by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The issue of trains blocking streets in the city of Durand is nothing new to those who live in the greater Durand area, but a new problem has been occurring with regularity for approximately the last two years, and that is the issue of trains dangling onto streets for long periods of time. Trains coming into the yard located within the city have always blocked streets to allow for the building of trains and the switching of tracks, and that has been accommodated by local residents, who have adjusted by adding time into their commutes and finding alternative routes to their destinations.
The new issue, however, has been a little more difficult to understand for city officials, who believe the problem arose when the CN Railroad recently installed new signals and sensors along the tracks in the city. The “simple logistical issue” of trains stopping with one car or engine blocking a street has drawn the attention of Durand City Council member Dr. Brian Boggs, who then enlisted the help of Rep. Ben Frederick and the Durand Police Department (DPD) to help curb the problem.
The DPD, led by Chief Jason Hartz, has monitored train activity since May 20, documenting how often, and for how long, trains unnecessarily dangle across city streets, blocking emergency traffic and all motorists on their daily commutes. Dr. Boggs reports that dangling trains block city streets at least once per day, and sometimes as often as three times per day. From May 20 until May 31, the study shows, trains have been observed dangling across city streets for a total of 453 minutes.
Dr. Boggs reports that Rep. Frederick has been a “tremendous resource” in the city’s effort to find a resolution to the new problem. After being contacted by Dr. Boggs in regards to the dangling train issue, Frederick contacted railroad lobbyists, who then put the two men in touch with CN representatives. Both men are confident a resolution will be reached.
“This is a health, safety, and welfare issue,” Dr. Boggs recently stated. “This needless blocking of streets makes it very difficult for the city to provide emergency services to its residents.”
“After speaking with CN representatives, we are fairly optimistic that a resolution can be reached,” said Rep. Frederick. “We are trying to work together on this, but there are other avenues available. We are taking nothing off the table, including possible legislation, but at this time we believe a resolution can be reached to avoid that.”