Local News

Fayetteville Residents Get Rail-Splitting Pains From Trains

Posted November 8, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— Fayetteville is wrestling with a traffic problem of its own. Trains are causing a headache for drivers downtown. City leaders are trying to stop the problem in its tracks.

Up to 30 trains travel on one track, and another one heads downtown everyday. The wait can be up to 15 minutes. The city says that is too long to tie up traffic downtown.

Trains and traffic are nothing new in downtown Fayetteville. It has been a common complaint for 30 years.

The city says the backups and long wait times have to stop if downtown revitalization is to get back on track.

The frustration gets even worse when the trains stop at intersections for several minutes during lunch hour. It is because of railcar switching at the rail yard.

Jimmy Teal, chief planning officer, says the city wants the switching to move to another railyard out of downtown.

"If we can do that, that will eliminate the train conflict, aggravation of people waiting and trying to relieve the congestion would enhance downtown," Teal said.

The plan could be derailed because of funding. The move would require the city to build a new $9 million track connection. The city has just $2.5 million.

But leaders say they are encouraged about the new plan. For the first time in several years, it appears the three major railroads will agree to it.

The city hopes to have all railroads sign a memorandum of agreement by the end of the year. Afterwards, they will seek state and federal funding to complete the project.