By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
The search for a brake problem on one of its long string of cars has been cited as the reason a CSX freight train stopped and blocked all downtown crossings but one around midday Saturday, February 3.
“The train had an emergency locking — I’m not aware what caused it — and they had to visually inspect the brakes on every car until they found it,” Atmore Police Chief Chuck Brooks said. “It happened around 11:30 (a.m.) and, unfortunately, there’s a lot of traffic that time of day.”
The stalled train kept all downtown railroad crossings except the one at Martin Luther King Drive closed for most of an hour.
“People are always in a hurry; they want to get there now,” Brooks said. “All of the crossings in town but one were blocked for roughly 45 minutes to an hour. Luckily, the one at MLK and (U.S.) 31 remained open.”
Police officers, assisted by Atmore Fire Department personnel, diverted traffic around the city, sending Alabama 21 South’s northbound motorists to the MLK crossing and southbound traffic on the northern portion of the state highway onto Howard Street and then to Swift Mill Road.
Brooks said there’s little police can do when such a situation arises, as it seems to do on a fairly frequent basis.
“It happens pretty regularly,” the police chief said. “It’s CSX, so there’s nothing really we can do but ride the wave until they clear out.”