Metro-east residents were upset Saturday because a train rolled through tracks that have not been used for a long time, and the crossing arms had been removed from the signals.
The O’Fallon Police Department called the CSX Corp. after a train went through O’Fallon about 7:30 a.m.
“We contacted CSX, who advised that although the tracks are out of service for normal usage, there may be times when they are used. In those events the train will slow/stop and other CSX personnel will manually block the tracks. Officers confirmed this is what occurred, as CSX had flares out, as well as personnel stopping traffic as the train cleared the crossings,” the O’Fallon Police Department reported on its Facebook page.
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Rob Doolittle, a spokesman for CSX based in Jacksonville, Fla., confirmed that employees were asked to monitor crossings and flares were put out to alert motorists in the metro-east.
“Residents’ safety is our highest priority,” Doolittle said.
A second announcement from the O’Fallon Police Department said that CSX may have trains in the area for the next two weeks with a train about every other day. The company said the train cars are being moved “out east for storage.”
Doolittle did not have the upcoming schedule for CSX trains in the area.
Dan Davis, of Mascoutah, spotted a train crossing Main Street in Summerfield at 10:40 a.m. on tracks that had not been used in several months. His video and photographs show that the crossing arm has been removed from the signals.
“I am concerned because I have two grandchildren living in Summerfield who cross the tracks to go to the village park,” Davis said in a statement to the News-Democrat.
A flare had been placed on the roadway in front of the railroad track crossing as the train went through Summerfield.
Davis said he remembers seeing signs on the tracks that said “tracks out of service.” But he said those signs were not present Saturday morning.
I am concerned because I have two grandchildren living in Summerfield who cross the tracks to go to the village park.
Dan Davis of Mascoutah
Several O’Fallon residents responded to the police department’s Facebook announcement and commented that residents should have been warned about the trains and that all signal arms should be activated.
The Venita Drive overpass over CSX tracks in O’Fallon cost nearly $7 million and opened in O’Fallon in July 2015. A month later, trains stopped using the tracks.
CSX has told the federal government it is not abandoning its tracks in the metro-east but is discontinuing regular use of the tracks.