A Mile-Long Parked Train that Cuts a Town in Two

There’s a problem, you see, a problem in River City…a problem that extends throughout this great big land of ours. It’s railcars. I read today in the WSJ that many small towns are battling a new scourge: miles and miles of unused, stored freight train cars that cut many communities in half.

And worse, many of the old tall freight cars are bright yellow and bear profane grafitti on their faded and peeling exteriors! Imagine a school yard where the kids have to look at out cursing blocking cars for months on end!

New Castle, Indiana has it bad. Here a short line that once connected an automobile manufacturer supplier has been abandoned, they shut down the plant. So the Union Pacific is storing a mile-long train of empty cars on this line that goes as close as ten feet from some houses. The locals complained…but were told that the railroad has every right to keep its cars on their tracks, after all that’s what the tracks were built for. The man who collects the rent from the railroad for storage answered this way: “The railroad has been there a lot longer than when they bought their houses.”

The problem nationally is being felt all over the west. Where once the railroads had 5000-8000 cars resting out of service, now they’ve got 48,000 idle cars. There’s just not enough shipping business to use them, so they sit, making neighbors mad.