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What's Bugging You? Old, worn railroad tracks

January 4, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Worn and beat-up railroad tracks are bugging a number of Eyewitness News viewers. They are tired of the tracks tearing up their cars. Here's what you can do about it.

A hundred years ago Los Angeles had one of the largest rail systems in the world. Trolleys and trains were a common sight. Now most of those old rail lines are long forgotten.

But they're certainly not forgotten by those who have to drive over them.

Jocelyne Daniels sent Eyewitness News an e-mail about these old tracks near the 6800 block of Crenshaw Blvd. She says driving over them is nerve-wracking.

"The wood is splintered, there is gaps in there, the asphalt is uneven, it's just a mess. It's horrible," said Daniels.

The tracks are part of the old railroad network that ran through parts of the city. There are hundreds of other areas just like it.

The drivers that know about these crossings slow down. But a few others just zoom on by.

"So here you are driving across these sharp grommets, and then you have to dip and roll and stop your car just to get by the train tracks," said Daniels. "This is an inconvenience to anyone who drives a vehicle over these train tracks."

As it turns out a number of sections are owned by the MTA, and there will be big changes.

"We're going to take out all that old track. This portion actually is going to be underground," said MTA spokesperson Marc Littman.

It's a new Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, and construction starts in about a year. For now, however, the tracks will be left untouched. There are some environmental issues.

"The railroads that operated for many years, there's lead and arsenic shavings from the brakes. Some of these were in place for a hundred years," said Littman.

If you have old abandoned railroad tracks in your neighborhood, the MTA can let you know if they're the ones set to be replaced.

Rail companies such as BNSF have a website where you can report rough railroad crossings and they will send engineers to check them out.

"There's a dozen rail- and bus-improvement projects, and so in a number of cases, we are going to take out the rail lines and then replace it with new modern track and new modern facilities that will benefit many commuters and others," said Littman.

Decades later, public transportation is moving back to rails. These abandoned right-of-ways are going to be brought back to life.