Last week, CSX finally responded to a question about an unused spur of railroad tracks in Hagerstown by saying it’s staying.
The question came up earlier this month as The Herald-Mail looked at why school buses stop at railroad crossings that are no longer used and marked by “exempt” signs.
It turns out Maryland law requires school buses to stop at all visible tracks. “Exempt” signs don’t change anything.
City Engineer Rodney Tissue wrote in an email about one particular example: “In this case, CSX has a spur that crosses East Wilson Blvd and heads northeast across Frederick Street toward the former First Urban Fiber plant (near the baseball stadium). It has been unused for about 15 years. About two years ago, we found a recorded quit claim deed between CSX and property owners south of Wilson. It seems like CSX no longer has a right to run trains through those properties.
“Over the last two years, we have on several occasions written to CSX on this matter and we have received nothing to date. Our goal is to obtain their permission and concurrence to completely remove the crossings and possibly do something positive with the short piece of abandoned rail between Frederick and Wilson if the community so desires. Nothing can happen until CSX indicates their intentions.”
The Herald-Mail tried a few times this month to get a response from CSX.
On Dec. 5, CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan promised to investigate. Two days later, he still didn’t have any information.
Contacted again Dec. 18, Sullivan wrote back the next day: “Thank you for getting back to me on this question. CSX has no immediate plans to remove the rail from the line you referenced in Hagerstown. CSX representatives are in regular contact with officials from Hagerstown and will discuss this issue with them in the near future. Thanks.”
Asked about the frequency of communication with CSX, Tissue wrote in a subsequent email: “No one at CSX has contacted me about the crossings or our inquiries into abandoning the line since December 2011.”
We’ll leave this topic alone unless something new develops.
— Andrew Schotz
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