2018-10-10 / Front Page

Downtown Crossing Blocked For Seven Hours

Train Crew Member Has Family Emergency


The lights flash on the crossing gate on the north side of the Defiance Street Norfolk Southern railroad crossing. The crossing was blocked for seven hours, Monday, Oct. 8. A railroad spokesman said the train stopped on the Archbold siding, blocking the crossing, about 3:15 pm. It pulled out of the village around 10:30 pm.– photo by David Pugh The lights flash on the crossing gate on the north side of the Defiance Street Norfolk Southern railroad crossing. The crossing was blocked for seven hours, Monday, Oct. 8. A railroad spokesman said the train stopped on the Archbold siding, blocking the crossing, about 3:15 pm. It pulled out of the village around 10:30 pm.– photo by David Pugh The Defiance Street railroad crossing in Archbold was blocked for seven hours, Monday, Oct. 8, to allow a train crewman to deal with a family medical emergency.

That’s what Jonathan Glass, Norfolk Southern spokesman, said in an email message to this newspaper.

At one point, it was said the train stopped because one of the crew members became ill. That proved untrue.

“The medical emergency involved a family member of one of the train crew members. The train was stopped about 3:15 pm to allow the crew member to tend to that family emergency,” Glass said.

“NS had to bring in another train and engine crew from Elkhart, Ind., to replace that crew, which is why the train remained in Archbold for as long as it did.

“The train was about 10,000 feet (about 1.9 miles) long, and the Archbold siding offered the safest and most accessible spot to stop the train to allow the crew member to respond to the family emergency.”

Glass was asked why the crew didn’t break the train, disconnecting cars to create a gap at the crossing.

He had not returned an email by presstime.

While the Defiance Street crossing was blocked, traffic was able to get through at the Franklin Street crossing, a few hundred feet west.

Stopped trains blocking one or both of the in-town railroad crossings have been a persistent problem for the village.

Many believe the situation has improved since the office of Bob Latta, Archbold representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, contacted railroad officials.

In turn, company officials sent bulletins to employees, calling on them to limit the length of trains and avoid using sidings to park trains.

Recent blockages range from minutes to almost six hours on Tuesday, July 31.

Motorists can report when the crossing is blocked to the Federal Railroad Administration, which has jurisdiction over railroads.

The report can be made through a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio website, www.puco.ohio.gov-forms/ report-blocked-crossings-tofederal railroad-administration.

PUCO is collecting reports, which will be forwarded to the FRA, a spokesman said.

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