Officials getting involved in Frankford railroad crossing battle

**Update: Repairs have been made to the Daisy Avenue railroad crossing.

State Sen. George Bunting recently wrote to Delaware’s Congressional delegation about the state of the railroad crossings in Frankford. Town Clerk Terry Truitt said the tracks have been “deteriorating for some time,” and it has been a subject brought up at many meetings in town.

Coastal Point •  R. Chris Clark: A close-up shot at a railroad crossing in Frankford.Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark
A close-up shot at a railroad crossing in Frankford.

“These crossings are dangerous, and along that corridor there have been railroad car derailments, which required a crane to place them back on track,” wrote Bunting to U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper, with a copy sent to U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney, as well as state Rep. John Atkins (D, 41) and the Town of Frankford.

“One railroad inspector told a town council member that the corridor is so bad it should be condemned. Rep. [John] Atkins has repeatedly asked for Norfolk/Southern to make the necessary repairs, to no avail,” he continued.

Bunting, who spent most of his childhood in Frankford, said they believe the railroad company has the responsibility to repair the tracks.

“That’s what we are trying to ascertain,” he said. “My understanding is that it is the railroad company. … The legislators are willing to do whatever with street money if we are allowed to do it.”

Karen McGrath, Carper’s Sussex County regional director, recently met with Norfolk/Southern Senior Vice President of Government Relations Scott Muir to discuss the next step for the tracks. She explained that Norfolk/Southern representatives said they will contact the Delaware Department of Transportation to “coordinate doing a temporary repair with some hotmix and then reviewing the crossings’ spot on the priority list for more extensive repair.”

Truitt said town officials have also reached out to Norfolk/Southern through certified letter and each time got the response that the tracks would be repaired in “2012,” but they have never received confirmation of exactly when that repair would happen.

Calls to Norfolk/Southern about the issue were not returned by Coastal Point press time.