Updated:ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —
WFTV found out packed SunRail trains are causing more traffic at railroad crossings.
When the SunRail trains started running earlier this month, many drivers said they were worried about the crossing arms coming down dangerously late.
Channel 9’s Mario Boone found out the arms at some crossings are now stopping traffic when a train isn’t even passing by.
Officials said it’s because of the extra train car that helps handle the large crowds.
The three-car trains are so long, officials said, that a sensor is triggered when it pulls into the Church Street Station, forcing the gates to stay down even after trains clear the intersection.
Florida Department of Transportation officials said their hands are tied.
“I know it’s inconvenient and people don’t like it,” FDOT spokesperson Steve Olson said. “We thought we could fit a three-car train in here. Evidently not.”
SunRail officials said safety reasons prevent them from moving the signals and that means traffic is stuck for as long as it takes SunRail to load and unload.
SunRail suggested the way to fix the crossing gate problem is for ridership to drop low enough that it will only need a two-car train.
“If ridership reached equilibrium, then we’ll go back to two cars,” Olson said.
The other fix is to get trains in and out of stations as quickly as possible.
“But the bottom line is the gates are down, you’ve got to stop for them,” Olson said.