Trains tying up intersections has Mo. town up in arms - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Trains tying up intersections has Mo. town up in arms


Imagine feeling trapped in your own hometown and not able to get where you need to go, no matter what the emergency.

That's what's happening in Malden, Missouri. Railroad towns like Malden know trains can cause delays.

But folks there feel the length of time trains tie up intersections is growing out of control and are becoming not only a nuisance, but a safety hazard.

Twice in the last week the train stopped on the tracks for an extreme amount of time. One time it was for four hours blocking five out of seven intersections.

"If there is an emergency, anybody who lives on this side of the track … we're in trouble," said Tammy Smith.

"The railroad is very important, but so is the safety of a small town's citizens" said Elizabeth Welch. 

While the mayor says that kind of stop is unusual, people say the trains cause all kinds of transportation issues and they want Union Pacific to do something about it.

A town divided, in this case by a train. Heartland News crews saw a train stopped on the tracks Monday for over an hour and a half. We're told it was actually at a standstill for several hours longer.

People and police say the trains often cause problems getting to work and school between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m., almost daily

Some say it takes anywhere from five minutes to two hours and they have to go way out of their way to get back home.

"They see us as a spec in their system," said Mayor Ray Santie. "But there are still several thousand people that live here."

Santie says he knows moderate delays happen often, but the two this week for hours on end are unusual.

Santie and police say the major concern is safety. Like in case an ambulance needed to get around a train spanning the length of town.

Mayor Santie says he called Union Pacific. He says they told him conductors are strictly required to follow safety procedures.

There are procedures that according to the highway patrol, override state laws that say a train can only be at a dead stop for five minutes. Troopers say if that train moves even one inch the clock starts over again.

"We just want to work with Union Pacific and I want to see them work with us," said Sadie.

We also called Union Pacific. We're told it would be difficult to trace the exact reason why the trains stop.

Police Chief Jarrett Bullock says he was told it was a mechanical issue Monday

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Union Pacific recommends people call when they notice problems.

Union Pacific


Write down time, date and train number.

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