When we wrote about the need for cooperation to fix the substandard railroad crossings in the county a couple of days ago, we didn’t realize at the time that the city of Brunswick also had railroad tracks that were in dire need of maintenance.
Getting that work done by the appropriate parties that own the tracks, in this case CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway, hasn’t been a fruitful endeavor according to city commissioner Johnny Cason.
“They don’t do routine maintenance at all,” Cason told The News. “They’ll give you lip service and then it doesn’t get done.”
The commissioner said that nearly every railroad crossing in the city is in bad condition, but some are in worse shape than others. The crossings Cason specifically pointed out were the tracks near Greenwood Cemetery and City Market dock.
City engineer Garrow Alberson backed up Cason’s complaints, describing the city’s railroad crossings as “poor, at best.” The need for repairs isn’t a secret either, as Alberson told us he “calls them pretty regularly, every several weeks to remind them the crossings are here and they need care.”
Complaints have also reached Brunswick Mayor Cornell Harvey’s desk, everything from asking to remove abandoned tracks in the city limits to damage caused to vehicles from poorly maintained crossings.
There are two common denominators to the railroad woes in our area — CSX and Norfolk Southern. The county and the city have both been diligent in informing both entities of the issues that are happening on the railroad tracks. Neither government has the authority to fix the problems on their own. They are dependent on CSX and Norfolk Southern to maintain the crossings.
It seems, judging from the actions of both companies, that neither is particularly interested in doing the right thing and fixing the problems. Temporary fixes have taken place in the past, but they haven’t been effective.
Permanent repair work needs to be done to several crossings and abandoned tracks should be eliminated. Everyone knows what needs to be done, but the entities in charge of actually doing it don’t seem too interested in putting in the work.
We know that CSX and Norfolk Southern are two big companies that are responsible for a lot of railroad tracks, but this isn’t a new problem. It has festered for years because neither has taken the time to do what’s right and permanently fix the issues at hand.
If that doesn’t change in the future, the city and county should examine if a legal solution will finally get the ball rolling. It shouldn’t have reached this point, but it’s time to put pressure on CSX and Norfolk Southern to do the right thing.