Nogales' mayor says he's concerned about the length of delays at railroad crossings

NOGALES, Ariz. - The mayor of Nogales says he has become increasingly concerned with the amount of time it takes some trains to clear railroad crossings in downtown Nogales and how those lengthy delays affect people living, working, and shopping in the area.

The Union Pacific railroad tracks run through downtown Nogales, where pedestrian and vehicle traffic is usually brisk.

The majority of delays arise because when a train crosses the border it has to stop to allow federal agents to inspect it, Union Pacific says that is what can sometimes lead to lengthy delays.

“The border crossing presents unique requirements from CBP and the FRA that influence our operations. They require that we stop our trains to allow for inspections to meet security and operational standards. Our goal is to satisfy those requirements as quickly and safely as possible, but occasional delays are not always under our control,” Jeffrey DeGraff, Union Pacific Director, Corporate Relations and Media told KGUN in an email.

Mayor John Doyle worries the delays are getting excessive.

“We have within probably a mile and a half, four crossings. And because the trains are getting a little longer we get like three crossings blocked, so that makes it a little difficult for traffic to get across from one point to another,” Doyle said.

He fears long delays at multiple crossings might delay first responders in an emergency.

During a recent city council study session, Doyle said he wants the city and Union Pacific to address the issue before it becomes a serious problem.

“They can see our perspective we'll look at theirs and work together for a solution that will make it better for the whole community,” he said.

A formal meeting date hasn't been set. DeGraff told KGUN the company had a meeting with Doyle in January and discussed some issues, “We have since been in touch with the Mayor's office about this item and plan to continue to discuss it and seek solutions,” he said.

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