CSX stalling trains on Duval County railroad crossings became such a joke in 2017 that at least one parody twitter account was spawned.
However, a discussion this week between FDOT and the mayor of Baldwin, a city in Duval County, reveals that the worst may be over.
If true, this is good news. Late in 2017, there were so many citations written on the “precision railroading” company that the city of Jacksonville and CSX had an “arrangement” to pay a few citations and junk the rest — a salutary legal arrangement that most scofflaws will never enjoy.
“CSX noted that in the past three weeks they have changed their operations using a utility switch man and this should reduce some of the blockage time. The mayor will monitor the complaints and let us know if this changed reduced the amount of time trains block the roadway,” asserted Doreen Joyner-Howard, FDOT’s District Freight, Logistics and Passenger Operations Manager, in an email to other FDOT officials.
The email adds that “there have been times when the train was stopped and blocking the state road for well over an hour.”
These have been blamed on “equipment failure” or “reported trespassing,” which “requires the engineer to walk the entire length of the train.”
“CSX has been building more and longer trains in the Baldwin Yard due to the change in operations and efficiencies planned and executed with their new executive team,” the email asserted, though it’s unclear whether that will solve or aggravate the problem.
Also discussed: traffic backups on U.S. 301 during the Irma evacuation.
Short answer: rail traffic had priority, per the email: “It was noted that CSX was also working to evacuate their trains/cargo out of the state of Florida with hazardous materials as a priority.”