I-Team: See how drivers fight back against trains blocking town

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SPENCER, Ohio — The FOX 8 I-Team has found how drivers in a small Northeast Ohio town are fighting back against freight trains frequently stopping and blocking the main intersection in town.

They’re calling the train dispatcher and saying ‘Move it.’

It’s happening in the Medina County town of Spencer.

Months ago, the I-Team revealed the town has been frustrated because so many trains would come through and stop and block the main road.

Since then, Spencer Township Trustee Jeff Wallace put up signs. Those signs have the number to dispatch for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad.

So drivers can pull out their cell phones now and ask how long will they be delayed? And why can’t they get through more quickly?

Wallace told the I-Team, “Well, I mean, constantly blocked by trains. It’s ridiculous.” He added, “This is the one time they’ve actually done something because we’ve been bothering them. It’s like the thorn in the elephant’s foot. Start turning it little by little, and it seems to be working.”

The fire chief and others say the signs went up and delays went down.

Fire Chief P.J. Howard said, “We’ve had ambulance calls that have had to wait.”

He added, “I saw the other day when I came through here, they had split the train. It was stopped on either side of the tracks, so people could get through there.”

We called the number on the signs, and a woman started to transfer us to dispatch. We left a message for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Rail administration. No one called back.

In fact, back when we first reported on this, we went to the company headquarters for comment, and we were asked to leave.

And what’s happening here may be happening along a rail line near you, too. In two years, a state agency has collected nearly 1000 reports or complaints about trains blocking intersections. A federal agency also looking into this now nationwide.

Meantime, in Spencer, drivers are fighting back in their own way, tired of getting stopped by stopped trains.

Jeff Wallace added, “And I’m not gonna stop until I get this resolved.”

Continuing coverage.

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