Chippewa Falls train crossings being blocked by stalled trains - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Chippewa Falls train crossings being blocked by stalled trains


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Citizens hope an apologyfrom a railroad company is enough to spur action on the tracks.  Union Pacific sent us an e-mail Wednesday, sayingit's sorry for making people wait at the crossings in Chippewa Falls.Trains have been stalled many times in recent memory.

"As early asmidnight to noon the next day, I've seen them for twelve hours sit on thetracks here," said Frederick Ziesmer, AB Towing Manager.

Traffic is flowing across the tracks thatcross South Main Streetin Chippewa Falls. But that hasn't always been the case recently.

"It seems like thetrains are stalling out quite a bit right here in front of our place. It prettymuch blocks up all the access to downtown except for going over the mainbridge," Ziesmer said.

When tracks are blocked,people start finding other ways to cross.

"You've got peopleusing our parking lot as a turn around basically, flying through the parkinglot. I mean one of these days somebody's probably going to get hit doing that,"explained Ziesmer.

The stalled trains havereached further down the tracks near Wisconsin Street. That's led citizens to reach out to localleaders.

"Emergencies, youhave school buses trying to pick up kids in the morning. Various things thatway which puts people at risk out in the cold weather," said Chuck Hull,Chippewa Falls City Council Member.

The train trouble comesfrom the natural lay of the land.

"It may not looklike it's a lot, but there's a long steady grade up here. And what the railroadhas told us is sometimes with the weight and the power they have, they havesome trouble. So they either have to substitute, bring another engine, or dosomething with it," Hullsaid.

Union Pacific told us it'shad operating teams monitoring the train traffic and has plans to help keepthings moving in the future.

"We have beenassured that next time they have a power problem, they have a depot right in Altoona, and they will send an engine up quickly,"said Hull.

That still takes time,but there may not be much the city can do.

"The fact is thatif we have intersections that are blocked for half an hour or more at a time,it's still an unacceptable thing as far as public safety goes," Hull said.

Chuck Hull told us the Chippewa Falls police chief has written a letteron behalf of the city to the state railroad commissioner. The city hasordinances in place that prohibit trains from being stopped for longer than 10minutes at a crossing. However, the lines are controlled by the federalgovernment.

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