Federal Railroad Administration to accept grants for dangerous, blocked railroad crossings

BRIDGEWATER BOROUGH, Pa. — 11 Investigates has been telling you for about a year that trains are getting longer and longer and sometimes they’ve been seen sitting for hours, blocking first responders from getting to an emergency. Now, the federal government is stepping up to help towns eliminate these dangerous crossings.

>> A prediction of disaster: Experts say it’s ‘when, not if’ for a Pittsburgh toxic train wreck

Chuck Betters has made Bridgewater Borough’s largest investment: a $60 million condo complex with a clubhouse, restaurant/bar and pool. We first met Betters in May 2023 after a train was seen blocking the crossing that runs along Mulberry Street, going into Bridgewater Crossing for hours. The fire chief told us one of his firetrucks was also prevented from leaving a fire call.

>> Trains blocking railroad crossings a major safety concern for first responders

“You can’t block crossings for four to five hours,” Better said. “That’s just total incompetency. It’s a lot of people here that you can’t just jeopardize like that.”

Betters sued Norfolk Southern after saying he called them 25 times a day to get some action. He says things are improving and the railroad crossing hasn’t been blocked for months.

“I think somebody got the message,” Betters told Channel 11.

He’s also pleased to learn the Federal Railroad Administration is accepting grant applications to eliminate dangerous, blocked crossings.

“If that means putting an overpass or underpass if the federal government is willing to do that, that’s great,” Betters said. “I have not heard that.”

Dangerous crossings include the one along Railroad Street in Creighton, where a mom says her son once climbed under a stopped train to get to his school bus - something she says will never be repeated.

“God forbid there’s an emergency,” she said. “Nobody’s coming, no firetruck, no ambulance, nobody.”

Congressman Chris Deluzio’s office says he’ll be pushing hard for eligible municipalities to apply. The grant application for eliminating those dangerous blocked crossings – runs from May through July. You can apply here.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW