RIXEY, Ark. – Having a railroad in your backyard is never peaceful. But for neighbors in Rixey and McAlmont, it’s not the noise that’s the issue.
They say ditches belonging to Union Pacific Railroad are left to grow wild and cause major issues for homeowners, something that hasn’t been taken care of for years.
Charles Sampson lives in Rixey. He says for years his home has been waterlogged due to poor drainage in backyard ditches, part of which is coming from the railroad tracks.
“Really, we’ve just been robbed,” Sampson said. “We’re getting flooded from the railroad tracks on the back, and 161 on the front.” He’s seen home after home in the area deteriorate from the sludge, his house included.
Pulaski County Quorum Court Justice of the Peace Kristina Gulley says she can handle the roadway, part of her duties for the 10th district.
But for her, the railroad is another issue.
“From what I can see,” said Gulley, “it’s been neglected for years.” Gulley has made it her mission to see her neighbors taken care of and claims these ditches aren’t an issue in another part of the city.
“When you go in other neighborhoods with train tracks,” she said, “you don’t see this type of neglect.”
Down the road, Ulysses Robinson in McAlmont has seen this neglect firsthand. His backyard is covered in brush and trees, stretching onto his property.
“Sometimes it’s so many limbs that it touches the ground,” he said. Hundreds of branches hang over his property, vegetation that is on Union Pacific land. “It’s not our responsibility,” Robinson said, “it’s the railroad.”
Union Pacific has released a statement, saying:
“Union Pacific values the communities through which we operate and works hard to be a good neighbor. We respond to and investigate concerns when we receive them. Any individual is encouraged to call 1-800-UPRR-COP to report incidents that involve the railroad.”
They also add that they will be reaching out to neighborhood representatives to learn more.