Council asked to deal with CSX

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A West Church Street resident has asked the City Council to stop CSX trains from disrupting her neighborhood, nearby businesses and possibly delaying emergency vehicles.

CSX contracts with a business to repair tracks and related railroad right of way facilities, but the crew parks its equipment-laden trains on the tracks behind Funtime Bowl West Commerce Street.

Adelle Smith, the self-described "little short lady from Church Street," complained that the contractor's work continues on the equipment through the night when lights are on and motors are running. The train blocks streets crossing tracks.

But the disruption is no more than once every three to six months, she said. It's not been announced and it's been on weekends.

"If they're going to show up, it would be in July," Smith said Tuesday, a week after she took her case to the Council.

Mayor Barbara Woods has since said she and the Council would have to have more information before taking steps toward relief for the residents.

Lewisburg Water and Waste Water Department Superintendent Kenneth Carr confirmed that his department sells the train contractor water for the work to be done and that he and/or his employees know when the trains are coming because they're called to sell water.

During last week's Council meeting, City Manager Eddie Fuller noted that if the city stopped selling water to the railroad contractor, then maybe that business would select another place to park the repair trains.

Smith said, "They don't always tie into the water system... But they do block the fire hydrants."

About seven years ago, Smith said, she spoke with the Council "and it stopped..."

Then, Mayor "Bob Phillips and the Council wrote a letter or did what they had to do and about two years ago and now, it's started back up again and it seems like it was getting worse and worse.

"They leave the lights on and I can easily mow my yard at night with the lights they have on," Smith said.

Because of where the train blocks track crossings, Smith asks, "What if an ambulance and/or fire truck had to get through?

"The city knew it was a problem and it, quote "got fixed," but it didn't..." Smith said. "The little short lady on Church Street isn't going to keep quiet."

City Attorney Bill Haywood said the contractors may be violating the city's noise ordinance and the mayor said, "We understand the problem. Let us look into it."

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