Trapped By Trains in Fort Worth

Fort Worth residents say parked trains cut off their neighborhood

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Fort Worth neighborhood is sealed off from the rest of the city by trains. (Published Monday, Feb 24, 2014)

    People who live in a neighborhood near Downtown Fort Worth say they feel trapped and threatened by trains that block the only ways in and out — sometimes for hours at a time

    "You're basically stuck," said longtime resident, Alice Cuellar.

    Their concern is that while they are trapped in, emergency workers cannot come into their neighborhood while trains block both entrances.

    "Somebody is going to get hurt or die because they can't get medical attention," Ashley Gonzales said.

    The neighborhood, near 1400 East Peach Street, is about four-square blocks and includes about 20 homes.

    Parked trains block both neighborhood entrances for extended periods — often 30 minutes or 45 minutes or longer, residents said.

    For many, the only way to come and go is downright dangerous.

    "You basically have to get on your stomach and almost crawl," Cuellar said.

    Residents and even young children routinely crawl under the trains to leave and return to their homes.

    "I'm nine months pregnant and I’ve still got to go under them," Tara Parker said. "It's the only way to get out."

    Marcus Brown, 8, also crawls under the trains.

    His school is just a few blocks away — but it’s located on the other side of the tracks.

    "Sometimes it's (the train) about to move and we’ve got to hurry up and get to the other side," he said. "So we slide or we get under faster."

    Union Pacific, which operates the tracks, blamed the problem on a large and congested train interchange known as Tower 55, which is located about one mile away.

    The railroad is spending $100 million on improvements to relieve congestion and the project should be completed by the end of September.

    In the meantime, UP is "exploring alternate routes," said railroad spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza.

    Bill Begley, a city of Fort Worth spokesman, also noted the railroad project should be completed later this year and said residents can call a toll-free number if they need the trains moved in a hurry.

    But for now, people in the neighborhood are angry.

    "I hope somebody does something about it because it's ridiculous," Gonzales said.