MOORE, Okla. – Courtney Strain says last week was the second time a stopped train has come between her son and the emergency room.
“I was irritated, angry. When you have a child that’s hurting, and minutes are precious to you,” said Strain. “I’ve got minutes to get my child to the hospital and I’m stuck by a train that’s not moving.”
Strain says she was forced to go to OU Medical Center due to the delay because the crossings were blocking the path to the hospital in Moore.
She’s called the train companies and the City of Moore with no luck. At times, Strain says she, and countless others, have waited nearly an hour to cross the tracks.
While gathering video for this story, a truck pulled up. A man inside also said he’s had it with the stalled trains.
“I can’t stand it, man. They’re always in my way,” said Michael Mairel. “I get blocked up here, I got stuff to do, I have business to take care of and I can’t get through this town because these trains are stopped right here. I’m sitting here for over an hour and a half.”
As it turns out, trains have a time limit when parked on the tracks.
“A train can stop for 10 minutes for no reason at all,” said Matt Skinner, with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Of course, the Corporation Commission says trains have exceptions for things like emergencies. However, the commission can fine the train companies for inexcusable parking over 10 minutes.
“We have to have evidence that we can then bring into our court system in order to file an enforcement action,” said Skinner.
The fine can be up to $500 and the commission says it needs the public to send in complaints that include dates and times of parked trains. This will help the commission enforce the statutes and fines.
The commission says so far, it can’t find any record of trains being fined for backing up crossings in Moore.
Until something changes, Strain is hoping she doesn’t have another tailgate by the tracks.
“They don’t apologize. They don’t, nothing,” she said.
We reached out to the City of Moore and were told the city is aware of the problem and is looking for solutions. In fact, an official told us a new railroad bridge is planned for Fourth St. to help alleviate congestion at that crossing.
However, we are also told that the city cannot remove a stationary train from a crossing.