DONALDSONVILLE — City Councilman Reginald Francis Sr. asked people living near a local railroad switching station for patience in their struggle with loud noise coming from the nearby facility.
During Thursday’s rescheduled council meeting, Francis updated the council on a meeting that he and Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. had with Union Pacific representatives regarding the rail yard and maintaining grass cutting along the company’s rail line in the city limits.
Francis has said he and his constituents are frustrated with the railroad company over loud noises coming during the late-night hours from the rail yard, near Fifth Street and south of the railroad near St. Patrick Street.
In September, the council approved a resolution asking the railroad company to limit the noise to only daytime hours. After no response by the company, the council had its legal counsel draft a letter in November asking for action.
During the recent meeting, Francis said, Union Pacific officials said they are in the process of purchasing land in St. James Parish for a new rail yard, which could mean the closing of the Donaldsonville yard.
“He told me to have my constituents just be patient with the noise,” Francis said. “He also said that when the St. James yard is completed, they may shut down the Donaldsonville yard completely and use the tracks off the main line for switching engines.”
Francis said he was also told by Union Pacific officials that the company would address high grass along the rail line, after they research the exact boundaries of the property.
High grass along the line has been an eyesore, Francis said, with the city attempting to cut the grass in some instances.
“One thing they said they would do is possibly put down a mat in the fenced area and cover it with limestone, so that the grass wouldn’t grow anymore,” Francis said.
Francis said he left the meeting feeling optimistic that his district’s troubles with the railroad could soon subside.
“Maybe we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m just hoping it’s not another train,” he said.