2017-12-13 / Opinion

Norfolk Southern Must Be Mindful Of Blocked Crossings

Commerce.

Commerce is defined as the exchange of goods between one location and another.

Whether it’s apples to Albany, plastics to Poughkeepsie, butter to Baltimore, or furniture from Archbold to Ft. Lauderdale, goods must move.

There are several modes of transportation for the movement of goods, but in Archbold, it’s two: trucks and trains.

Archbold knows all about trains. Trains in Archbold have been a fact of life since about the time Archbold began.

Commerce rolls on the rails, passing through Archbold at a rate of about 100 trains a day. The tracks through Archbold are a main line from Chicago to points west.

Just as trains carry commerce to, from, and through Archbold, so do trucks. Hundreds of trucks every day use St. Rt. 66 (Defiance Street) and St. Rt. 2 (Stryker Street). Trucks must roll to keep commerce flowing.

It is when one stops another that problems begin.

When the Norfolk Southern railroad stops a train in Archbold so it blocks the crossings, it not only stops the train from delivering its load in a timely fashion, it also stops and delays the trucks that are just as important.

A train blocking the Defiance Street crossing creates backlogs and delays. It creates inconvenience, and if there is an ambulance, fire truck, or police car that must get through, it creates danger.

Norfolk Southern has policies and procedures in place to ease the tension between trains and traffic. One is for crews to cut, or break, a train at a crossing if it will sit there 10 to 15 minutes or more.

But so many times, we have seen trains block the crossing for hours: once, for 18 hours. Last Friday, Dec. 8, it was an hour before the train crew opened the crossing, and only for a few minutes. Then the train was recoupled and the crossing was blocked again, for another hour.

The NS policy on clearing crossings can go a long way to avoiding delays for trucks and allowing commerce to flow. But that policy only works if crews follow the rule and break the trains.

Isn’t it time for NS to solve the problem?

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