HUBBARD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) — A train was blocking an intersection in Hubbard Township on Monday.
A Norfolk Southern train had been blocking the intersection of OH-304 and Seifert-Lewis Road since about 10 a.m. According to ODOT, the road was back open as of 4:50 p.m.
Hubbard trustee Rick Hernandez said he was told the conductor was at his limit for how many hours he could travel.
“I mean, should’ve known if you’re getting close to that. You don’t just jump out of the train and park and look for another conductor while to tie up all this traffic,” Hernandez said.
When asked where the current conductor was, Hernandez said, “That’s a good question.”
A man who was headed into work on Monday was stopped by the train.
“I always pride myself on being early to work. So I was on my way to work to be there 15 minutes early and run across this train sitting on the tracks,” said Ed Wittenauer.
Wittenauer said he works about 500 feet on the other side of the tracks. When we spoke to him, he had been waiting almost an hour.
“Waiting on the train to go by because there’s people in that mill over there counting on me to do a job,” Wittenauer said.
Hernandez learned about the issue from a resident. He said trains have been stopped before but the problem has never been this bad.
“You could be stuck for a half hour, sometimes an hour but they’ll get moving. This, my understanding, is a six-hour wait and that’s uncalled for,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said different routes for first responders would take them much longer to get around.
“If time is of the essence, that’s uncalled for,” Hernandez said.
He said Hubbard can ask Norfolk Southern to build a bridge over the tracks but Hubbard can’t make it mandatory for the company to do so.
After acknowledging the crew timing out, Norfolk Southern released the following statement Monday night.
We never want to inconvenience a member of the community with a blocked crossing. Our railroad plays a vital role in the nation’s supply chain, helping to move the goods that power our economy and reach store aisles and home doorsteps. We are working hard to keep our trains moving efficiently and minimize these types of impacts – while prioritizing safety and within regulations governing our crews. We continue to value our dialogue with local officials on local solutions that benefit the community.