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Congressman Dave Trott

Representing the 11th District of Michigan

Trott Demands Answers from CSX and Solution to Blocked Railroad Crossings in Plymouth

October 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Dave Trott (MI-11) sent a letter to CSX CEO E. Hunter Harrison regarding the company’s trains blockage of local roadways for, reportedly, up to nine hours, obstructing emergency services, impeding residents’ mobility, and compromising driver safety.

“So many of my constituents from Plymouth have reached out to express their safety concerns, their frustration with, what seems to have become the annual event of, CSX trains blocking their neighborhood railroad crossings for up to nine hours,” Trott said after sending the letter. “These unexplained, increasingly frequent delays have obstructed emergency services, impeded residents’ mobility, and compromised driver safety. The fact that CSX trains block railroad crossings so often that schools established an excused absence policy and emergency services had to develop contingency plans for the area is nothing short of unacceptable. CSX must take substantive steps to resolve this serious situation.”

A PDF of the signed letter is available here.

Full text of the letter is as follows:

E. Hunter Harrison

CSX President and Chief Executive Officer

500 Water Street

Jacksonville, FL 32202

CC: Ellen M. Fitzsimmons

Dear Mr. Harrison:

I write with great concern about the serious disturbance and safety issues that CSX trains have been causing my constituents in Plymouth, Michigan.

This fall, my constituents began to regularly notify my office of CSX Transportation blocking crossings for extended periods of time—in one case, on Monday, October 23, for nine hours. These unexplained, and increasingly frequent delays have caused major disruption in the daily lives of my constituents. Citizens of Plymouth have been stuck at crossings with infants in their cars, local schools are now excusing resulting tardiness for students and staff, and emergency crews have even had to take the extraordinary step of coming up with contingency plans in case there’s a fire or catastrophe during a railroad blockage. What was once a disturbance, has now become a significant public safety issue.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the citizens of Plymouth have had to deal with CSX Transportation blocking their roads. In April 2016, my constituents experienced a situation similar to the one they are facing today. It is with regret that these blocked railroads have now become an annual event, with still no sufficient explanations as to why they are commonplace and how they can be prevented.

While Plymouth covers approximately two square miles, it contains seven railroad crossings and could be subject to being blocked off completely if all railroad crossings are obstructed—a disturbing situation that my constituents have already been put through.

My office, as recently as yesterday, has received assurances from your federal relations team that these unreasonable delays will cease by the end of the week. It is my sincere hope that you appreciate the significant safety threat that citizens of Plymouth have been unfairly subjected to. I stand ready to assist you with any support my office can offer in order to reach a swift solution to this untenable situation, now entering its second week.