Action News Jax Investigates: CSX trains making Baldwin students late for school

By: Kevin Clark , Action News Jax

Updated:

BALDWIN, Fla. - An Action News Jax investigation is showing why more local students are spending time stuck in traffic and less time in the classroom.

Parents tell us CSX trains continue to block crossings in the Town of Baldwin, making students late, in some cases nearly every day.

They say the delays have grown worse since we first told you about them back in August.

Rachel Fuller is a school bus driver. She tells Action News Jax she was delayed one hour and 45 minutes because of a stopped train Friday morning.

Fuller said her route is delayed at least once a week because of the trains.

She tells us she’s lucky compared with other bus drivers, who have to cross through the Yellow Water Road crossing.

“Almost on a daily basis,” she said.

On Friday afternoon, the crossing at U.S. 90 in Baldwin was blocked over an hour because of a train.

We saw school bus drivers, already late for pickup at Baldwin High School, turn around and take the long way to get there.

“They’re late all the time because of the trains,” said Eddie Novak, whose children ride the school bus. “They’re late all the time.”

Then, just after 5 on Friday afternoon, another train blocked the same intersection.

JSO officers were seen writing citations for the delays.

In previous investigations, we told you about how CSX cut jobs and increased the length of trains to implement Precision Railroading.

Since CEO Hunter Harrison took over, the railway has come under fire from shippers who claim that service has deteriorated.

Now under the watchful eye of federal regulators, Harrison recently issued a statement saying that CSX had improved transit times, train speed, and car-handling efficiency.

People in Baldwin just aren’t seeing it. They’re worried about the possibility of medical emergencies.

“If you have a train stuck and somebody is waiting for an hour to get important medical services, it might not save their life,” Chris Roberts said.

CSX released this statement to Action News Jax in response to the delays in Baldwin:

"CSX remains committed to being a good neighbor to the community of Baldwin. We continue to evaluate our operations there and make adjustments to minimize potential impacts to the surrounding community. Among the changes, we have moved most switching operations to the south end of the yard where there are fewer grade crossings, and we continue to closely coordinate among train crews and dispatchers to avoid blocked crossings in Baldwin.

"There are times when it may be impossible to avoid brief stops by trains entering the CSX facility in Baldwin, and unforeseen mechanical issues may also cause trains to stop. For example, this morning, a mechanical issue delayed a train entering the yard. While we cannot predict such issues, we do apologize for the inconvenience they cause our neighbors when they occur."

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