Sunday, November 19, 2000

CSX repair delays irk city official

Crossings in bad shape; legal action threatened

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City Manager Steve Sorrell expressed frustration Friday at what he called CSX Corp.'s failure to follow through on an agreement to fix several damaged railroad crossings.

        “We had a field meeting with CSX representatives and had established a time frame for the completion of the repairs at numerous crossings throughout the community,” Mr. Sorrell said. “They were actually promising that they were going to bring in 85 men and 35 pieces of heavy equipment and work in an assembly line fashion and get all the crossings completed in a very short period of time.”

        A local CSX official referred comments to a spokesman at the railroad's corporate headquarters in Florida. He did not return calls.

        Mr. Sorrell said that two weeks before CSX was expected to begin repairing several railroad crossings, the railroad said it couldn't do so because most of its workers had been furloughed. As a result, the railroad agreed to do some minor repairs.

        “That is totally unacceptable to us because of the horrible condition of the crossings. And we're going to expect them to make the repairs quickly since they are in such poor condition. It's possible to have vehicular damage done at the crossings,” Mr. Sorrell said. “Some of the ones where you cross, the railroad ties are even flipping up as you run over them.”

        Larry Noll said the railroad crossing at East and Central avenues is so damaged that “when you go across there, it will shake your car to pieces.”

        Mr. Sorrell said CSX, which said it would fix about 10 crossings, had gravel and ties delivered for the job. CSX was expected to begin repairing some crossings last week, and at least one crossing next week. The Dayton Street crossing has been repaired.

        “If they are not willing to (repair the crossings), then we will take the appropriate legal action,” Mr. Sorrell said. The city cannot fix the crossings, he said, because it could be held liable.


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