moving that way.

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