KEYSER - The City of Keyser is working with representatives of CSX to help eliminate the problem of trains blocking both entrances to the city's North End.
By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The City of Keyser is working with representatives of CSX to help eliminate the problem of trains blocking both entrances to the city’s North End.
Since the new Memorial Bridge was built without an emergency escape route for the mostly residential area, residents of that area have been asking how the city would handle an emergency should it occur when the two crossings are blocked by a train.
On at least two occasions this summer North End residents have taken to social media to complain about a train blocking access to that end of town.
When they were in office, former city council member Karol Ashenfelter, herself a resident of the North End, and former city administrator Randy Amtower both said they had attempted to contact CSX - to no avail.
Friday, however, mayor Damon Tillman, city administrator Buck Eagle and council member Terry Liller met with CSX regional field support manager Jason Bishop to discuss the issue.
It was the second of two meetings between the city and representatives of CSX; the first meeting involved trainmaster Jason Kight.
Friday, Bishop told the officials that if the trains need to be stopped, they are being directed to stop outside the city. If they are going west, they are to stop in the area of the Keyser Industrial Park, and if going east, the stopping point is the approximate vicinity of where the Z Tower used to be located along Piedmont Road (Route 46).
“They know they’re not supposed to block the railroad crossings,” he said.
Tillman noted that there may be times when the trains do stop on the crossings, “but it’s not on purpose.”
And while Tillman noted that the previous administration had said they couldn’t get in touch with anyone from CSX to discuss the issue, Bishop said he learned about the concerns by reading about it in the newspaper.
Tillman said now that city officials have been able to meet with the CSX representatives, he feels that everyone is on the same page.
“We’re working together,” he said. “We appreciate CSX working with us.”
Bishop assured Tillman that CSX would work with the city any way it can.
“We want to be a good neighbor,” Bishop said.
Bishop also noted that all railroad crossings, including the ones at North Main and East streets, have an emergency notification sign with a telephone number anyone can call for help.
“If you have a concern, we have a program called ‘Tell CSX,’” he said, adding that the public can also contact CSX through their website.