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As Rail Profits Soar, Blocked Crossings Force Kids to Crawl Under Trains to Get to School

Summary

ProPublica and InvestigateTV have reported that students in Hammond, Indiana, have had to cross dangerous train tracks to get to school for years. Norfolk Southern trains routinely sit in the middle of the town for hours, blocking all crossings, and many students have no other way to get to school. The problem is not unique to Hammond and is getting worse as trains get longer, stretching across more intersections and crossings. The Federal Railroad Administration launched a public database for complaints about blocked crossings in late 2019, and it has received over 28,000 reports of stopped trains, with thousands of dispatches from 44 states about pedestrians, including children, crossing trains. Lawmakers have attempted to curb blocked crossings by restricting the lengths of trains, and the federal government is putting $3 billion into a program designed to help alleviate the problem.

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