Communication improving between New Haven and Norfolk Southern on issue of trains blocking crossings


NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) – Slowly but surely, progress is being made between Norfolk Southern and the city of New Haven.

“Certainly for Norfolk Southern, stopped trains are never a good thing for us. We understand the headache they cause for the communities,” said Jeff DeGraff, representative for Norfolk Southern. “Norfolk Southern has tracks that cover 22 states on the eastern side of the country. All of those tracks are connected and related. So actions happening in one part of our network have an impact in other areas as well.”

DeGraff added that Norfolk Southern understands that all communities are important and they understand the need for people to access crossings. However, he said there are times when things are out of their control.

“Sometimes a train has to stop either for logistics problems where there is another train further up the line and they cannot pass. Or there are mechanical problems,” DeGraff said. “What we have been able to do in New Haven is improve our communication through local leadership as well as folks on the ground. Whether it’s 911 dispatchers, law enforcement, and fire. If there is an occurrence where a train is stopped and there are emergency services needed, we have resources that can help with that.”

DeGraff said another reasons for a train to stop on the tracks is because the train is trying to enter a yard and has to wait until there is enough space for the train to pull all the way into its destination.

“Another occurrence, you can only run a train in one direction on a track. You can’t run a train in two directions,” laughed DeGraff. “If a train is on the track and another is heading towards it, then it will have to pull off on what we call a siding.”

DeGraff said after the pandemic, the company is extremely busy. With so many people ordering things, they are shipping more than usual, resulting in more and longer trains.

The community and economic development director for New Haven said that communication has improved tremendously.

The City of New Haven asks that residents not call 911 to report blocked trains. Residents can help the city by reporting blocked tracks at and/or by calling Norfolk Southern at 800-635-5768.

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