Local Leaders Meet With Railroad Officials To Improve Communication And Preparedness Efforts

DUNKIRK –  Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and local leaders met with railroad officials from CSX and Norfolk Southern, under the coordination of Congressman Tom Reed, to discuss issues railway companies face with railroads.
CSX and Norfolk Southern are the two largest railroad operators in Chautauqua County. Borrello said this meeting allowed officials from both sides to work towards solutions for issues that can impact county residents. “In addition to addressing safety and convenience concerns, it is also my intention to lead an effort to improve the look of the many train bridges that are located in high visibility areas like those in Dunkirk and Silver Creek” said Borrello.
The meeting was also used to improve communication between the two railroads and local leaders, especially during times of an emergency. Pomfret Highway Superintendent Jude Gardner said the meeting was very successful. “Many good questions were asked concerning the safety of homes and communities which are sometimes blocked off from help during emergency situations because of a passing train,” said Gardner.
Ripley Supervisor Doug Bowen agreed with Gardner about the meeting. “We learned things we didn’t know (about the railroad), such as the problems with uncoupling a train…it was good to put faces to names with the people we contact at the railroad.”
Leaders also discussed the usage of safety tools, such as AskRail and Operation Lifesaver, as a way to improve communication.
AskRail is a smartphone app that allows fire chiefs and EMS personnel to see the contents of a fright train, along with information about the materials that are being transported in each car. This allows first responders to make the best decision when responding to a railroad emergency.
On the other hand, Operation Lifesaver is a public safety education and awareness organization that works to reduce collisions, fatalities and injuries at railroad crossings, and prevent trespassing on or near railroad tracks.
Chautauqua County Legislator Kevin O’ Connell said he was very pleased by the communication between leaders and railroad officials during this meeting. “I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to work with them in dealing with our mutual concerns” O’Connell said.
The public can find more information about Operation Lifesaver at www.oli.org.