Edmond, Okla — For the first time since a new law was passed, a City in Oklahoma will be taking a railroad company to court for allegedly blocking an intersection for too long.
This comes after the Edmond Police Department wrote tickets for two different trains.
The City of Edmond says trains stopped on the tracks near downtown frequently cause problems for drivers.
“We typically get a lot of complaints about trains stopping, blocking intersections,” said Casey Moore, a spokesperson for the city. “Usually when the trains stop in Edmond, they can block anywhere between five to seven crossings, and we have 11 in our community.”
Police in Edmond say both times they wrote tickets, trains were stopped longer than 20 minutes.
Moore says trains have stopped much longer in the past.
“We’ve had some stoppages over time that literally have lasted 20-30 hours,” Moore said.
Under the new law, trains can’t block a road for more than 10 minutes, or else they could get a $1,000 fine.
But there are some exceptions, like stopping for an emergency, waiting for another train to pass or to switch tracks.
“What this could do, it could give other municipalities an opportunity to look and see how this case goes if other municipalities decide to go forward from there,” said Sarah Terry-Cobo from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
It isn’t your average ticket.
Now that it’s been sent to the corporation commission, the case will go before an administrative law judge on August 28.
The judge will give a recommendation to the three commissioners who will vote on fining the company, BNSF.
If the company is fined, it can appeal it with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
“Our biggest hope is that we can partner with the railroad and come up with a better long-term solution here in our community,” Moore said.
If you get caught behind a stopped train at an intersection, you can call local law enforcement on their non-emergency number.
Local police, sheriff’s offices and highway patrol are the only agencies that can write tickets.
Story by Connor Hansen for okcfox.com