CN's Wisconsin Central appeals ruling favoring blocked-crossing ordinance

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WEYAUWEGA, Wis. — Canadian National’s Wisconsin Central Railroad subsidiary has appealed a decision that favors the city of Weyauwega's attempts to stop trains from blocking road crossings.

On Oct. 9, Waupaca County Judge Vicki Clussman ruled in favor of an ordinance the city passed preventing trains from blocking the crossings for more than 15 minutes and allowing law enforcement to hand out $750 citations for each offense. Clussman believed that the ordinance fell under exemptions in the Federal Railroad Safety Act that permit local ordinances against railroads when they come in response to a safety hazard.

Evidence presented in the legal battle, which has been ongoing since 2015, showed that long blockages of the three grade crossings in Weyauwega has hampered the city's ability to respond to emergency situations. Sometimes, a single train has blocked all three crossings for up to six hours.

Railroad officials said that the delays have been caused by crew changes, which it can't do inside of its yards because it needs to park the trains on level ground. It has appealed on the grounds that the city has no authority to pass such regulation.

The case will now be heard by the Wisconsin Appeals Court District 4 in Madison.

In 1996, Weyauwega was the site of a devastating derailment and fire when Wisconsin Central was an independently owned short line.

See the original article online.

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