Suffolk homeowners say railroad crossing gates unreliable


by David Ham, 13News

Posted on September 7, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 9:32 AM

SUFFOLK--Neighbors in the Olde Mill Creek neighborhood say they can't trust the crossing arms at a railroad crossing.  

"You actually go around them because you don't know if the trains are coming or not. A lot of times people are just ignoring the arms," said Bill Brooks.

Brooke Schaab says over the past few weeks, the arms have either stayed down when a train wasn't passing through or they failed to come down when a train approached.

"When this gate was up, I saw people coming up and screech, you know, because the gate wasn't down," said Schaab.

Schaab said neighbors called police every time they noticed the problem. She even contacted the City for help in finding a solution to the problem.

"I've never been in a community that has been so unresponsive," said Schaab.

A spokesperson for the city said maintenance is the responsibility of the railroad company.

After being contacted by 13News, Bill Jasper with Genesee & Wyoming said the company sent out a contractor every time a malfunction was reported.  He said contractors couldn't pinpoint the exact reason for the unpredictable nature of the gates but tought it could be triggered by a lighting strike to the tracks or wiring.

Jasper stated that since contractors couldn't repair the gates, they replaced components of the gates to restore reliability.

Schaab said that even after the repairs on Tuesday and Wednesday, the gates still malfunctioned.

"They went up and down with no train coming since that time," said Schaab.

She and other neighbors say it will take some time before they can rely on the gates again.

"Now no one in the community trusts the gates. They stop before they come through," said Schaab.<

Jasper says that Genesee & Wyoming will continue to send out contractors every time a malfunction is reported.