ANDERSON – The city of Anderson has issued a citation to CSX Transportation for blocking the railroad crossing in the 3000 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The citation was issued March 9 at 2 p.m. A court hearing was set in Anderson City Court for April 19.
Anderson has an ordinance prohibiting the blocking of a railroad crossing for longer than five minutes at a time. Under the Indiana code, a train should not block an intersection more than 10 minutes under normal circumstances.
For motorists in Anderson, Alexandria and Elwood, being stopped for a train traveling through an intersection has been a common occurrence for many years.
Assistant city attorney Evan Broderick said the city ordinance provides for a minimum fine of $50 and a maximum fine of $500.
Local residents believe the city issuing the citation is the right action to keep the trains from blocking crossings for extended periods.
Tricia Fetters said she gets stopped often by a train in Alexandria at the crossing near Beulah Park.
“That crossing is notorious for being blocked,” she said. “A couple of times I’ve been stopped in Anderson along Scatterfield Road and then you have to detour around through viaduct.”
Fetters said the citation should depend on why the train is stopped. She believes Anderson is doing the right thing by issuing the citation.
Darryl Shepperd said he looks at it as business is doing well when the trains are rolling.
“That means my 401(k) is making money,” he said, laughing.
Shepperd said a lot depends on which direction the train is traveling so that motorists can take an alternate route.
“The crossing at Scatterfield is the worse one,” he said.
Shepperd said the best way to deal with the problem is to construct an overpass or underpass, but cost would be a concern.
“At least we have a hospital on either side of the rail crossings,” he said.
Hope Custer said she gets stopped often at the crossings. Some of the trains are stopped, which is holding up traffic.
Custer said the 14th Street crossing and Columbus Avenue at 32nd Street are problems for her when traveling.
She said the city should issue citations when the trains are stopped for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
“The fine seems reasonable,” Custer said. “Maybe it will keep the trains moving.”
Earlier this year the city reached an agreement with CSX Transportation that should provide some relief during the morning rush hours.
“A mutual agreement has been reached that is expected to reduce the blockages and the amount of train traffic that is moving through our city during peak traffic periods,” Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said in a press release in February. “This has been an ongoing problem that has increased recently due to changes made by CSX at the corporate level in Florida.”
CSX representatives apologized for the difficulties and agreed to take immediate action that is expected to reduce train traffic in the city by 30 percent.
As part of this reduction, CSX agreed to cancel the morning train that has been blocking several intersections, including those at Scatterfield Road, and will, when possible, adjust the afternoon train entry into the city to better coincide with scheduled train work, which will result in shorter wait times at the crossings.
Any resident who finds unreasonable blockages occurring after this time period should report them to CSX by calling 317-838-3110.