All Aboard Plan To Reduce Train Delays In Cantonment

March 28, 2019

Governmental leaders, International Paper and two railroads are continuing to work to reduce the number of delays caused by trains blocking crossings in Cantonment.

In late January, Florida Sen. Doug Broxson and Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry met with CSX and International Paper to discuss the problem. Broxson and Barry learned there are four parallel tracks beds on the IP property just west of the crossing that merge into a single track across Highway 29. Those tracks are not managed by CSX; they are operated by the Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway (AGR). AGR was not part of the initial discussions in January.

On March 12, IP’s Pensacola Mill host a meeting between CSX and AGR to discuss the problem.

On Wednesday, IP hand delivered a letter to Broxson and Barry confirming AGR is now on board with the effort to reduce blocked crossings.

“After discussion, both companies were able to identify opportunities within their systems to make improvements in their service both inside and outside of the Pensacola Mill, particularly with respect to operation issues along their lines in areas away from the mill,” IP Pensacola Mill Manager Scott Taylor wrote in the letter. “These improvements would speed their service and limit the amount of time that Highway 29 was blocked on any given day.”

“The Pensacola Mill will continue to monitor rail service and will immediately communicate any issues directly to the railroad companies,” Taylor continued. “As a customer of both CSX and AGR, we are pleased with the transparent conversations and open communication with all parties involved.”

“We take our responsibility to be great neighbors very seriously,” Taylor concluded.

“I’m very pleased to see that our three private corporate partners followed through with the cooperative spirit from our January meeting,” Barry said after receiving Wednesday’s letter. “I want to thank International Paper, CSX, and AGR for all working together to improve the quality of life for not only my constituents in District 5, but also for all the citizens of Escambia County. Also, I want to thank Senator Broxson again for hosting the January meeting, and I’m optimistic about an improved commute for all the people who travel Highway 29.”

In February, CSX also proposed a plan to keep their stopped trains from completely blocking the Cottage Hill area east of Highway 95A. For trains under 10,000 feet, CSX trains that stop to service a Cantonment customer will be pulled far enough south that they will not block the neighborhood. That’s because the McKenzie Road crossing will remain open, Barry said. A stopped train over 10,000 feet will initially block the neighborhood, but CSX will break the train at Eden Lane as soon as possible.

Barry also said real time communication between Escambia County and the railroad would help solve public safety issues. There are documented incidents where fire trucks and EMS units were unable to respond to medical emergencies in blocked neighborhoods due to stopped trains.

Pictured below: Escambia County Fire and EMS vehicles blocked from responding to emergency calls by a train on Highway 29 in Cantonment. file photo, click to enlarge.


5 Responses to “All Aboard Plan To Reduce Train Delays In Cantonment”

  1. ekg on March 30th, 2019 8:11 am

    When all the money was spent on re-doing Hwy 29 recently, an overpass should have been built first.

  2. For your info on March 29th, 2019 11:06 am

    As for blocking 29 the cars are not inspected and giving a brake test till they are pulled back to the main or siding but when the angle cock is left open on the rear you have to walk back and close it before air can be built and for cottage hill road crossing it is blocked because of working at the Conrad yelvington gabbing to pick up and set off then you couple back to that long of a train and if temperature is cool it takes a good 45 minutes to build air to get a brake test so you have crossing blocked for a good hour and half js

  3. ekg on March 29th, 2019 9:58 am

    Fishhook240 sure is right! The blocking on Hwy 29 at the mill needs to be reduced for sure! However, I live down in the Cottage Hill area and will be happy those trains won’t block us in….because, many years ago there was a train wreck that blocked all the roads from our area for quite some time….wouldn’t it be nice if the road dept. could make an emergency exit to Quintette Rd in case this ever happened again. …or let us have a neighbor with a drag line go up and move a box car out of the way for us….(lol)

  4. fishhook240 on March 28th, 2019 1:28 pm

    This all sounds good, except the real problem is the train that services the mill every afternoon around quitting time. This train works its way up the main line from Pensacola Terminal servicing Cerex, Exxon and Accend then making it way to International paper. This train seems to always show up around 3:30 to 6:00 stopping traffic for 15 to 20 minutes or more. If you watch this train and I have, it backs into the mill (Stops Traffic) with the cars it’s dropping off then pulls ahead (Stops Traffic) to switch tracks to hook to the cars it needs to remove and this is where the backup starts. There already a small backup of traffic starting, but then the train backs into the mill once or twice more to get more cars and each time as the train hooks to the cars the air brakes have to be built up and the train men has to walk the train to inspect it and so on. This can take a few minutes. And we wait and wait. It would make since to me to get CSX to have the train come later in the night when traffic not that bad or better yet, when it is removing cars from the mill, move one line of cars over to the main tracks the go back and get the next line and so on. As for Eden lane, William Ditch and McKenzie lane, they are only blocked when something happens to the train as far as I see. Nothing can be done about this. The train blocking 29 is the problem and from the article I read, they are not talking any solution about that only Eden Lane and William Ditch. Hwy 29 is the problem.

  5. Just listening on March 28th, 2019 7:20 am

    Anyone thought about involving State DOT for future overpass at this area. The old golf course is not in use any longer. May be a good time to do an Eminent domain if this would help. Just saying

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