Stopped train delays south side traffic for hours

Drivers on the south side were stuck waiting for a train to cross an intersection on March 8, 2018. (WISH Photo/Elizabeth Choi)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Drivers on the south side were frustrated on Thursday after a CSX train stopped on the tracks, delaying drivers for hours over a distance of more than three miles.

Several drivers told 24-Hour News 8 that they noticed the train was stopped around 2:30 Thursday morning and still hadn’t moved well into the afternoon. Neighbors are frustrated because they say delays are an ongoing problem with the train.

“Try to get the train moving so people can go where they need to go,” said Tammy Richards, who was trying to get to Greenwood.

Kris Butler lives on State Avenue and said, “We got up at 6 and that train was sitting there then.”

At the Hanna Avenue and Shelby Street crossing near the University of Indianapolis, around 10:30 am, the wheels on the train were moving, but if you ask drivers, not fast enough. Traffic backed up as cars waited, some drivers decided to make dangerous turns to get out of line.

24-Hour News 8 was there for about 30 minutes. It took the whole half-hour for the train pass the intersection, finally allowing cars to pass. However, right after getting past the crossing, the train came to a complete stop.

“Been here about five minutes. Noticed the train wasn’t moving either way,” said Richards.

The train blocked roadways from just after the Hanna Avenue crossing to just before Southport Road near Madison Avenue.

“I just want to go to the post office (on Edgewood). I may turn around and try to find a different route, but this track runs all the way across town,” said Casey McVicker.

Frustrated drivers are looking to CSX to do something about it.

“They should have to be held accountable for how long it takes,” said Richards.

Some cities like Greenwood are issuing tickets up to $250 to rail and train companies and conductors if they delay drivers by more than 10 minutes.

Last month, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers spoke to WISH-TV when the city started ramping up enforcement.

“We need to start enforcing that to let them know we’re serious about this. I care about public safety, and I care about the citizens. Their only way to do that is to force the railroad to abide by the laws,” he said.

Ticketing the companies for those delays is something drivers say they’d like to see Indianapolis do, too.

“They need to do something. Because it makes a lot of confusion around here,” said Butler.

We reached out to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office for comment on Thursday but did not hear back.

CSX issued the following statement:

This morning a CSX train experienced a mechanical issue in downtown Indianapolis, forcing the crew to make an extended, unscheduled stop for repairs. CSX apologizes for the inconvenience this caused our neighbors in Indianapolis today. Our goal is to keep customer shipments moving safely and efficiently to their destinations with minimal impacts to surrounding communities. Sometimes circumstances beyond our control prevent us from achieving that, but we work hard to avoid these situations.”