Trains still jamming traffic in Linden

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

For several weeks during the afternoon rush the City of Linden has been cut in half. Each day passing trains stall on the tracks blocking Highway 43 and effectively cutting the south end of the city from any emergency response units.

Linden City Council member Butch King said he has addressed the problem many times, but has seen no relief. King said he would like to see the blockage monitored and reported to get something done.

“I have complained the last two weeks on the railroad tracks and it is still a problem,” King said. “It is still a problem every afternoon. I would like to see a police officer go out there each day and keep a log for about two weeks of how long they are blocking the tracks.”

King said his main concern was the period of time the blockage occurs.

“It is still holding everybody up and it is not just happening for 15 minutes or so,” King said. “It is lasting from 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. until about 6 p.m. every day.”

King is not the only one who is frustrated with the situation. Council member Ivan Allday said he recently noticed an incredible amount of cars held up by the train.

“This is definitely a problem,” Allday said. “I went up there one day and counted 45 vehicles backed up there.”

Linden Police Chief Jeff Laduron said he has kept an open line of communication with the train operators and believes changes are on their way. Laduron said they hope to construct a new facility that will no longer make it necessary for the train to stop in the same area and block the tracks.

“The plans are to build a new track to use for storage and a switch area,” Laduron said. “That has already been approved and we hope they will get started pretty soon on that.”

In addition to building new tracks the state of Alabama is also considering legislation to keep trains from blocking any road for an extended period of time. If passed, the bill would outlaw blockages of more than five minutes.

Laduron said until further action is taken the police would continue to watch the situation closely.

“We are trying to monitor it when we can,” Laduron said. “They are well aware of the problem and they said they are going to continue to do everything they can to fix the problem and try to avoid blocking the tracks.”