"What's up with that?" - Powder Plant railroad crossing - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

"What's up with that?" - Powder Plant railroad crossing

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BESSEMER - AL -

A potentially dangerous situation near Bessemer was brought to our attention by one of our Facebook friends.

Regina Bradberry wrote on our 'what's up with that' post on the ABC 33/40 Facebook page.

"Why is the CSX train always blocking the Powder Plant Road in Jefferson County for such long periods of time? It's six miles to go around and what happens when there is an emergency and we have to travel six miles out of the way to UAB west hospital? This should be addressed! It blocks the road for 40 minutes or more and it is getting worse!"

Stephen Hess deals with one of these stationary trains at least twice a week on his way to work.

A commute that normally takes 45 minutes.

But, if he catches one of these trains, he has to go several miles out of the way.

"Every week or so, you'll run into one of the longer (trains)," says Hess. "Once it gets to the ten minute mark (of waiting), I'll turn back around and go the other way."

Focus at Four's Edward Burch contacted CSX. The response came in this statement which reads in part.

"Freight volume and schedule variation make it nearly impossible to time trains so that they avoid peak commuting times... CSX continues to work through operational improvements to limit blocked crossings on Powder Plant Road."

The Federal Railroad Administration does not regulate the length of time a train may block a railroad crossing.

Representatives from UAB Medical West were unaware of trains stopping at Powder Plant Road and have not received any complaints.

However, a representative with the Rural Metro Ambulance Company, which sits off Powder Plant Road says they constantly deal with the stopped trains and are in talks with CSX to work to improve the situation.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens has met with CSX several times regarding this issue. 

There is a number they can call if the train has been on the track for an extended period of time: 1-800-232-0144

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