Recently, several Dorchester residents have complained about the increasing frequency of trains blocking one or both southern entrances into town.
Often, the trains are standing still for 15, 20 or 30 minutes, which is a major inconvenience to town residents and others driving through our community.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which operates the rail, notes that the company tries to limit the amount of time any crossing is blocked on a mainline track.
They add, "Our business depends on keeping trains moving. Unfortunately trains sometimes experience conditions that force them to stop. Those conditions may be related to equipment, track or weather conditions. In those cases, BNSF works to correct the condition and to resume the safe movement of trains."
Dorchester recognizes that our community exists due to the railroad. We want to be good partners with those who provide rail services to our community and our region, and we will tolerate an occasional blocked crossing. But lately, the blockings have been taking place too often.
Nebraska law says the following:
A railroad company or a railroad track owner operating trains over tracks within the State of Nebraska shall not block a public highway-rail grade crossing, for a period of time in excess of ten (10) minutes, except if the train is moving in a continuous forward or backward direction, or if the train is stopped for an emergency condition, including an accident, derailment, critical mechanical failure, track or bridge washout, storm, flood, or other emergency situation.
If Dorchester's blocked crossings continue on a regular basis, we suggest residents call BNSF representatives who work on community issues at (817) 867-6418.