BNSF lawsuit

BNSF Railroad has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Edmond over citations written against the BNSF for blocking traffic crossings.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the City of Edmond, City of Davis, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. BNSF’s lawsuit results from citations written by Edmond and Davis police to the railroad over trains stopped on the tracks and blocking crossings, said Steve Murdock, city attorney.

“They’re asking the federal court to make a determination as to the constitutionality of the new state law that was passed and went into effect on July 1,” Murdock explained.

Edmond Police wrote BNSF citations on May 29 and July 17. BNSF had been stopped on the tracks at First Street and Colcord Avenue after the train had halted for more than 20 minutes, Murdock said. Ten minutes is the maximum time a train is permitted to halt traffic, according to the Oklahoma Blocked Crossing Statute.

The City of Edmond filed the citations through the Corporation Commission that prompted the BNSF filing in federal court.

Murdock said the city’s response will be based on the constitutionality of the state statute. The new law allows municipalities to fine railroad companies up to $1,000 for blocking crossings.

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