I wonder how many Bessemer residents and visitors were frustrated yesterday as a train sat on the tracks blocking 14th St (Highway 150), and every street up to and past 23rd. Usually this is not a big problem (unless your house is on fire) but yesterday this happened at 5:00 pm and the roads were blocked for more than 20 minutes. Five o'clock is rush hour, and yes, Bessemer has one.
That photo was taken at 5:04. I had sat in traffic, and gone into the convenience store, made a purchase, before taking this picture, so I know the train had been there at least 5 minutes.
I have been told that state law says a train can only block a road for 10 minutes. I was told the railroad can be fined. I wonder if they can be fined for each road they block. The city needs some money.
This picture was taken from the intersection in front of my house, after I got home. Train still sitting there at 5:15.
I called the police non-emergency number and asked what the law said. The person who answered the phone said she was on the phone with the railroad at the same time trying to find out what was going on. From that, I assume they know which railroad it was.
I heard a train whistle a couple of minutes later. I went outside and took another picture.
This picture shows another train, moving in the opposite direction, passing the stalled train. This photo was taken at 5:20.
If you remember, when Glenn Shadix's house in Bessemer burned, trains blocked some of the fire trucks and they were delayed in their response (Glenn told me this).
I understand that trains sometimes have to stop where there are double tracks to allow another train to pass.
What I don't understand is why an overpass has never been build so that heavily traveled Highway 150 will not be blocked like this. City officials in the past have from time to time suggested such an improvement, but no one has taken it to the state and gotten it approved, I guess.
It's time to work on that.
Now, let's talk about trains stopping in Bessemer with the engine in front of Church's Chicken and the train engineer getting out and walking over to get his chicken. His lunch break sure does inconvenience a lot of people.