South Memphis residents dealing with noisy train troubles

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Imagine the sound of an idling train right outside your window day and night.

That’s a reality for some Memphis residents. The owner of the Light Apartments in South Memphis says he has been dealing with the problem for several years.

He says trains use the track behind the complex on Kansas Street near Belz and then sit for hours, sometimes days, with the engine running.

Residents told Action News 5 they cannot sleep some nights because of those loud locomotives. They say they just want their concerns addressed because it has been going on long enough.

“It’s noisy,” said resident Earlene Randle. “Especially at night. Late at night and early in the morning. It’s really noisy. I mean you can’t sleep. It’ll wake you up.”

Earlene Randle has lived at the Light Apartments in South Memphis for almost a year. She and other residents have been dealing with the noise problem, almost every day.

“Stuff vibrates off the shelves, it gets so loud,” said owner Doug Braun. “The noise is just horrendous.”

Owner Doug Braun says he’s been dealing with this problem for five years.

“We’ve tried numerous things trying to get them to fix it,” said Braun. “I’ve gone down to the train depot and talk to people down there,. They say it’s not our train. It’s someone else’s train. We’ve talked to every single train company.”

Braun says he has also called 311 and even the mayor’s office but nothing has helped.

“They will park them on a Friday and they will stay all the way through the weekend so when people have days off, they don’t have any relaxation,” said Braun.

The train sounds leave residents without any shut-eye at night or peace of mind during the day.

“You don’t get enough sleep number one,” said Randle. “And at my age I need plenty of sleep. You don’t enough sleep because of the train. Because you up. Once you go back to sleep then here comes another one and then it sits there all night.”

“Why do they sit there? I don’t know,” said resident Joseph Johnson.

Braun says he wants the trains to park further down the line. But, he says if that’s not possible, he hopes they will at least shut their engines off when stopped behind his tenants’ homes.

Action News 5 spotted a BNSF train on the tracks Tuesday. Their communications manager told us it’s possible they have temporary trackage rights on the railway or that the train was handed off at an interchange and operated by their crew. But they deferred any questions for operations to Canadian National Railway, the owner of the tracks off Kansas Street.

Officials with Canadian National Railway asked Action News 5 to send our request for answers in an e-mail.

We have not yet heard back.

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