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Rep. Higgins calls for inspections for CSX trash trains

Another trash train stopped in Depew over the weekend casting a stench over an entire neighborhood.
This CSX trash train idled in Depew over the weekend.

DEPEW, N.Y. -- Another trash train idled in a residential neighborhood in Depew over the weekend, despite assurances by the CEO of CSX that he would take action.

Last week, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) said he had a phone conversation with the chief executive of CSX and was told the company would make every effort to move the trains out quickly. Today, Schumer's office said that came with a time frame of several weeks.

Neighbors like Darell Blake say that's too long to wait.

"If you can imagine sitting in the middle of a garbage dump on a hot, humid day, that's exactly what we were smelling," he said.

"It's just not fair to us," Darell's wife Joanna said. "We pay our taxes just like ... anybody else."

Senator Schumer's office released a statement saying, in part, "Senator Schumer will watch the situation closely to make sure CSX stays true to its word" to have this fixed in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo) wants state Department of Environmental Conservation officers and federal Environmental Protection Agency inspectors to look into the trains and, if necessary, issue fines.

"Unless and until those trains are out of there, we have to continue to apply as much pressure as we can," Higgins said. "And one of the things we have available to us are these state and federal agencies who are responsible."

In a statement, a spokesperson for CSX reiterated its earlier position that "We do our best to minimize those impacts, and we apologize for the inconveniences."

He went on to say that the company is investing in infrastructure, bringing more locomotives into service, and hiring more crew members. All those measures, the statement said, should help deal with the increase in traffic on the CSX network.

Jim Radzikowski, who lives off Walden in the area impacted, said if the trains must idle, they should do so in industrial, non-residential areas.

"I''ve been here for 18 years, and this is unfair that we can't even get a peaceful night's sleep because of CSX that wants profits," Radzikowski said.