Residents on Houston's East End still face daily disruption due to stopped trains

Residents of Houston's East End find their daily lives heavily impacted by the frequent halting of trains, causing disruptions for pedestrians, motorists, and local businesses.

Videos posted online depict the frustration of walkers and drivers navigating blocked intersections, highlighting the potential dangers posed by these stalled trains.

FOX 26 heard the concerns from East End residents in February and April 2023, as they urged federal authorities to address the problem. 

However, proposed legislation to alleviate the issue, authored by U.S. Congresswoman Slyvia Garcia, remains stagnant, leaving residents to contend with the persistent disruption caused by blocked trains. 

"It's an everyday occurrence to see stopped trains on the East End," said resident Christopher Stewart. "There's no way to tell when the train ends or how long it's going to be there."

The prolonged issue, lasting for hours at times, has a significant impact on the community, affecting schools, families, businesses, bus routes, and first responders. 

Lindsey Williams, President of the Eastwood Civic Association, says their efforts to address the problem have been relentless. The Federal Rail Association has highlighted Houston's East End as a hotspot for blocked trains, comprising a substantial portion of nationwide reports - over 60% of blocked train issues in the U.S.

Williams highlighted their data collection efforts, including a daily live feed on their YouTube channel monitoring blocked trains at the Eastwood and Rusk intersection, along with regular updates on their Instagram page.

Addressing Mayor Whitmire and the City Council in a public session on April 30, Williams urged action, pointing out the availability of grants through federal infrastructure funding to address the issue.

In response, Mayor Whitmire assured residents that the matter would be prioritized, promising a discussion on potential solutions.

Clay Dippel, Vice-President of the Civic Association, stressed the need for transparency from the city and state levels in developing a plan to address the issue effectively.

"A lot of these applications require you to do your homework," said Dippel. "What we've found is we're willing to put that time in to show the scope of the problem. But we need someone at the city and state level to be able to put that application together."

The Association has also kept a list of Texas lawmakers in Washington who have or have not responded to their request for assistance: 

John Cornyn, U.S. Senator for Texas
- no response 

Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator for Texas - no response 

Dan Crenshaw, U.S. Representative for Texas, 2nd Congressional District
- no response 

Lizzie Fletcher, U.S. Representative for Texas, 7th Congressional District - no response 

Al Green, U.S. Representative for Texas, 9th Congressional District - no response 

Randy Weber, U.S. Representative for Texas 14th Congressional District - no response

Troy Nehls, U.S. Representative for Texas, 22nd Congressional District, 118th Congress’ Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials - no response

Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative for Texas, 18th Congressional District: Attended local meetings, where she inquired about railroad crossing sensor and camera monitoring technology funding.

Sylvia Garcia, U.S. Representative for Texas, 29th Congressional District: Attended local meetings and authored the H.R. 1347, or the Don’t Block Our Communities Act. It has been in committee for one year.

If you would like to report blocked trains in your neighborhood, click here to report it to the Federal Rail Administration.