During the Borough of Northampton Council meeting on Thursday, May 16, council was approached by a resident frustrated by idling trains behind his home.
Brian King, a resident of the 400 block of Buckingham Drive, said trains have consistently idled on the tracks behind his home for several months. While it sits on the tracks, King said the train blares its horn and revs its engine “over and over and over.”
The train, he said, usually idles for about an hour anywhere between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m., waking both him and his family from their sleep.
“This is not a train yard,” he told council.
“What effects does vibration have on [a] home [or] land?” King pondered aloud.
He added that the train blocks the intersection, preventing emergency vehicles from coming through. He also said he does not know what is being carried by the train cars, which could be hazardous.
He asked for a “resolution to eliminate the nuisance.”
Council thanked King for bringing the issue to their attention. However, solicitor Steven Goudsouzian admitted that there may not be much council can do considering the zoning of the land.
“[It is] an industrial zone,” explained Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst. “We cannot tell them where to operate.”
Horwith Trucks and Norfolk Southern operate the trains, according to council.
Councilman Anthony Lopsonzski, Sr. said it is likely the trains are carrying sand, grain, and fire suppression materials. Any chemicals would be marked by a numbered placard.
“Frankly, [I] do not think we can do anything,” said Goudsouzian. “[However] at least we know where it is coming from.”
Despite this, council said they will look into the issue.
In other news, an update on rental inspections was given. So far, 812 rental properties (about 65 percent) have been registered and 143 have been inspected.
Brobst said the 35 percent of property owners who have not responded to two inspection requests is what worries him. He said the borough is ready to “play hardball.”