Fort Worth Community 'Trapped' by Stopped Trains - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Fort Worth Community 'Trapped' by Stopped Trains

Union Pacific says stopped trains were an isolated incident

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    Some homeowners in North Fort Worth say they are getting trapped by trains. (Published Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017)

    Some homeowners in North Fort Worth say they are being trapped by trains.

    People who live in the Vista Ranch community on Tinsley Lane near U.S. 287 reached out to NBC 5, saying trains have been trapping them in or out of their neighborhood for years.

    They said sometimes it takes an hour for the train it to clear.

    "It's very sporadic. It definitely varies," Vista Ranch HOA president Jill Kolb said. "Trains come here all the time. On a good day, they run perfect. On a bad day, we can get delays from 30 minutes, to the event that happened the other night that was well over an hour."

    Thursday, we're told a train was stopped on the tracks for more than an hour during rush hour and caused a major back up and a lot of frustration.

    "If we were to have an emergency inside this neighborhood, there is no way we can get in, and no way we can get out," Kolb said. "Emergency services can't get to us. We've worked closely with the Haslet Fire Department, and they've told us that, in the event of an emergency, they have emergency numbers that they can call, can get the train out of the way, but frankly that's kind of scary."

    Kolb said she and her neighbors have reached out to the city about the issue at various community events. But, at this point, she doesn't think anyone really knows how to fix it.

    NBC 5 has learned the track that crosses Tinsley Lane is owned and operated by Union Pacific. Just a half a mile down Tinsley is a docking station for rail cars, so a train more than a half a mile long can easily block the roadway.

    In a statement from Union Pacific, the company acknowledges Thursday's issue:

    "On Thursday, February 23, Union Pacific was made aware of a train blocking the crossing at Tinsley Road in Newark. Upon receiving several calls from drivers in the area, we were able to track down the issue. This appears to be an isolated event. A UP train was processing an unusually high number of cars at a facility just south of Tinsley Road, which led to an extended delay impacting the crossing. Our management team has since met with our customer to discuss how to avoid a repeat of this scenario.
    We apologize to the drivers and residents that were inconvenienced by this delay. We are also appreciative to those who contacted our call center to advise us of the problem. Each of these calls is logged and investigated, which allows us to respond quickly to urgent situations and identify areas where we need to work to improve our fluidity and efficiency. Each public road crossing is equipped with a sign showing a toll free phone number and a crossing identification number. We ask drivers to please let us know if there are any emergency or safety concerns regarding our railroad."

    "I definitely don't think that the railroad is malicious in their intent to block Vista Ranch in, I just don't think they understand where we come from and why it's so vital to us," said Kolb.

    In February 2014, another Fort Worth neighborhood had a similar problem with trains stopping at crossings and blocking access to the neighborhood. After a series of stories were done by NBC 5 highlighting children crawling under the trains to get to school, the city eventually agreed to construct a roadway that allowed for a second exit out of the neighborhood.

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