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March 18, 2014 / Ang

Train Tangent Tuesday

So, fun fact: I live roughly one tenth of a mile (if that) from the local railroad.

This fun fact, while completely random and great for that reason, can drive me crazy at times. Hear me out, I understand that the railroad probably benefits my community somehow. Honest, I swear that I’m open-minded about this. If anyone wants to let me know what some of these benefits might be I’ll seriously have a conversation with you about it. I’ve been considering looking it up online but I’m afraid that I wouldn’t see anything that actually has an impact but propaganda from Norfolk Southern. I will admit, however, that a part of me is really tempted to look up said propaganda just to see what it is and maybe have a few laughs. Because, well, propaganda is oh so silly. And propaganda interests me for academic purposes… </nerd>

Now, for my soapbox: I HATE TRAIN TRAFFIC. I feel as though there should be regulations of some sort and the town should be well-informed of the hours that they might run into a train if they don’t take a different route. My town is literally bisected by the railroad. Unless you take the highway that goes AROUND town there is NO chance of your getting to your location unless you want to go somewhere on the half of town you’re already in when that train goes through. And if you happen to have the misfortune to be on the block nearest the tracks when those annoying little life-saving red-flashing bars go down: Have fun sitting there until further notice. There is NO WAY AROUND IT. You’re stuck. If you’re lucky, you’ll notice the train before you start down that block and you can hop on a road that takes you to the highway to avoid it. That’s if traffic doesn’t block the access to those roads – because sometimes the traffic is seriously backed up about a mile due to trains. I wish I were kidding you.

I figured out what they mean by being from “the wrong side of the tracks.” You can’t access your house for a good ten minutes or so just because you’re trying to cross a railroad track. In this case: They’re talking about me. I consider my friends’ house that is literally next to the railroad track to be “on the wrong side” too because I’ve been stopped mere feet from the driveway by a train that I didn’t dare race.

Other railroad annoyances:

  • I recognize that the middle of the night is probably one of the best times for the trains to go past, and if all I had to hear was the motor or the cars going past I would gladly deal with it. In fact, I might even be comforted by the sound – I’m fairly certain I did when I lived not much further from the tracks but on the other side. However, there are whistles. Someone please explain to me how it’s not a violation of noise ordinances for the train to go through the middle of town with the whistle going for a few minutes straight at 3 AM. Seriously. Shouldn’t that be against rules somehow? I don’t want to keep being on the verge of falling asleep or already asleep then hear that whistle. It’s SO annoying.
  • They also ruined our main road. For the longest time we had massive pot holes in the middle of our town that we had to avoid at all costs. We swerved, practically off the road, for the sole purpose of not damaging the undercarriage or struts as we drove over the railroad tracks. Then, they “fixed” the road over the summer. Do you know how they fixed it? No, they didn’t pull up the railroad and replace the ties then repair the pavement while they had traffic closed off in the middle of town for a week or two. They laid the new tracks over the old ones and put just enough asphalt to hold them in place. You were pretty much guaranteed to have the railroad track practically against your undercarriage if you had a low-lying vehicle. Our town wound up having to pay to put extra asphalt in to build a ramp in both directions so that it was less harsh on your car. Remind me how that’s fair. Please.

 

And now, I have completed my tangent. I’ll leave you with the thought that I’m from the wrong side of the tracks.

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