By Robert Nathan
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE Trains passing through town on the tracks crossing Main Street are causing more problems than the noise they make.
Nolanville residents and city officials have complained about the crossing arms that do not always open back up after a train has passed the crossing. North and southbound traffic on Main Street has been stalled for up to 30 minutes, up to five times a week, though the problem is expected to be fixed soon.
"A few times we've had to put police officers out there to put the arms up and then they direct the traffic through," City Secretary Christine Taylor said. "The only thing we have a real fear of is if we get an ambulance call or a police call on the other side of the highway."
Taylor said she receives multiple telephone calls from residents complaining about the railroad crossing every week asking if anyone is going to "fix the train."
"We're kinda stuck with the train, there is not a lot we can do about it," Taylor said. "After awhile, you get used to hearing the trains go by and then you hear the alarms and bells and you get a little more aware of it."
Nolanville resident Jim Tibbetts said the problem has been going on for many years and affects all commuters going into the town's main thoroughfare.
"There are some weeks when you don't see a problem and sometimes you see it four or five times in a week," Tibbetts said. "There is no specific time, it just happens."
BNSF Railway, a subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., operates the tracks. Officials told the Herald on Tuesday they were unaware of such a problem, but said they are now concerned that people will no longer trust the crossing arms if they are not reliable.
"I will immediately call our field operators team and inform them of this problem," BNSF spokesman Joe Faust said. "We will immediately work to correct the problem."
Faust said he doesn't know exactly what is causing the problem with the crossing arms, but suspects it could be an electrical problem because the crossing arms operate on a signal.
Councilwoman Emma McCullough has addressed her concerns about trains conflicting with Main Street traffic, because the crossing is near police and EMS headquarters. She said her previous concerns were taken care of, but the hanging crossing arms now pose a new problem.
"In our expansion, we are looking at putting a second EMS department on the other side of the highway just for that safety feature," Taylor said. "And that is in the plans later when Nolanville grows a little more."
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