Slow-moving trains cause traffic delay in East St. Louis

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by Lauren Trager / News 4 | @LaurenTrager

KMOV.com

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 12:09 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 23 at 12:09 AM

(KMOV) -- Getting stuck in traffic for just 15 minutes can be maddening, but how about waiting more than two hours behind a train that’s barely moving?

Commuters told News 4 that it’s become a new reality for them.

“It’s just unacceptable,” said Mary Duncan.

Duncan has come to dread her commute from St. Louis to Belleville through East St. Louis: all because she never knows when a train’s wheels will halt hers.

“When it’s this cold it’s bad, sitting in the car two and a half hours, that’s bad,” she said.

Our camera caught a big back up Wednesday as dozens of cars waited for a train to pass by.

Duncan is uneasy about waiting when she’s alone.

“You’re sitting alone in the car, it’s dark, you’re a woman by yourself,” she said.

But the tracks cut through the city, so there’s no way around even in emergencies.

“If the railroad is tied up because of a train that could be a life,” said East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks.

Mayor Parks says although it’s rarely more than half an hour, the gridlock has gotten worse in the past several months. He’s tried talking to the train companies, but says they aren’t getting the signal.

An ordinance already on the books makes it illegal for a train to block an intersection more than twenty minutes, but Mayor Parks says they’ve rarely enforced it, until now.

“We do think it’s worth writing the tickets,” Mayor Parks said.

If ticketed, the train companies could face major fines. They couldn’t be reached for comment. 

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