STILLWATER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Complaints of loud, smelly trains that sit idly behind dozens of homes in Stillwater have come to a head. A local official said the Federal Railroad Administration is coming in March to evaluate the situation.
Joe Bramski, a Mechanicville business owner and lifelong resident, said he has to close the windows to avoid the stink of trains filled with trash that stop on PanAm railroad property behind his house. He claimed the noise can be enough to make a glass shake on the kitchen table.
“When these trains come through, what happens is you can’t even talk to somebody in the house. That’s how bad it is,” Bramski said. “When they sit here idling, you’re not going to stay in the house.”
While NEWS10 was interviewing Bramski behind his house, a train stopped by. Using a decibel meter, Bramski tested the noise level. At one point, it shot up to 95 decibels. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, sounds above 85 decibels can be harmful.
“This is relatively mild at this time,” Bramski added.
Ed Kinowski, Stillwater Town Supervisor, has been looking for a solution to the train troubles for years. He’s tried to involve multiple agencies previously who wouldn’t take on the issue.
The trains sit behind homes on West Street for long periods, according to Kinowski and residents of the street. The engineers get picked up on a road on the other side of the tracks.
“They’re choosing to use where they’re stopping like a mini intermodal, and it’s not designed for that at all,” Kinowski said. “Never was.”
Kinowski said he doesn’t understand why the trains can’t stop a couple thousand feet further down, near the bridge over the Hudson. “That is the simplest solution on the planet, and it’s at no cost,” Kinowski explained. “I don’t know why they’re not doing it. Instead, they’re choosing to upset the neighborhood, the people, and cause harm.”
Kinowski is asking residents to email him complaints at EKinowski@stillwaterny.org so he can present them to agents from the Federal Railroad Administration, scheduled to visit the site next month. He will also take them to PanAm, which did not respond to NEWS10’s request for comment.
For Bramski, this visit from the feds will hopefully mean more peace and quiet, and less pollution running off into the stream on his property. “We’re not looking at no crisis by any means, but they should be able to come and straighten this out very simply,” he said.