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Railroad Crossing Closures Worry Residents

Railroad Crossing Closures Worry Residents



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Sam Penrod ReportingDozens of Utah county homeowners have been put on alert: Their driveways that include private railroad crossings are closing. That has a lot of those people worried. It's the only way in and out of their property.

Many of the crossings haven't been used in years and residents rarely even see a train on the track, but notices were still posted at several homes where people have lived for decades, leaving the residents wondering if their driveway is about to be closed for good.

John Abbott, Homeowner: "It's an event when we see a train come through. Everybody stops and watches it go by because you don't see them too often anymore."

John Abbott has used the small crossing to get in and out of his home for years, but in October a sign was posted saying his crossing would be closed on December 22nd. He's been calling an 800 number for weeks, but got no assurance if his crossing would stay open.

John Abbott, Homeowner: "They are basically there just to take your name and number and give it to the people that make the decisions; and I have yet to hear anything from anyone who makes the decisions."

The railroad sees the small private crossings as a safety hazard and Union Pacific is in the middle of a national campaign to close as many of these crossings as it can. Union Pacific hired an out of state company to post the signs and help get the crossings closed. But while doing this story, we discovered Union Pacific doesn't even own this line anymore. The railroad sold it to UTA in 2002.

Justin Jones, UTA Spokesman: "We are going to take care of this and make sure Union Pacific doesn't close crossings on UTA's railroad."

UTA bought the line and right of way for future expansion of public transportation, but still allows Union Pacific to use it.

Justin Jones, UTA Spokesman: "We are going to work with them to make sure they understand the limits to their contractual agreement with UTA and make sure these crossings stay open."

So now dozens of people wondering if the crossing to their property is going to be closed in another twelve days won't have to worry anymore.

John Abbott, Homeowner: "You don't know how many times I've driven into our driveway the last month and a half and looked at that sign, wondering if I'm not going to be able to get into my driveway anymore. This is just wonderful news."

UTA plans to hold a conference call with Union Pacific tomorrow morning to try and sort all this out. UTA says it could be another 20 or 30 years before they plan to put this particular line into use for public transportation.

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