Over 30 times in 2022, Hogansville railroad crossings have been blocked by trains for over 30 minutes

Published 9:30 am Saturday, October 29, 2022

Hogansville frequently has an issue with some of the city’s railway crossings being blocked by trains.

CSX, a rail-based freight transportation company, sometimes blocks the main crossways causing grievances among residents and passersby.

Hogansville Interim City Manager Lisa Kelly said the city has always tried to work with CSX about not blocking all the crossings or at least leaving one crossing open. Unfortunately, CSX has jurisdiction, and the city has no control over it, she said.

“When we know the railroad tracks in all three crossings are being blocked or if a train sits too long on the Main Street crossing, we’ll reach out to them and try to find out how long it’ll be, what kind of timeframe we are looking at and they give us what information they can,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately, we just have absolutely no control over it.”

Michelle Hollis, who works in administration services for the Hogansville Police Department, said since the start of the year, there have been approximately 30 occurrences where a rail crossing in Hogansville was blocked. 

The breakdown by month includes at least one episode in every month where a crossing was blocked, though it appears they’ve become more frequent since June. The breakdown by month shows January (3), February (1), March (3), April (2), May (2), June (5), July (3), August (4), September (5) and October (4).

Hollis said when the blocks occur, wait times range anywhere from 30 minutes to more than four hours. She also said most of the blocks have been reported on the East Boyd Crossing. 

Kelly said the city has found that trains are getting longer because of the freight they carry.

“We have a passing lane for trains and sometimes it, unfortunately, puts them on the tracks sometimes for a while,” Kelly said. “We try to put traffic control measures in place to let people know and find alternate routes.”

She said the city also notifies the school system to let parents know the buses will be running late and that parents might be late picking up their children. 

Regarding emergency vehicles needing to pass blocked crossings, Kelly said the city tries to make sure emergency services know that they will have to go to another crossing. Shannan McLaughlin, Troup County E-911 director, said when the blocks occur on the Main Street Crossing or the Bass Cross Road Crossing, HPD reports the block to them. 

The advanced knowledge helps prevent dispatchers from sending emergency vehicles to areas that may be blocked off due to a train or a stuck semi-truck.

“If the city had control over it, we would certainly be trying to put some measures in place. All we can do is complain or try to address it with them,” Kelly said. “It’s unfortunate that we don’t but when we come from a railroad town, there’s no alternative.”

Kelly said she feels the city is kind of at the mercy of CSX.

“We make contact and ask them to work with us. Other than that, there’s really nothing that we can do,” Kelly said.

CSX was not reachable by phone for this story.