FOX 32: Chicago residents no longer waiting hours for passing freight trains

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CHICAGO – A life-threatening situation on Chicago’s Southwest Side has now improved.

At times, residents in the city’s 19th Ward would wait hours at train crossings.

On Thursday, Congresswoman Marie Newman and Alderman Matt O’Shea announced anywhere from a 20 percent to 100 percent reduction in wait times for those freight trains.

The wait times would hamper ambulances from getting to the area’s only trauma center. They also impacted response times for fire fighters and police.

In some cases, the wait times led people to climb under the trains to cross the tracks.

“Over the past several months, starting back in the spring, when Rep. Newman convened meetings with the rail operators and the owner of the lines, CSX, just to bring people in a room to discuss to communicate what could be done,” O’Shea said.

The alderman is asking residents to report severe blockages to his office or the congresswoman’s office if they persist.

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