Saturday, June 9, 2007

Stalled Train in Woodstock

An open letter to numerous City of Woodstock officials about the train stalled in Woodstock on Friday morning, June 8, that blocked intersections (that’s plural) for at least 80 minutes. Sent to the City Manager, Asst. City Manager, Police Chief, head of Public Works. Also to the WFRD chief and the Northwest Herald reporter of the story in Saturday’s paper…

I am not requesting anyone's time to answer the following questions to me, but I hope they are being addressed.

8:30AM Police learn of stalled train.
8:52AM I called to request a ticket be issued to the engineer for blocking intersections. Dispatcher said train had broken down. Didn't sound to me like anyone intended to ticket the engineer.
9:50AM Intersections re-opened.

Three officers on South and on Calhoun? When I drove north on Madison to South St. at 8:49AM, there was no officer. Traffic was a mess at the tunnel, on southbound Seminary, on westbound 120 at Madison.

Is there no game plan in Woodstock for this type of problem? Where was Public Works with detour signs? Where were police at other sticking points to re-route traffic? Are Public Works employees trained to assist with traffic control during this type of problem?

Is emergency equipment positioned so that this type of problem will not cause seriously extended response times? Are police trained to control traffic flow around standing vehicles so that fire trucks, ambulances and even police cars on emergency response can get past long lines of standing vehicles?

Was the problem with the engine or one of the freight cars? Was a back-up engine requested, so that freight cars could be uncoupled and pulled clear of the intersections? Are directions from the City of Woodstock to the train track users and dispatchers that, if the problem is with a freight car and not the engine, they are to uncouple cars and move clear of intersections?

If a major fire had broken out on the Square, fire equipment from the Judd St. station would have had to go out to Route 47, south at least to Lake Avenue and then fight traffic back to the Square.

How interesting to read that the 30-minute road delay for a stalled train on Wednesday did not provoke police assistance. A driver has no way of knowing how long the gates will be down. If there is no train actually blocking a RR intersection, some drivers are tempted to violate the crossing gate law and go around gates. Every delay should call for some type of motorist assistance. Just send the bill to the train operator.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

gus, after all of that time driving around town, you haven't noticed that are two fire stations in woodstock? one on each side of the tracks. pay attention dickweed.