Trains causing headaches for Sheffield residents and motorists

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SHEFFIELD, Ala. – Frustration among residents is growing. Even those who travel through the Colbert County city of Sheffield are getting upset.

If you live in the Sheffield Village or Rivermont, Douglas Street is your friend. It can get you to the shopping districts pretty quick.

But over the last several weeks, numerous trains have come to a complete stop at the crossing.

Mayor Ian Sanford, Sheffield

“Part of the frustration is you don’t know, even if a train is moving, how long is it going to be,” Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford explained.

Sanford is just as upset as the residents. He too has been caught sitting at intersections for extended amounts of time.

“I have been one, I didn’t know, so I make a U-turn to go find another route and in my rearview mirror I see the train crossing the tracks opening it up,” Sanford described.

Norfolk Southern has told city leaders they only stop to allow other trains to pass. But there have been occasions when crossings in the city were blocked for hours.

Mayor Sanford said as much as they would like to make a local ordinance to keep trains from blocking intersections, they can’t trump federal or state laws.

“Until someone comes up with a brilliant idea, it’s something we are going to have to live with and it is not fun,” stated Sanford. “It’s frustrating.”

Mayor Sanford said he is open to all ideas. One he is contemplating is finding a timer device to tell drivers how long the wait for the train will be.

Several years ago the idea was floated around Colbert County to move the train tracks south of Tuscumbia. Funding was never established and residents in the proposed area fought the move.