Public Service Commission files formal complaint against three railroad companies

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 11:04 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s been more than a year since Hall County residents first tried to make a change with the railroad companies who park near Grand Island. Some say they would call and get hung up on when they complained about the trains blocking intersections for hours. Now the state is getting involved and people are hopeful that change is on its way.

“We hadn’t heard anything so I wasn’t really sure where this was going, if it was falling on deaf ears or if we were going to get some response out of this,” Pamela Lancaster, Hall County Board Chair told Local4 News. “I’m very, very pleased that we’ve had this much satisfaction.”

The Public Service Commission just filed a formal complaint against three railroad companies; Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and the Nebraska Central Railroad. The decision came just months after they hosted a public hearing for people to voice their concerns.

“We took testimony, it was nearly a day long hearing, we heard from neighbors of these crossings,” Public Service Commissioner Mary Ridder said. “We heard from police, sheriff, fire department, education, emergency management. We had a lot of people come in and give testimony about the problems.”

People said in the meeting that the trains would block intersections for hours at a time. This often led to children crawling between train cars to get to school. It also caused an inconvenience for not only regular drivers, but even EMTs trying to get to an emergency.

“The biggest issues were the life safety issue of our children and the other constituents here in Hall County,” Lancaster said. “The Public Service Commission heard us.”

The railroad companies have 20 days to respond to the complaint. Local4 News will continue to follow this story and bring updates as they become available.

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