“It’s Dangerous” Residents voice concerns about blocked Somerville train crossings

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 10:41 PM CDT
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SOMERVILLE, Texas (KBTX) -Concerns are mounting over trains blocking crossings in Somerville. For some, It’s an inconvenience but for others, they say it’s a safety hazard.

Residents say sometimes multiple crossings near the BNSF Railyard in Somerville are blocked leaving residents having to travel miles to get around.

Lucinda Murphy is the president of the Somerville Historical Society and Museum that sits adjacent to the railroad tracks. She says the blocking is concerning to many.

“They really block up traffic. Its dangerous people cannot get across we’re concerned about ems and the ambulance not able to go across. "

Residents say they love trains and the railway because they’re a vital part of the community and the rich history of Somerville dating back to the 1870′s.

“We’re depending on the railroad a lot for all the jobs it creates, but it does give us some heartaches sometimes too,” said Chief Wayne Wilhelm with the Somerville Volunteer Fire Department.

Video sent to KBTX and posted on Facebook shows an ambulance waiting at a crossing Sunday morning.

I hope the person these folks were going to save is okay. I bet if the owners of the bank were sick that train would jump the track getting out of the way. Fuck this town

Posted by Mike Triplett on Sunday, May 1, 2022

Chief Wilhelm says crossings have been blocked several times this year and when there is an emergency time is everything.

“We only got so many minutes to get somewhere to do a, to save as much as we can save being either a structure or even a life for that matter. The faster we can get to them the more chances we got of doing a good job,” said Wilhelm.

Wilhelm says when trains block the roadways the department is left with very few options.

“We can go down the road and go across another crossing if they don’t have it blocked and we can go to the underpass which is about three miles out of town and go around the railroad but then if they got the other railroad that goes east blocked then we still can’t get across,’ said Wilhelm. ' We either have to call Snook to do our call for us just across the tracks or go all the way to Snook to go around.”

BNSF was not immediately available for an interview but sent a statement that you can find below.

The Federal Railroad Administration says there are no federal guidelines on how long a train can block a railroad crossing.

The FRA has a website where you can report extended times roads are blacked by trains.


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