Donaldsonville residents say merging railcars too noisy at night

About 100 residents living in City Council District 3 have signed a petition asking Union Pacific to prevent uncontrolled railcars from colliding during late-night hours.

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Reginald Francis said many in his district are unhappy with the railroad company’s practice.

“This has been a problem for a long time for the residents of District 3,” Francis said. “The people living near the train tracks have had enough.”

A switching station near Fifth Street is the source of the loud noise, Francis told the council.

“Every time I try to talk to the railroad about it, they keep telling me, ‘We were here first,’ ” he said. “That may be, but they could at least have some consideration for those who live nearby.”

Francis said he believes Union Pacific employees are allowing railcars to roll unrestrained down the track, at speeds of up to 15 mph, to merge with other railcars, which causes loud noises. In some cases, unrestrained cars have even fallen into a nearby canal, Francis said.

According to the petition, residents are asking railroad officials to either stop the practice of allowing cars to merge into another freely, or to change the time of day the merging is done.

“If they choose to do this during the daytime hours, it’s not that much of a problem,” Francis said. “But doing this in the middle of the night is keeping many residents from sleeping. We have many elderly, sick and disabled residents in the area that are affected.”

The council voted to adopt a resolution in support of the petition, which will be delivered to Union Pacific.

WEBSITE UPDATE: The council also heard from Robyn Penn Delaney, co-chairman of the city’s Louisiana Development Ready Cities program, on the progress of the city’s new website.

Councilmen were shown a mockup of the site, which features the city’s new logo, vivid photos of area landmarks and a navigation menu for users to find various city information.

Delaney said the new website should be active before Thanksgiving.