FRANKFORT, Ind. — Dozens of drivers in downtown Frankfort waited more than an hour Tuesday, gridlocked in traffic as a train stalled passing through town.
”They had a malfunction with one of their trains and most of our intersections were blocked up to an hour,” said Frankfort Police Deputy Chief James Skinner.
Skinner said it happened around lunchtime.
“We had a lot of citizens who were concerned,” said Skinner. “They were frustrated, they were calling police, they were calling the mayor’s office.”
He said the problem was made even worse because recent construction has pushed more semis looking for alternate routes into Frankfort.
”We were trying to help truck drivers who were coming through here who were not familiar with the territory,” Skinner said.
Bill McCollum runs McCollum TV and Appliances right next to the train tracks on Jackson St. He said the delay caused him to miss a shipment.
”Those are very important because some of that stuff we’ve waited months on,” McCollum said.
He said this just adds onto to the supply chain problems he’s already experienced.
”It’s really inconvenient and kind of frustrating,” McCollum said.
For Skinner and the Frankfort PD, the most frustrating part is there’s nothing they can do about it.
”There are no laws on the books anymore for us to stop them from doing that,” he said.
Skinner said they used to be able to issue citations to trains stopped more than 10 minutes on street crossings but the Indiana Supreme Court struck down the law, saying the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act prevents states from interfering with the operation of trains.
But, without the ability to give out citations, Skinner said there’s no accountability.
”Sometime a railroad is not that quick on getting things repaired or moved because they know there’s no consequences,” Skinner said.
Following the traffic gridlock, Frankfort Police Chief Scott Shoemaker took to Facebook to voice his frustrations and explain why the department couldn’t do anything.
He also urged citizens to reach out to Sen. Todd Young, Sen. Mike Braun and Rep. Jim Baird to encourage them to find a way to solve the issue.
FOX59 reached out to Young, Braun and Baird’s offices to get a response to the post.
A spokesperson for Rep. Baird said they have not heard from constituents but have reached out to the Frankfort Police Dept. about the issue.
A spokesperson for Sen. Braun said his office is looking into what initiatives there are federally for this topic.
Skinner said change won’t happen unless it comes from Washington.
”Maybe see some ways we can get some laws back in the books to at least give these people some incentive to get this done quickly in a timely manner,” Skinner said.