JOHNSONBURG – Several Johnsonburg residents attended Monday afternoon's Johnsonburg Borough Council lodging complaints against the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad for a schedule change that is disturbing nearby residents late into the night.
Concerned resident Ryan Miller of 411 Ridgway Ave. said the schedule changed at the end of April.
"They [B&P] constructed a 3/4 mile siding track at the intersection of the water plant and since the beginning of May they have switched their rail schedules and now they are switching tracks three times during the night," Miller said.
According to Miller, the trains cause the most disturbance during the coupling operations of the train cars.
"It creates such as loud noise that it either prevents you from falling asleep," Miller said, "or it awakes you from sleep as well during those operations."
Miller also noted that the Grant Street intersection can be closed off for 30 minutes to an hour at a time during the process.
"I have looked at the borough code and I believe they are violating or are potentially violating one of the codes, which is the nuisance code one, with their coupling operations," Miller said, "as well as the endangerment of the public safety of those of us who live on that side of the borough because that is our only means of getting in and out in any timely manner. If a house is on fire or someone has a heart attack there is no way for safety to get over there.
"The time that it would take to alert the train and get them to move is potentially disastrous or evenly deadly."
Police chief Bryan Parana noted that they have only received one complaint of traffic being blocked for an extended period of time since the construction of the bypass.
"They can notify the dispatch center that there is an emergency," Parana said. "Things can be done. There is also a question of whether the train is doing, this jockeying, and if that's actually construed as blocking because they are still in motions of their operations. It can be an issue."
Parana said he encourages anyone who is operating a motor vehicle at the intersection and is blocked for an extended period to call County Control at 772-0000 and speak with an operator.
Council member Ronald King said that if emergency vehicles need to get through 911 can notify the train operator and automatically break the train and pull it apart.
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.