Investigation digs into issue with sitting trains, wait-time complaints, concerns
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Trains are an essential part of our economy, moving items we need and want across the U.S. But the reliance on rail also creates a nationwide issue in which trains can cause injuries and deaths and delayed emergency responses, simply by sitting still.
12 News reporter Branden Stitt worked with our national investigative team to break down where sitting trains cause the most problems in Wichita. Investigate TV dug deep into the issue with stopped trains blocking crossings for hours, sometimes days. In 2019, the Federal Railroad Administration began collecting complaints about blocked crossings in a public database. 12 News pulled that data for Wichita and broke down where the highest complaint areas are. With states having little to no authority over railroads, the question remains: Will the issue ever be fixed?
Since 2019, 277 total complaints have been filed within Wichita, 263 of which were because of stationary trains blocking a street. The worst areas are 21st Street near Broadway, with 54 complaints; MacArthur near K-15, with 36; then 37th Street near Hydraulic, with 32 complaints. There are no state or federal agencies that can do anything about it.
“Legally, we do not have the authority to respond to even an egregious situation of blocked crossings,” U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.
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