San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 16th, 2011
Heat blamed for rush-hour railroad crossing malfunction


A Union Pacific spokesperson says extreme heat caused railroad crossing malfunctions that brought traffic on and around Aquarena Springs Drive to a halt for nearly an hour and a half during afternoon rush hours on Monday.

Triple-digit temperatures caused electronics in a crossing signal box to overheat, lowering the  arms on crossings at Post Road, Charles Austin Drive and Aquarena, a major thoroughfare between Interstate 35 and Texas State University. After the police department notified Union Pacific, it took a signal maintainer 25 minutes to arrive and nearly an hour to reset the equipment, said Raquel Espinoza, a spokesperson for the railroad company.

The malfunction crossings snarled traffic and caused chaos for hundreds of motorists stuck waiting for trains that weren’t there. Said Espinoza, “We realize this was an inconvenience for drivers and appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked through the situation.”

San Marcos streets and highways cross railroad tracks in 68 places within the San MArcos limits, bringing automobile and pedestrian traffic to a standstill periodically. A train count the city conducted in 2005 recorded an average of more than 30 trains passing through on three separate days.  The city’s first railroad overpass opened on Wonder World Drive in 2006.

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One thought on “Heat blamed for rush-hour railroad crossing malfunction

  1. Yikes. I’m surprised there wasn’t some sort of manual override for the gate. It would have been nice to at least lift the gate arm while the technician was working on it. With the police present, they would have been able to direct traffic, and stop it in the case a train needed to cross.

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