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Fix It / What needs repairing in Buffalo Niagara Railroad properties pose hazards

Deteriorating or poorly maintained railroad property is frequently the subject of calls and letters to the Fix It Column, with complaints ranging from broken tracks to railroad bridges in need of repair. Recent concerns brought to our attention included hazardous tracks on the grade crossing on Willet Road between Abbott Road and McKinley Parkway, and the entire stretch of railroad property that runs from the Exchange Street Station downtown to Porter Avenue.

"The railroad crossing has a steel mesh over the tracks, but the mesh has broken down and presents a hazard to motorists traveling in either direction," Richard B. Olma wrote regarding the Willet Road site. "Motorists have to dodge the broken mesh, and the dodging creates a definite safety situation."

Olma also noted the broken mesh can damage tires, especially at night.

A different set of problems was evident at the downtown site, according to reader Leo Buckley, who wrote about "the railroad's failure to cut the grass, vines and other foliage from the tracks" from Exchange Street to Porter Avenue.

He said the area was dangerous, strewn with trash.

Buckley first contacted Amtrak, but was told by Sheila Mary Sopper, a project director with the Amtrak Real Estate Development department, that it does not own the rail system, the CSX Transportation Company does, and is responsible for maintenance.

Bob Sullivan, a CSX spokesman, said Friday that the company would investigate the complaints.

"We will definitely look into it, and see what, if anything, needs to be done with each of these issues," he said. Sullivan said he also would look into a complaint that Fix It forwarded to CSX recently regarding a railroad bridge crossing over Colvin Avenue in the City of Buffalo.

Fix It helps readers of The News expose small but annoying problems in their everyday lives and get them resolved. To report such situations, leave a voice mail message on the Fix It line at 849-6026, e-mail, or send a letter to Fix It, c/o The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14203.1

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