NOLAN COUNTY, Texas (KTAB) – A Nolan County family claims to be landlocked after Union Pacific removed a private crossing on August 31, 2018.
The Duncan family lives on County Road 182 in Roscoe. In order access their home, they must cross the private railroad crossing or travel down dirt roads, which are privately owned.
On August 31, 2018, Chris and Jana Duncan noticed a Union Pacific outside of their home and workers removing the crossing. When they asked what they were doing, the Duncan’s say the workers told them they were ordered to remove the crossing.
With the removal of the crossing, they are forced to park their vehicles 200 yards away from their home on the other side of the tracks and cross the tracks to get to their vehicles. This means they must step over large boards and bolts left behind by Union Pacific. Their other option is driving five miles out of their way down privately owned roads to access their home. They say the latter option is difficult, especially when it rains and the dirt roads become muddy.
“Let us be able to access our home and leave,” the Duncans plead to the railroad.
KTAB reached out to Union Pacific. In an interview, a spokesperson told KTAB they evaluate crossings and “if they are redundant or unsafe, or don’t serve a purpose,” Union Pacific then removes “those crossings and eliminates unsafe opportunities.”
The Duncans say removing the crossing has done the opposite. They say the blockade doesn’t provide proper entry for first responders in the event of an emergency.
“Nobody knows these back roads unless you farm out here or you live out here,” Chris Duncan says. “It would be very tough for them to get to us. We’re in rattlesnake country, we could have rattlesnake bites, a number of other things and they can’t get to us.”
Chris says he never lets his kids cross the railroad alone, but now, he worries about them more as they make their way to the vehicles.
“It’s dangerous,” he says. “I don’t like the idea of them doing that.”
Union Pacific spokesperson Jeff DeGraff tells KTAB News the company reached an agreement with the property owner to remove the crossing, but the Duncans say they had no idea an agreement was made between their landlord and Union Pacific. DeGraff also tells KTAB News they are working to determine a time for crews to remove the boards and bolts left behind during the removal.