TRAIN TROUBLES: Hours-long train parking blocks off Forest Park community

Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 11:58 PM EDT
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FOREST PARK, Ga. (CBS46) - Just one day after Gov. Brian Kemp declared a State of Emergency over supply chain disruptions, one metro city says those supply struggles have created train troubles in its community.

Norfolk Southern faces backlash from Forest Park leaders and neighbors who say parked trains have pushed them to their breaking point.

Along Main Street, the shop Army Navy has managed to keep a loyal army of customers for four decades. But it was not until the last two months that Skip Cain says his business has been stopped in its tracks.

“Never had a problem like the trains [until] now.” Cain continued, “If it happened once or twice a month, it wouldn’t be a thing. But it’s happening two or three times a week.” Neighbors watch Norfolk Southern trains stop for hours at a time along the main thoroughfare. Residents complain the company blocks about six critical intersections which delay access to the schools, city hall, or just the heart of downtown.

“They’re not breaking or picking up, they are simply parking the train, right there.”

RELATED: Gov. Kemp declares State of Emergency as supply chain woes continue

“They don’t care what happens,” Cain added. CBS46 obtained pictures of what happens in some cases. The images show teens trying to cut through the train’s gap or some pushing their bicycles through the opening just to cross.

Plus, police, fire crews, and MARTA buses are forced to find detours, slowing response times.

“We’ve told them, this is a danger, this is a hazard,” Dr. Marc-Antoine Cooper, city manager, told CBS46 News.

Cooper confirms they’ve had meetings with Norfolk officials who say railroads have fewer staff now but more products to move around the country to address supply chain disruptions.

But Coopers and dozens of other residents cite the train as a disruption for Forest Park.

“We want to do our part to help the chain supply move forward but we also have to look out for our residents.”

Local leaders argue federal legislation needs to allow cities to issue penalties for the parking that the community feels is only getting worse.

“Anywhere between two or six hours and in some case we’ve literally had the train parked there the entire day,” Cooper explained.

Cain added, “They just have no compassion for the citizens of forest park.”

CBS46 reached out to Norfolk Southern for a statement, we are still waiting for a response.

Forest Parks officials told CBS46 they are working with state representatives to help get legislation to deter the prolonged parking.