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Stalled trains a regional concern

BENSON — The City of Benson has issued tickets to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for stalled trains that allegedly blocked the community’s downtown crossings for periods of time exceeding a 10 minute, state statue.

Benson is not alone in its frustrations with the railroad over stalled trains.

Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes told the Minnesota Department of Transportation, District 8 Area Transportation Partnership board that his community has experienced similar problems. Speaking at the ATP board’s meeting on Friday in Olivia, Byrnes said stalled trains have block intersections and the city has had difficulty getting the railroad to respond.

In at least one case, he said the city had to ask the railroad to get a crew to drive to town to move one train.

“I have a feeling it is going to get worse,’’ he told members of the ATP about the issue.

The City of Benson has expressed concerns about safety due to the lengthy period that some crossings have been blocked. The BNSF railroad is challenging the city’s authority to issue the citations in court.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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