WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 21, 2012, 07:52 PM

Drastic measures being taken to get trains moving in Sanborn

Sanborn, ND (WDAY TV) -- Drastic measures are being taken near Sanborn, an effort to get trains moving.

Sanborn, ND (WDAY TV) -- Drastic measures are being taken near Sanborn, an effort to get trains moving.

The Sheriff's Office is going as far as arresting train engineers stopped longer than legally allowed.

Frustrating doesn't begin to cover it for Sanborn business owner Terry Didier.

Terry Didier - Frustrated with Trains: "There's just no reason for it. They can sit outside of town."

Didier's keeping track of trains holding the town hostage stopped on the only intersection through town. He has pages of notes citing when trains roll through and how long they park. State law sets the max at ten minutes.

Don Fiebiger - Barnes County Sheriff's Office: "Traffic has to be sitting there the full 10 minutes to count."

The Sheriff's Office says it'll put in overtime for extra patrols, even arresting engineers if necessary.

Don Fiebiger: "It's a class B misdemeanor so it's a criminal charge. This is a must see the judge sort of thing."

Didier hopes this new approach will help. He says trains parked at this intersection block business, emergency services, and waste a lot of people's time.

Terry Didier: "It costs me a lot of money every hour I'm shut down."

Didier says engineers blare horns beyond what's appropriate.

Terry Didier: "I feel that they're just arrogant. They don't care. They know we're calling the authorities on them and they're trying to make our lives miserable. Is my opinion."

To Didier, a lot is banking on this possible fix. He says trains are taking a serious toll on the community.

The county is looking for federal funding for overpasses or underpasses, plus other solutions to help fix the problem.

BNSF officials say they're following the rules.

The spokeswoman says engineers follow federal horn regulations, for community safety. Plus, they're cutting back on train traffic.

She says this sort of struggle is typical, with two types of transportation competing.

So BNSF has shifted schedules, making sure too many trains don't meet in passing, when one pulls off on the side to let another go by.

Amy McBeth - BNSF Spokesperson "We do work with communities to try and really alleviate issues where there are some, and in this case we've taken steps to reduce the time we are in the siding there."

BNSF says trains only block for long periods of time when there are maintenance issues.