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Sewell sends letters to Buttigieg, Federal Railroad Administration over train blockages

Sewell’s letters came after a train in Birmingham’s West End neighborhood sat idle for nearly a week.


Tired of waiting at a railroad crossing for a train that never seems to move? Congresswoman Terri Sewell has your back. 

Sewell on Monday ramped her efforts to put an end to lengthy train delays, particularly those that have plagued her 7th Congressional District for years, by submitting formal letters to the Federal Railroad Administration and to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. 

In those letters, Sewell asked that the persistent problem be addressed sooner rather than later, and she invited Buttigieg to her district so he could see firsthand how the issue negatively “impacts small business, students and community members.” 

“Our communities in the 7th district continue to suffer from unacceptable train blockages that put public safety at risk and make life more difficult for my constituents,” said Sewell. “I am working with the Biden Administration to find long-term solutions at the federal level, but in the meantime, swift action is urgently needed to solve the current crisis. It is my hope that continued cooperation on the federal, state, and local level will prompt much-needed action.” 

Recently, in Birmingham’s West End neighborhood, a Norfolk Southern train sat idle for six days, blocking key intersections and causing a traffic nightmare for local residents. It also caused issues for local businesses. It wasn’t the first time. 

Local residents interviewed by WBRC-TV said idle trains blocking intersections was nothing new in the area, although the six days span was unusual. 

Norfolk officials said the idle train was due to logistical problems and staffing issues, which has put the railway behind schedule and delayed several trains. 

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Sewell called such blockages “unacceptable” and vowed to work with all involved to lessen them.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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