SARATOGA COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — About a month after NEWS10 investigated complaints of loud, smelly trains sitting behind homes in Mechanicville and Stillwater, town officials have reached an agreement with the railroad companies to find a solution. Residents had been complaining for years about the idling trains.
“It’s much more pleasant. You don’t see the tension in the neighbors, and apparently everybody’s happy. I mean, I can talk to you right now, and you can hear me,” Mechanicville resident Joe Bramski told NEWS10 Monday.
At the end of February, NEWS10 ABC visited Bramski’s home along the Pan Am railroad tracks, and it was difficult to have a conversation as the trains sat idly behind his property. The sound at that time hit 95 decibels. Besides just noise, the trains often times smelled of garbage or fumes, and sometimes, left behind water pollution. Even that’s gotten better for Bramski just within the past month.
“Matter of fact, the creek in the back of my house—I don’t see any oil in it at this time,” Bramski said.
Stillwater Town Supervisor Ed Kinowski said help from the Federal Railroad Administration, conference calls with the railroad companies, attention to the issue by Rep. Paul Tonko, and news stories helped resolve a years-long issue for homeowners along the tracks. He added that the trains now are stopping, most of the time, by an area void of homes.
“Pan Am improved their internal roadways along the tracks to enable taxi pickup for crew changes,” Kinowski wrote in an email to other town employees that he shared with NEWS10.
On Monday, the trains could be seen stopped on the bridge over the Hudson before passing by Bramski’s house. It only took about 10 minutes for the trains to go by, and they did not idle behind his house.
Supervisor Kinowski noted there may be times the trains stop further down the line along West Street due to train length, but hopefully, this will be an infrequent event. Overall, he and Bramski are satisfied with the improvements.
“You know, you can’t stop the railroad, they have to do their job too,” Bramski said, “but people have to live also.”