CSX: District residents decry proposal in meeting with Mayor Gray

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The outrage was palpable in a room packed with frustrated D.C. residents on Thursday night.

"Do not do this," said D.C. resident Rose Oliphant. "Find another alternative."

"It's beyond unreasonable," added Meredith Fascett. "It's reckless in an area where children pass every day to visit friends and to go to school."

Hundreds filled a meeting to air their concerns to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray about CSX’s proposal to upgrade and expand the Virginia Avenue Railroad Tunnel that is more than 100 years old and passes by Capitol Hill area neighborhoods.

"What I'm asking you Mayor Gray, is do not let D.C. be the guinea pig for CSX," said District resident Claire Oleksiak.

These residents are deeply concerned that the project will profoundly compromise their quality of life. One idea involved in the idea includes building an open trench to re-route railroad traffic during construction. But residents say that trench would run right by their homes, meaning air and noise pollution.

After construction, they also worry about derailments, seeing as how CSX cars carry petroleum products.

"Under current proposals, we are like sitting ducks, an accident waiting to happen," said Helen Douglas.

CSX officials insist they are ready, willing, and able to work closely with policy makers and residents to assure the community’s safety.

"We do have a tremendous record of safety at CSX. We work hard every day to ensure that not only the hazardous materials, but every car that we move, we move it safely," said Howard Elliott with CSX.

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