Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Residents Raise Concerns Regarding Blocked Railroad Crossings

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.


  1. Does VD run this web site? I'm not talking about "village dweller" but the other "VD"

  2. Thank you for that phone number. I have seen the west crossing blocked for several hours when all they would have to do is back that train up a couple of cars. No excuse for that.

  3. Ouch. THats not good corporate relations with that picture you guys posted.

  4. If the time the crossings are blocked is significantly more than 10 minutes, call the Sheriff's Department and lodge a complaint. Get it on record so that a formal charge can be lodged in court if it continues.

  5. I have tried to call the Sheriff numerous times about the tracks to the West being blocked. They say they cannot do anything about it....Well, who can? They should be able to give them a ticket when they block it for more than 10 minutes, but they won't. Maybe this blog can help get things changed! I will try the phone number listed next time.

  6. Maybe someone should send these comments to BNSF although I doubt they would give a rat's behind about folks out here in the middle of the country. I have also heard that the County Sheriff's Dept. is no help. I guess you can't fight a big company like BNSF.

  7. I seriously doubt BNSF is blocking the entryways intentionally, their engineers are just getting a little sloppy. I'll bet they do listen if you call to complain, remember they have a pretty big interest in nebraska since some guy named buffett is the majority shareholder these days

  8. The village board could pass an ordinance requiring BNSF to break the train at the crossings if they block it for more than 10 minutes. That was a solution in York County where it got real bad. Then the Sheriff has to enforce the ordinance if one does not already exist. However state statute is clear. If the Sheriff is not enforcing the law, maybe someone should lodge a complaint with the attorney generals office.

    17-225. Railroads; blocking crossings; penalty.

    It shall be unlawful for any railroad company or for any of its officers, agents, servants or employees to obstruct with car or cars, engine or engines, or with any other rolling stock, for more than ten minutes at a time, any public highway, street or alley in any unincorporated town or village in the State of Nebraska. Any corporation, person, firm or individual violating any provision of this section shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.

    Laws 1907, c. 109, § 1, p. 384;
    Laws 1907, c. 109, § 2, p. 384;
    R.S.1913, § 5075;
    C.S.1922, § 4247;
    C.S.1929, § 17-225;
    R.S.1943, § 17-225.

  9. Sounds good, but $100 is chicken feed to a big outfit like BNSF. They'll just laugh.

  10. BNSF is just like the government, heck it's worse, especially when the "law enforcer" can't do anything about it. what a joke!
    thanks for the "call in #" so we can vent our problems to a machine that BNSF will pry never listen to
    just saying


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