As one might imagine, it’s a problem when residents are essentially trapped in their neighborhood by parked trains for as long as hours at a time. It can create all kinds of problems including access to emergency services.
Overview of the problem.
Residents who live in one of the neighborhoods close to downtown Fort Worth are faced with the problem of parked trains blocking access to their neighborhood. The problem causes residents to feel trapped and even threatened because they block the only entrances and exits and not always for short periods of time. Sometimes it occurs for hours at a time and leaves the residents completely stuck with no way around the problem.
Issues of Importance
One of the major concerns is the inability of emergency workers to reach the neighborhood while the trains are blocking both of the entrances. This raises the potential for someone being seriously hurt or dying because emergency medical personnel are unable to reach him or her. While the neighborhood is not a very large one—approximately four-square blocks of about 20 homes—that doesn’t reduce the necessity of having continual access. The trains block the entrances for as long as 30-45 minutes, or longer, at a time.
For the residents who need to come and go the solution is extremely dangerous as it requires them to get on their stomachs and crawl underneath the trains in order to get to the other side and enter or exit the neighborhood. Residents and even young children routinely use this extremely dangerous method when they need to leave or return to their homes.
Other Potential Problems
One resident still crawls under the trains, even though she is nine months pregnant, because it is the only way she can get out. An 8-year-old school boy uses the method to reach his school a few blocks away because it is located on the other side of the tracks. According to the boy, “sometimes the train begins to move.”
According to Union Pacific, the operator of the tracks, the problem is caused by a large and extremely congested train interchange, which is located approximately one mile away. Reportedly, the railroad has invested $100 million on improvements that are designed to relieve the congestion. They also indicate that the project is scheduled for completion by the end of September. According to a spokesperson for Union Pacific, they are seeking alternate routes in the meantime. A spokesperson for the city of Fort Worth states there is a toll-free number residents can call if they need someone to move the trains quickly.
Issues such as this one should not be in existence because the methods Union Pacific are using put the residents of the neighborhood in danger. There should never have been a need to implement a forthcoming plan because it should have been in place from the start. Something they did not consider is the fact they may be held liable if emergency service vehicles are unable to get through to the neighborhood whether it’s for medical reasons or fire. If Union Pacific is not taking care of the matter in a timely manner, the city of Fort Worth needs to take the bull by the horns and do something about it before someone is seriously injured or dies because of trains blocking the neighborhood entrances.