Arizona lawmakers want to reduce the length of trains following Ohio derailment

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services

If you’ve been stuck for minutes or hours waiting to get across railroad tracks, Arizona lawmakers are moving to provide relief.

Legislation approved Friday by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure would limit the length of trains going through the state to 8,500 feet.

And while 1.6 miles may seem like a lot, Scott Jones, a licensed locomotive engineer in Arizona, told lawmakers that the two main railroads operating in the state have been running trains a lot longer than that.

What’s wrong with that, he said, is when they have to stop to do switching operations. And he said that can leave trains on the main track extending out of the yard — and blocking traffic on both sides.

Scott cited photos of a 16,800-foot train, half of it carrying new cars and trucks to the vehicle distribution facility in El Mirage. “And they’re blocking crossings all the way down Grand Avenue,” he said, stretching as far as Bell Road to 99th Avenue in Sun City. And in the meantime, Scott said, access across the tracks at Thompson Ranch Road, including to a school and fire station, remained blocked for an hour and 20 minutes.


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February 2023