How Long Can Trains Block Shreveport & Bossier Roads?
Ever sat at a train crossing in Shreveport or Bossier City and thought "This seems like a really long stop" or "This train isn't even moving". You're not alone.
Of course no one is "anti-train", I think we all understand how important they are to our economy, and have been for almost 200 years. But none of that matters when you have 10 minutes to get to work, you're 5 minutes away, and that train comes to a stop in the middle of Airline Drive.
We're not the only ones who deal with this either, just poking around on the internet will reveal that every corner of the United States suffers from this epidemic.
So what's the law? How long can a train stay on the road in Louisiana?
According to Justia US Law, it's 20 consecutive minutes.
That's right, a train can park in the middle of Airline Drive for 20 minutes if they wanted to. With the speed, and amount of cars on some trains, that means a train could lock up traffic in Shreveport for and additional 30 minutes, and apparently it would be totally legal.
Other states and cities are more aggressive. In one of the links above, it states cities in Texas have dropped their time frame to 5 consecutive minutes, and states like Texas have theirs at 10 minutes.
But...none of that matters.
According to multiple sources, some dating back over 5 years, say that State and City laws have no meaning to train companies. Federal law protects train companies, and says they can stay on the road as long as they want.
So even though it feels like Louisiana has a limit, they don't. No one does. The train companies own your road and your commute.
But, this brings up a big question for me...
What if you have a heart attack. The ambulance is stuck behind a stopped train, or even has to take a longer route because of a stopped train, and you die...how at fault is that train? Or you home catches fire, the firetrucks also get stuck behind a stopped train for 15 minutes, are the losses the fault of the train company?
Because to me, that seems like an open and closed case. If that trains costs you anything, you should own that company now, and should be able to do the right thing, and have those trains come through in off-hours only.