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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 08, 2011, 06:48 PM

Trains causing frustration in Sanborn

Sanborn, ND (WDAY TV) - Historic high water levels here in eastern North Dakota have prompted the railroad to raise tracks and increase inspections of rails. Canadian Pacific is finishing clean up of a derailment near Kensal because of high water. And now BNSF is working near Sanborn, west of Jamestown. But the small town of Sanborn has filed a formal complaint with the railroad.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Historic high water levels here in eastern North Dakota have prompted the railroad to raise tracks and increase inspections of rails. Canadian Pacific is finishing clean up of a derailment near Kensal because of high water. And now BNSF is working near Sanborn, west of Jamestown. But the small town of Sanborn has filed a formal complaint with the railroad. The stopped trains are getting in the way of business and emergency response.

One look east of Sanborn, North Dakota, and you can see what high water can do to a rail line. Those tracks, despite being raised, are nearly underwater.

Pat Hurley – Watershed Board: “Roads that are inundated, we have lakes that are filled to the max, farmsteads flooded out and we are trying to solve those problems.”

The railroad is working with the watershed right now to lower the water level. But it is in the town of Sanborn, where train traffic has people steamed.

Terry Didier – Sanborn Businessman: “It is a meeting point for the trains, they will stop and let the east and west bound cross and it is frustrating.”

Terry Didier has a farm chemical business. And he has been keeping track of the stop time trains spend blocking all entrances and exits into and out of Sanborn.

Didier: “We have two ways in and out of town and they block them both, correct.”

Sometimes up to an hour, even more.

Didier: “Our shipments to our businesses, we cannot get our sprayers into or out of town.”

And some businesses are so frustrated with the delay they are selling T-shirts. Didier says some of his sales reps won't even come into town for fear of getting stuck here.

Didier: “We cannot move, we cannot go anywhere.”

Didier, along with the township and city of Sanborn have filed a formal complaint with BNSF, hoping the railroad solves its delay problem for the sake of public safety and commerce. People living in Sanborn say the stopped trains is an issue at night as well as during business hours.

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