Brantleyville neighborhood residents frustrated with continuous train blockages

Birmingham Train Issues
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A train stopped on the tracks for over five hours in the Brantleyville neighborhood on Wednesday, leaving many people frustrated. It arrived around 9:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until right before 3:00 p.m.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Christine Kimbrel. “We have lived here since 2005 and it just progressively gets worse and worse and worse.”

The stopped trains impact the daily lives of those driving on Highway 260.

“I had to climb through the train and get somebody else to take me to my doctor’s appointment,” said Billy Davis.

“I had to call an ambulance because I was so ill,” said Kimbrel. “I had a very dangerous blockage. The ambulance had to call the police department and make them move.”

“Groceries frozen in there that need to be put in the refrigerator, 2-3 hours later,” said Roger Davis. “Hot summer. Won’t work.”

They say they’re fed up with the daily occurrence. Sometimes twice a day, a train blocks people in and out for hours at the railroad crossing.

“We’re being held captive here,” said Kimbrel. “There’s only one other outage and its through the woods and nobody trusts their car to go through the woods. This is not four-wheel drive.”

Some people park on one side of the tracks and walk over so their car won’t get stuck on the wrong side.

“If my house catches on fire and it stays blocked like it did today, the house is gone,” said Ann Huckabee.

“We got older folks that live here and we just need a way emergency service can get here and help them because there’s no place to land a lifesaver unless you go across the hill into the woods,” said Mike Bice.

This has been an issue for years and the residents say no matter what they say or what they do, the problem persists.

“Sometimes they’ll stop and we’ll call that phone number and they’ll say, ‘We’re waiting on an engineer to get out there,’” said Davis. “That one there’s done all he can and they’ll leave the train sitting here while they wait on the engineer.”

“I’ve had several friends call and complain about it and they say, ‘Who was here first? You or the train?’” asked Kimbrel.

We’ve heard similar complaints all across Central Alabama. Rep. Terri Sewell sent a letter on Monday to the Federal Railroad Administrator calling on an investigation into the recent train blockages and safety concerns.

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