Why you might see a railroad crossing gate, but no train - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Why you might see a railroad crossing gate, but no train

Posted: Updated:
SPOKANE, Wash. -

In the past couple of weeks, KHQ has received multiple news tips about what appear to be malfunctioning railroad crossing guards.

The first report was on Feb. 10 at East Mission Ave. and Rebecca St. Pictures sent to KHQ show a train rolling through the intersection, but the gate was up and the lights were not flashing.

Justin Jacobs, a spokesperson for Union Pacific, said that the issue was weather related. Union Pacific crews worked on the problem that day, but it appeared the gate was still having glitches.

Five days later, on Feb. 15, the same crossing guard was working, but there wasn’t a train in sight.

Union Pacific did not return KHQ’s phone calls.

On Monday, what appeared to be the same malfunction at East Trent Ave. and Park Rd. was reported to KHQ.

One person said they waiting for 30 minutes while the gate remained in the down position. They say no train came through. KHQ was able to confirm this.

This crossing guard is owned and operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe. A spokesperson with BNSF told KHQ that a component on the warning device needed to be replaced. When that happens, BNSF says the gate locks in the down position for safety reasons.

BNSF apologized for the inconvenience, stating it took crews several hours to fix the issue, but that safety is their number one priority.

Both railroad crossings are working properly.

BNSF says 60 trains carrying various freight use those tracks everyday.

If trains have to stop, which is common in that area due to the high volume of locomotives, BNSF says they try to keep wait times for motorists no more than 10 minutes.

To report a railroad crossing guard that is not working, contact BNSF at (800) 832-5452, and Union Pacific at (800) 848-8715.

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