Gibson Co. residents ‘frustrated’ trains continue to block roadways

Gibson Co. residents ‘frustrated’ trains continue to block roadways

GIBSON CO., IN (WFIE) - Some people in the Tri-State are still living with the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision regarding how long train companies can block railroad crossings.

It has been said that getting stuck behind a train in Gibson County is just a way of life, but nine months after the courts sided with the railroad companies, some people in the county continue to feel frustrated.

“We’re just in a situation of...we feel like we’re almost helpless," said Gibson County Commissioner Steve Bottoms.

For months, Bottoms and others fought to keep trains from blocking road crossings. However, after a September ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court in favor Norfolk Southern Railways citing federal regulations would supersede the state laws, he says things have only gotten worse.

“It’s kind of tough. They [county residents] come to us hoping that they can get help, but really with the ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court, there’s not a whole lot we can do," Bottoms said.

Since that ruling, Bottoms says working with the railroad company is getting harder.

“We don’t always know if the ambulances, the police and the fire departments can get through," Bottoms said. "They don’t necessarily let us know that they’re blocking the roads.”

He says that causes safety issues.

“There was a video several months ago where an ambulance went out to a crossing...with it’s siren and lights on and had to turn around and go back. Well you know that could be someone’s life,” Bottoms said. “I’m afraid to say I just don’t think they relate to any of our problems and I don’t think the Indiana Supreme Court related to any of our problems. If they would have just gave us something there to say ‘Well if it affects safety...’ that we could at least ask for help.”

According to Bottoms, the county isn’t giving up. They’re going to keep sending letters and try to work for a solution.

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