'They just don't care': After years of getting trapped by trains and being ignored, neighborhood demands action
BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KAKE) - After years of being blocked in their homes by trains for hours on end, a small Butler County neighborhood says that no matter what they do or who they call, nothing ever changes.
Now, the family is turning to KAKE On Your Side and demanding action.
Even though trains can be annoying, especially if you're stuck waiting at a standstill, they're still a crucial part of our everyday lives.
But for this little rural neighborhood, it's much more than just an annoyance.
Rina and Keith Frye have lived in the peaceful country neighborhood south of El Dorado for 16 years, and they love it.
"No one can build over there. And so, we like to be out here alone," said Frye.
But there's just one problem… Trains. And it's not because of the noise.
"I like hearing the horn in the middle of the night when I've got my windows open," said Frye.
It's the fact that there are only two ways to get to the four houses in the neighborhood, and the train constantly stops, blocking both of them.
"At one time, it was 13 hours. And we call them every time. They've even referred to me as the crazy lady," said Frye.
When the trains block both entrances, because of a river on the backside of the land, there's simply no way in or out.
"I've always thought, what's it going to come down to? I mean, if somebody's going to have a heart attack, and they can't get in or, you know, lose the life before something's done about this," said Justin Riggs.
Riggs lives in the last house next to the south entrance. He says he doesn't understand why they don't just leave one side unblocked, especially since the area is surrounded by so many miles of open land.
"I'd gladly take the long way out," said Riggs.
But no matter how much they complain, they say nothing ever changes.
So, we decided to call the company ourselves.
After confirming we were talking to a BNSF employee, who we won't identify, he said there are "hundreds" of possible reasons this is happening, and says it's a problem everywhere.
When we asked if that means there's nothing they can do, the worker said "they can build a bridge."
We asked who would pay for it.
The worker said in some situations, BNSF will share the cost of building a bridge with whatever county the parked trains affect.
But at the end of the day, the Frye's say the solution is much simpler.
"All we ask, block just the one. Not both of them," said Frye.
At one point, the Frye's say they asked BNSF what would happen if there was an emergency. They say the company told them in that case, it would send someone out to separate the cars and let them out. However, the one time they did have an emergency while blocked in and called BNSF, they say no one ever showed up.