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April 24, 2013 - 10:02pm

Repairs to CSX crossings in western part of the county have emergency responders concerned

posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, CSX railroad.

Emergency responders in Genesee County are feeling a little stress tonight over what is apparently an unexpected closure of six railroad crossings on the CSX line that stretches east and west along Route 33.

Reportedly, a contractor is replacing railroad ties and the crossings at Wortendyke, Upton, Wilkinson and Colby roads and Ellinwood Avenue have been torn up and are unpassable as a result.

The work means that fire departments that have portions of their districts south of the CSX line -- Batavia, East Pembroke and Corfu -- cannot easily and quickly get to some portions of their districts. Darien is cut off from a northern portion of its district. If Pembroke, Indian Falls and Alabama were needed in some southern parts of the county, their response times could be delayed.

Mutual aid from neighboring fire departments is often critical in emergency situations, and right now the Alexander and Darien fire departments are facing the possibility that vital emergency mutual aid could be delayed until the crossings are repaired.

The crossing closures could also impact response times for Mercy EMS and local law enforcement.

We have a call into the nighttime media contact for CSX but have yet to receive a call back.

According to a dispatch supervisor, the county was not notified until this morning about the closures and told the roads would reopen tonight. When troopers and deputies went to the confirm the closures, contractors said the closures will remain in effect until at least the morning, and possibly longer if the rain continues.

"We all understand they need to do the work," dispatcher Gary Diegelman said. "It's just the manner they're doing it that is concerning."

UPDATE Thursday, 6:30 a.m: A deputy informs dispatch that he spoke with the work crew and is informed the crossings will be closed all day and possibly into tomorrow.

UPDATE Thursday 8:55 a m.: Upton and Snipery have reopened.

Bernie Fix
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Fargo road crossing is closed also

andre miller
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They have been closed since tuesday....Its a real pain and no one was notified. It has been kinda scary that CSX has taken over the town all of a sudden and no one knew why. I mean did that have to do all of them at once!?

Bob Heininger
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Like any other business, CSX needs to minimize its costs. It's obviously more efficient to maintain a group of crossings in one area during short time span than it is to stretch it out over a longer period, at greater expense, only to reduce some minor traffic inconveniences.

And besides. Imagine the uproar if a train derailed at one of these crossings due to lack of maintenance. A lynch mob would be hunting for candidates for a public hanging.

Lisa Falkowski
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I agree with the cost effectiveness and the concern for the safety of lives, but with all of the technology today, it would have taken seconds to notify folks in the community - who would notify folks, etc., including emergency equipment and law personnel. CSX should have considered this and worked in conjunction with the local community. How about if someone just this side of the tracks was having a heart attack or stuck inside a burning house and emergency personnel doubled their response time (or longer) because they had to re-route? ..."lynch mob...public hanging..." No one is an island. CSX was selfish.

Lisa Falkowski
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P.S. - For those who live in the far East of West Batavia, Alexander, Darien, Corfu area, getting home is a bear if you are no aware of the closings - we encounter many crossroads and have to go far out of our way to get home. Not that it can't be done, but if we'd known in advance, an alternate route could have been figured.

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