Train crossings blocked becoming problem in Central Alabama

Local News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Stalled trains are becoming a problem in communities across Central Alabama; from St. Clair County to Birmingham and beyond. The latest incident is happening in West Birmingham, where multiple crossings are impacted.

A train has been blocking 24th Street Southwest and Pearson Avenue for days and it’s causing a major headache for residents in the area.

“Horrible,” resident Carmella Macon said.

“It’s been a very frustrating five days,” District 7 Councilwoman Wardine Alexander said.

One of the major headaches caused by the train has been traffic delays. Drivers say their commute to work has gotten a lot longer.

“I say on a usual commute, 15 minutes. But with this train, 25,” Jerome Gosha said.

It’s also impacted Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, which is right across the street from the tracks. Senior Pastor Dr. Michael Wesley, Sr says his congregation has asked when the train will move.

“People have asked ‘Is that train still there? You mean it’s still there? It’s not moving?'” Dr. Wesley said.

And like many in the area, Dr. Wesley wants to know what’s going on.

“Just for the sake of it sitting there and there is no explanation and no desire, no hurry to move it, that’s unfair,” Dr. Wesley said.

And people who live right off Beulah Ave SW say trains have been a problem long before this recent incident. Carmella Macon has lived there for more than 30 years. She says this isn’t the first time the crossing has been blocked, but it’s definitely the longest she can remember.

“It still makes no sense to me. It makes no sense to the people in the neighborhood. We trying to figure out why a train can sit there for a whole week,” Macon said.

“That’s being going on now for the past four months,” Macon said.

Birmingham City Councilwoman Wardine Alexander says she’s spoken with Norfolk Southern about the train blocking multiple intersections in her district. She says a spokesperson told her there are multiple factors involved like a shortage in staffing and no one being available to move the carts on the tracks.

“Of course, when you are sitting in this type of situation, it feels like just an excuse because it has been a number of days and it’s happening. And it’s impacted our communities the most,” Alexander said.

Whatever is the cause, Macon and other residents hope the issue is fixed soon.

“Get somebody to work and move the train,” Macon said.

Alexander says she and other city leaders, including Mayor Randall Woodin’s Office, are working with Norfolk Southern to fix the issue. CBS 42 also reached out to Norfolk Southern on the issue and how long those intersections could be blocked off, but haven’t gotten a response.

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