Freight train breaks down in Va., trapping people in their homes, again

    The railroad crossing in Linden, Va. (Photo: WJLA)

    FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WJLA) -- A freight train broke down early this morning in Linden, Virginia near Front Royal, trapping seven people in their neighborhood for about eight hours.

    And it’s not the first time.

    The trains tend to run into trouble along an uphill grade in Linden.

    The residents of the small community say huge freight trains regularly break down on the tracks.

    Five houses sit on the mountain. The only way in or out is across the train tracks.

    Paul Shiflett says he's documented 10 times trains have broken down on the spot since October.

    “We're prisoners of Southern Railway,” he says. “We have no other access other than across the railroad track.”

    Repeated calls for help have gotten nowhere. Residents say the response from the railroad dispatch and police hasn't been the warmest.

    “I have been threatened over the phone: ‘If you keep calling in here,sir, we are going to come out there and arrest you,’” Linden resident Steven Tracy says.

    ABC7 contacted Norfolk Southern. A spokesperson said today's breakdown stemmed from mechanical problems and snow and ice. As far as the chronic breakdowns, she said the railroad wants to find a solution.

    The residents who get trapped say the cause is obvious – too much weight on the trains or too few engines to pull it.

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