PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Trains moving at a snail’s pace or completely stopping for hours on end continue to cause headaches for drivers needing to get by in Shelby County.

On Sunday, we received a photo from one Chelsea driver who got stopped in front of city hall by a train, reporting it was stalled for nearly five hours.

Officials across Shelby County are trying to take action to stop this from happening. They’ve been sharing a link across social media for drivers to self-report when this happens at a crossing.

Run by the Federal Railroad Administration, you can simply use your current location or look up which crossing is closest to you and mark it as having an issue.

For Pelham resident Ramon Gonzales, being stopped by a train at Highway 52 is nothing new, especially at the peak of rush hour.

“Yeah, it’s annoying,” Gonzales said. “Especially at the end of the day when you’re wanting to go home and just relax.”

Helena is also no stranger to trains. Patrol Officer Jeff Murphy said it is important to report these issues immediately because local police don’t have authority over the tracks.

“They’re just doing their job, but it has become more of an inconvenience for travelers,” Murphy said. “It frees up our communication and it actually has a direct line from the citizens to the government, the people who are in control of the railroads, and they’ll be able to take appropriate actions on that.”

Several years ago, Pelham officials report they tried to eliminate the crossing at Highway 52 behind the police department. Now, leaders are working with CSX to apply for new grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“They were very supportive of it,” Pelham City Manager Gretchen DiFante said at a council work session on July 18. “They’re supportive of anything which allows them to completely close a crossing.”

For now, city officials said reporting those blockages and slowdowns will help bring urgency to the need for help.

“That’s going to be the key to get some action on the delayed crossings opening up is to have as much input from the public to the ones who can make a change to it,” Murphy said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced last month that $573 million will be available in grant funding this year. DiFante said it will cost about $50 million to close the Highway 52 intersection, according to a previous engineering study that was done. Pelham would need to have its application complete in the next three months in order to qualify.

The Federal Railroad Administration reports 2,148 grade crossing incidents in 2021, causing 236 deaths and 662 injuries.