North Jacksonville residents frustrated over stopped trains, traffic

The stopped trains can last for minutes to hours.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -  Living near train tracks comes with a price. For many residents, that price is the noise, but for folks in North Jacksonville, it's the stopped trains and the traffic that comes with it.

“It’s one after the other," homeowner Paul Absher said.

Paul Absher is used to hearing trains constantly pass by his home along Old Kings Road in North Jacksonville.

“I’ll sit right here and listen to them all the time, " Absher said.

The frustrated homeowner said the growing taillights is becoming more of a concern.

“I’ll be sitting there on the porch and traffic be backed up all the way down Old Kings," he said.

As a result, cars are blocked in both directions, from trains not only passing through, but coming to a complete stop. Sometimes it only lasts a few minutes, other times longer.

“One day, it held us for about an hour and 20 minutes without moving, yeah it stopped, " Absher said.

Neighbors said with a nearby bridge under repair and multiple rail crossings between Trout River Boulevard and Civic Club Drive, drivers have no other option but to sit and wait. However, the standstill traffic is too much for some.

“Then people come around the corner here trying to beat it to the next one, a lot of times, it’s so long, even if they get down there, they’re backed up,” said homeowner Woodrow Warren Higginbotham.

First Coast News set up along Trout River Boulevard to witness the traffic firsthand. We captured a few trains holding up traffic, one coming to a complete stop for minutes. However, minutes was all it took for one man walking nearby to lose his patience and climb up and over a stopped train.

“I mean you can’t get across to get over to US-1 and if you’re on that side you can’t get over on this side.”  Absher said.   

Rob Doolittle, a spokesman with CSX told First Coast News, "There is a junction with another railroad in the area you referenced, (Trout River Boulevard/Moncrief-Dinsmore Road) where CSX trains may be forced to stop if they do not have clearance to safely cross the tracks."

"Our goal is to minimize these instances whenever we can, but they are not always avoidable, and we apologize for the inconvenience that those events cause to residents," Doolittle said.

Neighbors along Trout River Boulevard understand that the trains do have to change tracks around there, which will cause some delays, but believe there’s only one real solution to the problem.

“I’d love to see an overpass put in here somewhere so we can get across these tracks, I mean we’ve got to get across these tracks," Absher said.

“I’d be glad to sell them my land right here beside the railroad so they can put it across here,” Higginbotham said.

Neighbors know an overpass is unlikely, but while they can live with the noise, they say trains coming to a halt needs to stop.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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