Dangerous Tracks?

Dangerous Tracks?
By: Holly Brantley

PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. -- People in Portageville say they are used to living near the railroad. In fact, they are grateful for it. But watching trains bounce up and down on what some call 'risky rails' is getting old. City leaders say they need repair. But, according to them, the railroad isn't answering their call.
When trains roll by, councilman Ervin Gremard says you see the tracks buckle under the pressure. "You can see the tracks actually sway under the pressure," said Gremard.
Gremard says more than a dozen Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains come through town daily. Trains rocking along brings frightening images to his mind. "I just think how easy it would be for that train to derail," said Gremard.
According to Gremard, and Mayor Bud Sisson, they can't remember the last time the tracks were repaired. They point out what they say are lose spikes, and broken ties. Gremard also explains railroad crossings are in bad shape.
"I've lived here for 25 years," said Theresa Eftink. "The trains scare me. If there's a derailment my house would be gone," said Eftink. She lives only yards from the tracks.
Former Mayor J.D. Patton says he spent years trying to get Burlington Northern Santa Fe to do something about the tracks.
"We can't even get them to return a phone call," said Patton.
Meanwhile, folks who live and work in Portageville hope something will be done soon. "I hope they fix it," said Eftink.
A spokesperson for Burlington Northern Santa Fe tells Heartland News the tracks are checked weekly. According to the railroad spokesperson, if there's a potential risk on the tracks, speeds are lowered.