Trains a pain to county resident

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 4, 2007

To the Editor:

Much has been written about trains blocking crossings inside the Selma city limits, but until the accident Sunday night involving the train and a private citizen, little has been said about operation of trains in the county.

This letter has been evolving for quite some time and the Sunday night accident gave the impetus to proceed.

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As a frequent traveler on Highway 41 and Highway 80, there have been frequent opportunities to observe problems with trains blocking the crossing for extended periods of time. On several occasions, the entrance to the landfill has been blocked, causing traffic to dangerously back up on the side of the highway.

On one occasion trains blocked both the Highway 80 crossing as well as the crossing allowing access to the Highway 41 bypass.

Another time when a train had the 41 bypass crossing blocked, this driver detoured through Selmont and upon arrival at the 41 south exit observed the train with the same car at the same spot. It had not moved one inch during the time it took for the detour!

It was only a matter of time before someone would be hurt at the Highway 41 crossing. At the sight where the accident occurred, there has been the practice of leaving box cars on either side of the crossing, causing the warning lights to be activated. This happens so frequently that those traveling that route might easily become complacent and ignore the flashing lights.

On one occasion, my family was traveling south on 41 at night.

The lights were flashing, there was no train in motion and an 18-wheeler was stopped.

They waited behind the truck until a sheriff’s deputy traveling the same route exited his car and advised the truck driver to proceed since no train was moving.

Was the train already derailed before the accident or did the accident cause the derailment and domino effect? And why are the cars from the first derailment still right where they derailed?

Crossing arms are not an option, unless the practice of parking cars to activate the warning lights is abolished. Fix it!

Sallie Lide-Hooker

Dallas County