Claremore Daily Progress

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May 8, 2014

Trains, Trains and more Trains

Council discusses BNSF response to stoppages

(Continued)

CLAREMORE —

Brown said while local police departments have no authority over the railroads, he suggests the city “put pressure (on the railroad) on an ongoing and continuous basis” until they fix the problem.
“We need to make enough noise that the ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease,’” he said. “We need to put pressure on these two public affairs people. We’ve got to get people from those organizations to the table to talk to us.”
Thomas said he has tried every avenue of communication, but has received very little response.
“Time and time again, they’re going to get it fixed,” Thomas said “This is the first time I’ve gotten a written document.”
He added that a few months ago, BNSF left cars on the rail spur owned by the Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority (CIEDA) at the Claremore Industrial Park north of town.
“It took them 30 days to move them,” Thomas said. “I asked them, ‘who gave you permission to leave cars on our spur, and they basically said, ‘We’re BNSF, we can do whatever we want.’”
Not only do stopped trains tie up the police department’s resources when officers have to be sent out to direct traffic, Brown said, but they create public safety issues when law enforcement and emergency services can’t get across town.
“I would like (the council’s) assurance that I can express that you as a whole are frustrated,” Brown said. “It’s not just me.”
Councilor Will DeMier asked if the city could invite BNSF representatives to a council meeting to address the public and answer questions.
“I proposed that, councilor, and they are very fearful of coming to Claremore,” Thomas said. 
Added DeMier, “Then let them give the public a reason why they won’t be here.”
The council agreed something must be done as citizen frustration remains high.
“It’s the major complaint of our constituents,” Councilor Paula Watson said.
BNSF Public Affairs Director Joseph Faust can be reached at (817) 867-6427 or Joseph.faust@bnsf.com.

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