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11/18/06-Troup

Train Blocks East Texas Man From Getting To Hospital

An East Texas mayor wants trains to stop blocking traffic on the city's main road and preventing emergency vehicles from getting through.   Just this afternoon, a man needed to get to a hospital, but a stopped train was blocking the crossing on Highway 110 in Troup.   The hospital had to send a helicopter instead.

All day Union Pacific traveled through East Texas promoting safety at train crossings. Instead, the main issue in Troup became why a Union Pacific train was stopped at a crossing for more than alf an hour.

"From my understanding, from what the crew on the ground, it was not an emergency situation from Union Pacific," said Troup Mayor Jon Whitsell. "In fact it was a situation where they were waiting for another train to come back that was about an hour behind them."

During that time, a Troup resident suffered a severe hand injury and needed to get to a hospital, but the ambulance could not get to him.  Mayor Whitsell confronted Union Pacific about the problem he says he sees too often.

"We had to have an ambulance sit here with its sirens on before your people realized," said Whitsell. 

Troup residents say they often have to wait for a train while driving through town.  "Sometimes it's really long," said Yvonne Arnold. "They change tracks here. It takes a long time."

"What if my daughter got hurt and I couldn't get her across the track to take her to the hospital," said Kathy Crumby. "I mean that's ridiculous." 

A Union Pacific spokesperson says when it was notified of the emergency today, the train immediately moved.

"We are inviting the public if they are ever in any shape or form inconvenience by a blocked crossing to call our 1-800 number," said Union Pacific spokesman Joe Arbona. "That will allow us to contact that train at that crossing to allow the cars to go by."

Whitsell says he just hopes something will be done to prevent today's incident from happening again.  

Union Pacific  says it will sit down with the city of Troup and discuss ways to prevent blocking traffic at that intersection.

Molly Reuter, Reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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