People have been complaining for months about how BNSF trains have been parked on the railroad crossing on Highway 241 between Harlem and Turner, causing traffic delays.
Now, the railroad says it will be working with its staff and the community to ease the problems, said Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Chinook.
Warburton and GOP State Senate candidate Don Richman met with BNSF officials and a group of community residents at the crossing to discuss the problems.
Warburton said area residents told her that some people had missed weddings because the train was parked on the tracks making it impossible for cars to pass.
The road is the main thoroughfare to the Port of Climax, she said, and people have been afraid they will not make it to the port before closing time, she said.
Warburton said she was frightened to hear that some school children had been running beneath the parked trains to make it to school on time.
Construction on the tracks has made it necessary to sometimes stop trains, she said.
Among other things, she said, BNSF agreed to make sure that whenever possible, cars parked on tracks move forward to ensure that the highway is not blocked, she said.
And if the trains do block the highway, the train will be split for vehicles can pass through, she said.
Fred Karls, the railroad’s Montana ombudsman, was good to work with in coming up with solutions, Warburton said.
Karls told area residents that BNSF would ensure that Hi-Line crew members would stay in contact with the railroad’s network operations center to facilitate planning if a stop near Harlem was necessary.
Warburton, Karls and Richman advised people to contact BNSF at (800) 832-5452 if the problems re-emerge.