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Train traffic, stoppages concern Indy residents

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis residents said they’re fed up with train delays, sometimes causing traffic nightmares. The problem, according to residents 24-Hour News 8 talked to, is that they feel like more trains are coming through. And worse, that more trains are stopping on the tracks.CSX is the train company that operates the tracks around central Indiana that residents have complained to 24 Hour News 8 about. Some of these freight trains run on the edge of downtown. “I myself have been stopped (by a train) that was literally parked across a major thoroughfare for more than an hour,” said Indianapolis City-County Councilor Zach Adamson.  Some Indy residents say it’s so bad that they created a Facebook check-in. “When you’re stuck there, you’re stuck there for good. You can’t turn around,” said Mike Nichipol, who lives near tracks on the northeast side. The stopped trains can pose a potential danger. “I’ve also seen a lot of emergency vehicles,” said Nichipol. “Police, ambulance, firetrucks that are coming down New York Street and they get stuck at the train.” And it can become traffic headache. “The next place you have the ability to get across the tracks is 10th Street and that’s a mile (away),” said Adamson. “Between Washington and 10th Street.” This week, CSX had a train stopped for hours on a separate track near Lawrence. CSX apologized for “an unforeseen mechanical issue,” adding they “remain committed to limiting the impact of our operations on the community.”But community members are concerned things will only get worse. “We wish they could elevate the train and put bridges over it or something,” said Nichipol. In 2015, CSX got approval to increase train traffic to up to 34 per day, which would be about a 50 percent increase over the amount as it is now. Signs are up to warn passersby about increases as part of the agreement. But Thursday, CSX told 24-Hour News 8 there are still only 20 trains a day and for now, they don’t see that changing. Here was CSX’s full statement from Tuesday on the train stoppage:

As a company that is responsible for delivering freight safely and efficiently to our customers, CSX has a vested interest in reliably moving trains to their destinations. This afternoon, however, we experienced an unforeseen mechanical issue that resulted in one of our trains blocking a crossing for an extended period of time. This was resolved and the train cleared the tracks by 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. CSX understands the frustration of local residents and we take this matter very seriously. We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused and remain committed to limiting the impact of our operations on the community.”

Here was CSX’s full statement from Thursday on the train traffic:

The Surface Transportation Board approved an agreement that would allow CSX to operate up to 34 trains per day on the rail line between Indianapolis and Sidney, OH.  As part of that approval, CSX was required to notify the public about potential changes to rail operations in communities along this line, including the use of signage at highway-rail grade crossings.  These signs were installed in August of last year.  Today, CSX operates an average of 20 trains per day on this line carrying mixed freight. We do not foresee any significant operational changes to our plan at this point.”