Three Notch railroad crossing experiencing sporadic malfunctions

Published 8:15 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

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The railroad crossing arms dropped down at Three Notch Street and Montgomery Street on Friday, prompting a response from Troy police.

Normally the arms would not warrant a police response, but this time there was a problem – there was no train coming.

And Friday was not the first instance of the issue at that specific crossing.

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“We have responded there 8 to 10 times in the past 30 days,” said Troy Police Chief Randall Barr. “When the arms go down, it ties up our resources; we have to send someone out to redirect traffic around that area until CSX can get somebody down there to fix it.”

On Friday, the arms suddenly began working again by themselves when police arrived, but that’s not always been the case. Barr said there have been multiple instances that police had to remain to direct traffic while waiting on CSX to respond, which could take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

“It’s pretty easy with that crossing for local people to navigate around it,” Barr said. “ But if you’re not familiar with that area, it’s a little more difficult. And that’s a U.S. Highway there that it crosses with a lot of trucks. It’s not easy for them to navigate around that crossing to take an alternate route.”

Barr urged residents not to travel through the crossing even if it seems clear that the arms have come down inadvertently.

“I would not advise anybody to go across that track if those arms are down,” Barr said. “Take an alternate route and contact police if we are not already there. Never assume anything going across those tracks – that’s kind of like going through an intersection at a red light; it’s taking a huge risk.”

Once officers arrive, they may direct some traffic to come through the crossing, which Barr said is safe at that point as police officers are able to make contact with CSX to ensure no train traffic is in the area before letting drivers through.

“Just err on the side of caution and the police will try to alleviate it as soon as possible,” Barr said.

Efforts to reach CSX for comment were unsuccessful, but Barr said technicians have made several changes and attempts to remedy the issue without any success so far.

“They’re as frustrated as we are because they can’t replicate the problem and they haven’t been able to isolate what’s happening yet,” Barr said. “It’s completely sporadic when it does it; there’s no specific time or circumstance that we’re aware of that causes it to come down.”