YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – We’ve all gotten a lesson over the past few months of just how prolific the train traffic is through the Valley. The spotlight was put on the area after the February 3 derailment in East Palestine and most recently, the train that jumped the tracks in New Castle.
Most railroad tracks that go through our neighborhoods went widely unnoticed, until now. And how will those new observations impact where we live, work and buy property?
When it comes to real estate, there really isn’t anything in Ohio that has to be disclosed that would impact the everyday life of the resident such as an airport, railway, or even a garbage dump. Those things must be researched by the buyer and they matter.
For instance, according to the National Association of Realtors, sellers of homes within a 2-mile radius of an airport tended to see discounts of 13.2%; those living near railroad tracks saw an average of a 12.3% decrease, followed by those living near noisy highways at 11.3% decrease.
Norfolk Southern has promised to help recoup losses for homeowners in East Palestine who have lost property value because of the derailment there. While a fund is being set up, the parameters that will determine what that compensation will look like have not been disclosed. And the property value consequences in the case of derailment is a whole different topic than that of just noise concerns.
Ohio has the fifth-highest rail traffic in the country, and with the U.S. rail system in the spotlight, it makes sense to take a look around and see just how many of those 5,000 miles of track in Ohio go through the Valley.
CSX, Genesee and Wyoming, Norfolk Southern, R.J. Corman and Wheeling and Lake Erie railroads all operate in Ohio. In a map provided by the state, each company’s lines are indicated by color: Red for CSX, green for Norfolk, orange for Wheeling and Lake Erie, blue for Genesee and Wyoming and black for others.
In the Valley, CSX, Norfolk and Genesee are the major players. There is a black line that stretches from Youngstown to southern Columbiana County that would fall under the “other” category in the state map.
See the full pdf map here.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provides a Rail Crossing locator app that easily will let you know what crossings are in any given area. The information accessed in the app is derived from the FRA Safety Data website which contains information submitted by states and railroads. Using this tool is one way to help you locate railroad tracks near you.
The app will allow you to identify crossings, where to report a safety concern, send non-emergency information and access U.S. DOT crossing inventories.