A week ago I sent the following note via email:
I'm writing to suggest a way you might improve safety at your grade crossings.
I live in XXXXXXXX, XX, on XXXXXXX XXX Road. There is a CN railroad crossing 1/2 mile West of my home. Sunday night, after working a 12 hour shift, I arrived at this crossing at 8:50 P.M. local time and found a train blocking my way home. No big deal, right? I put my car in park, and with gasoline prices at almost $3.50 per gallon U.S., shut the engine down to wait for my way to be cleared.
At 9:20 local, still blocked by the same train, I called the State Police to insure the train had not derailed. The dispatcher took my number and said she'd get back to me. Ten minutes later she called to say it was a CN train involved in the switching process, and would be clear of the track soon. This was quite a surprise to me, as there had been no movement in the train while I sat there. Shortly after she called the train began to move Northbound. Having to be back to work shortly after dawn in the morning, I sighed in relief. Ten or so railcars passed in front of me, then the train again came to a stop.
At 9:45 I again called the State Police and inquired about the law, stating if it had been broken I wanted to sign a complaint. She said she would give my number to the shift commander and have him ascertain what the law says, then call me.
At 10:10 local the train again began to move North and cleared the intersection, and I drove the 2 minute drive home... after an 80 minute wait! (The XXXXXXXXX State Police Shift commander never returned my call. I'll be calling them again today to clarify what the law says about this matter.)
Here's something for you to consider-
Whenever I see Public Safety announcements concerning the dangers of "racing" across intersections while the safety crossing arms are down, I'm amused...
Believe me, had I had the chance to race across in front of this train, rather than wait 80 minutes for my way to be cleared, I would have. As a matter of fact I'll make you this promise... next time I'm presented with that situation, I WILL be sneaking across the tracks in front of the approaching train!
If you want the public to respect the danger of your trains, you must respect the time the public spends waiting for your trains to clear the way for them to proceed.
I'd appreciate your thoughts on this matter. Thanks for your attention.
So far I've received no response. I'm sure I can attribute this to the fact that Candian National is pondering which response would most please me. I'm hopeful the company has someone perusing the intenet for comments about them, and they read this post. If I hear from them, you'll be the first to know!