Report a Blocked Crossing
Galion is a railroad town with a highly active rail line. It has nine at-grade railroad crossings and just one overpass. Over the past year, residents have noticed a dramatic increase in the number and frequency of stopped trains blocking several, or even all, of the crossings. There are several reasons a train may be stopped, including a crew change near Middletown Road, or a "log jam" of trains where the railroad tracks are reduced to a single line (near the State Route 61 crossing north of Crestline).
In the past, local jurisdictions had authority under Ohio law to fine railroads for blocking an at-grade crossing for longer than five minutes. Then in April of 2017, a case in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (CSX Transportation v. Williams) sided with CSX, ruling that obstruction of roads by trains is "preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995."
This effectively took away the enforcement ability of local jurisdictions. Railroads can no longer be legally required to pay fines.
What Can Be Done
If you experience a blocked crossing, we encourage you to report it directly to the Federal Railroad Administration. The city also keeps a log tracking the date and duration for each blockage.
City officials have spoken to Federal legislators to advocate for changes at the Federal level. Residents and business can also express their concerns:
US Rep. Jim Jordan US Senator Sherrod Brown US Senator Rob Portman
202-225-2676 202-224-2315 202-224-3353
There has been ongoing communication with several state and Federal agencies, ranging from the Ohio Rail Development Commission to the Federal Railroad Administration. We have also reached out to other rail communities facing the same issue.