Archbold, OH
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Federal Rail Administration To Investigate Aug. 16 Blocked Crossing

The Federal Railroad Administration will investigate the Saturday, Aug. 16 incident in which a Norfolk Southern train blocked the Defiance Street crossing for about eight hours.

Dennis Howell, Archbold village administrator, updated council on the issue during the Monday, Sept. 8 council meeting.

After a letter to the FRA, Howell said he received a call from an official with the FRA Office of Congressional Affairs, who said the FRA is planning an investigation into the incident.


Reports at the time say a NS train loaded with shipping containers stopped on one of the two main tracks that bisect Archbold at about 5:30 am, Saturday Aug. 16, but some say the train stopped as early as 4:30 am.

The bulk of the train was east of the Defiance Street crossing. Five cars extended west of the crossing, leaving the Franklin Street crossing open.

The train remained across the tracks until about 1:30 pm.

A second train stopped over the crossing about 8:50 pm and remained there until about 10:30 pm.

Defiance Street is also St. Rt. 66. Drivers of semis would pull up to the crossing and wait, thinking the train would soon move.

When it didn’t, police tried to help the semis back up, to take an alternate route.

Howell said the FRA offi- cial confirmed the train crews can work only 12 hours.

When they reach the end of the time limit, federal law prohibits them from driving a train further, until they complete a rest period.

However, Howell said the FRA official didn’t know why the crew didn’t break the train, uncoupling cars so the state highway would be open, or pull the train across the crossing before stopping.

Howell said an informal conversation with an NS track worker yielded new information about why the train was stopped.

The employee attributed the backup to a broken switch.

The problem resulted in five trains stalled from Archbold to Cleveland.


Howell said Bob Latta, U.S. Congressman (R-Bowling Green) representing Archbold, made a call to the FRA on behalf of Archbold asking for an investigation into the Aug. 16 incident.

Howell said Latta has offered to continue to be involved in the issue.

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