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Train officials visit county

Photo by Greg Bird
Sheriff Randy Waters, Magistrate Jason Mann and Judge Executive Doug Stephens met with Derek Sublette of Norfolk Southern last week.


By Greg Bird

Following up with an earlier promise, a representative from Norfolk Southern Railroad met with County officials last week to further discuss the growing preponderance of trains stopping and blocking local intersections.
Derek Sublette, Government Relations Manager with Norfolk Southern visited McCreary County Wednesday afternoon with the intent of seeing first-hand some of the intersections seemingly impacted by stoppages the most and trying to discuss possible ways to alleviate long waits for stopped trains.
Judge Executive Doug Stephens took the representative to the Century Lane and Mt. Pleasant Road crossings, where stoppages frequently occur.
Joining Judge Stephens were Magistrate Jason Mann and Sheriff Randy Waters, all of whom have been involved in trying to find solutions to the problem.
Sublette stated McCreary County sees traffic of about 60 trains each day, and dispatch tries to ensure trains that need to stop to allow traffic to flow do not do so for very long.
He noted Chattanooga has re-opened a train facility, which should alleviate some traffic congestion the railway has been experiencing of late.
The representative acknowledged the concern for citizens hampered from crossing the tracks due to stoppages is an issue and pledged to speak with persons involved with traffic control to be more cognizant of how long trains are stopped and where.
He also said he would notify dispatch to “cut the train” or separate box cars at crossings if possible. He noted such actions can cause additional delays as train engineers must do brake checks every time cars are reconnected. The engineer must also walk the length of the train for visual inspections when doing so.
Sublette noted he was aware of the recent court filing by the Association of American Railroads, a non-profit group representing railroad companies, but he said the decision to file the lawsuit did not originate in his department and he hoped to resolve the issue despite the filing.
No hearing date in the United States District Court has been set as of yet on the case. Sheriff Waters stated he has been officially served paperwork on the case, but plans to ask to be dropped from the case, as he was only doing his sworn duty to uphold the law when issuing citations.

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