Sunday, January 26, 2014

Down by the Station

PLEASE NOTE: This post, which was written this morning, is followed by an important update.

Gossips is hyperlocal news, but this post is HYPERlocal. It reports on something that happened (literally) in Gossips' backyard.

There's a train idling on the ADM spur. It's been there since Friday morning. The sound issuing from the idling diesel engines (there are two) meets the description of unreasonable noise found in Chapter 210-3 of the City of Hudson Code: "Any excessive, unusually loud or offensive sound which either annoys, disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities." Chapter 210-4 of the code states that "No person shall make, continue, cause or permit to be made or continued any unreasonable noise." The engines are also emitting diesel fumes containing particulate matter which the EPA warns poses significant health risks.

Early on Saturday morning, waking to realize the train was still there after almost 24 hours, I called the CSX emergency number to report the situation. It was first explained to me that, because of the extreme cold, the engines could not be turned off without doing serious damage to them. Then, after being asked to wait twice while the woman on the phone contacted district personnel, I was told that the track the train was on--remember, it's the ADM spur, used exclusively for freight--was owned by Amtrak not CSX, and therefore, even though the idling engines had CSX emblazoned on them, CSX wasn't responsible.

I then emailed Common Council president Don Moore, hoping that, because he had been in discussion with Amtrak and CSX about the acquisition of the Ferry Street bridge, he might have a Amtrak contact. (Unlike the CSX website, which has contact numbers, the Amtrak website seems exclusively designed for people planning a train trip.) Moore then took up the task of getting the train to move. Two hours after I sent my email, Moore reported that he had visited the ADM plant at the northern end of the spur and the Amtrak office at LB, and representatives in both places confirmed that the offending train and the track on which it sat belonged to CSX.

Moore also contacted the Hudson Police Department, since the idling train is in violation of Hudson's noise ordinance, but the officers who went down to the train could not locate any employees in or near the idling engines.

Moore then called the same CSX emergency number that I had called earlier and was told by someone with the title "dispatching supervisor" that because of the weather--extreme cold and blowing snow--they could not assemble a crew to move the train--an explanation that seems to confirm that the train had been left there, abandoned, with its engines running. The dispatching supervisor was unable to tell Moore when we could expect the train to be moved.

Now, on Sunday morning, the train remains, engines idling. It's a clear day, it's not snowing, it's a relatively warm 13 degrees, but, based on yesterday's information, CSX still seems unable to muster a crew to move that train.

Thanks to Sam Pratt for providing the EPA link.

UPDATE: At 9:45 a.m., just as I was getting ready to publish this post, the noise stopped! I called Don Moore on his cell phone to report that the engines had been turned off and found that he was down where the engines were parked, a crew was present, and it appeared that the train might soon be on its way.   


  1. Great work Carole and, of course, William who had to suffer through the CSX blatant disregard for people and property!

    1. Thanks, Ruth, but I did very little except be the first squeaky wheel. Don Moore was the point person and managed to involve a lot of people, including Nick Melson from Didi Barrett's office, in defending the community against this nuisance.

    2. Well then, thank you Don Moore.

      That engine's been driving everyone crazy.

  2. Well, I wish this Code in Chapter 210-3 applied to trucks as well as to trains because the trucks are deafening and their diesel soot is corrosive. People in my house have to sleep with ear plugs because of the trucks. But I think we all know that nothing is going to stop the trucks.