Duval County accounts for largest train delay complaints statewide

Trains can sometimes signal trouble for your commute. The problem is seen across Jacksonville and one reason behind the infamous San Marco Train Twitter account.


An Action News Jax investigation revealed Duval County made up nearly a third of all complaints about trains blocking crossings statewide.

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There were 260 total complaints in the past year according to reports from the Department of Transportation, and more than 40 blocked a first responder.

“That’s not safe at all,” Theresa Shuff said. She’s a local nurse and gets stuck behind the San Marco train for sometimes more than an hour on her way to work in San Marco. She said she’s seen ambulances get caught up in the traffic while responding to a call. “Blocking the entrance to a hospital? That’s not safe.”

Related Story: ‘It’s a mess:’ CSX train trouble blocks Baldwin neighbors for hours

According to Jacksonville ordinance, a train cannot stop at a crossing for more than five minutes. But despite hundreds of reports to the DOT, Jacksonville police have only given out a dozen total citations in the past few years.

The City of Jacksonville is currently working with the Florida DOT on a $35 million dollar project. A representative said it, “consists of upgrades to signals, switches, track, and communication systems in order to eliminate backups in the San Marco area.”

However, the delays are spread beyond San Marco. The top five problem areas include crossings at:

  • Yellow Water Road
  • Jones Road
  • Trout River Boulevard
  • Edgewood Avenue South & McDuff Avenue South
  • Emerson Street & Civic Club Drive

The complaints involved CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Florida East Coast railroads.

In a statement, CSX said in part, “Each crossing is different and blocked crossings can occur for various reasons, including shifts in customer needs, meet ups with other trains, or as a result of the dynamic demands of the supply chain at ports or other modes of transportation. CSX has invested in advanced technology to improve safety, the environment, and the efficiency of our network. With technology improvements, CSX can identify or learn of blocked crossings more quickly and work through possible solutions.”

CSX went on to say that global freight traffic is projected to increase over the next two decades, and the railroad company is partnering with communities to apply for funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act which will “modernize grade crossings or eliminate them all together.”

Read: FDOT to host open house; update on Starke railroad overpass interchange improvement project

Norfolk Southern said a variety of issues can require a train to stop, including the hours crews have worked, which is overseen by the federal government, and mechanical issues.

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“Wherever our trains experience a delay, our teams work hard to minimize the length of time we may have to occupy a crossing. Wherever there is a more acute, recurring issue, we engage with local communities to identify long-term solutions. We never want to inconvenience any member of the Jacksonville community with a stopped train,” said Senior Communications Manager Connor Spielmaker.

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