SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose residents, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, sounded off Wednesday at a meeting with Union Pacific representatives over its change in schedule to run trains overnight.
“Stop running night trains,” said Jason Muehring. “Stop running trains through our neighborhoods at night.”READ MORE: FDA Clears Johnson & Johnson's Single-Dose COVID-19 Vaccine for Immediate Use
According to Muehring and the dozens of residents who packed the meeting, the trains run through their neighborhood several times in the middle of the night, blaring their horns at every railroad crossing as required by federal law.
“A typical night, 2 a.m., 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.,” he said. “There were several days I had to function and work and carry on with life on just two and half, three hours of sleep.”
The meeting, requested by city leaders, became tense at times with residents interrupting, as well as Liccardo–he corrected Union Pacific Director of Public Affairs Francisco Castillo when he told the crowd the company is running the same amount of night trains as it did in 2000.READ MORE: Sacramento Doctor Appears in Virtual Traffic Court While Performing Surgery
Liccardo stood in front of the room and told the representative to stop misleading and lying to the community. Castillo said Union Pacific made the changes in February to all 23 states it operates in and not just in San Jose, to improve its service and efficiency to its customers.
But Liccardo said the company did it to save money.
“It is clear to me that local taxpayers should not be subsidizing the business decisions of Union Pacific,” said Liccardo.
City leaders said they had no idea about the overnight trains until the complaints from residents grew as loud as the train horns.
“Their concerns are not debatable, we recognize that our modifications to our operations have had a significant impact in this community,” Castillo said.
Still, Union Pacific representatives did not budge. They explained to the crowd that they are contractually bound to the schedule and couldn’t revert back to running its trains in the day.
They also said that it would be up to the city to ask the Federal Railroad Administration to approve a quiet zone in San Jose, which would be the only way for trains not to blare their horns at certain railroad crossings.
City leaders said they’re already looking at creating a quiet zone, but that it will take time. A study is expected to last until December. They also said they are already considering taking legal action against Union Pacific, including filing a lawsuit.MORE NEWS: San Francisco Police Return Stolen Puppy to Richmond Family
As for the homeless, trash and blight on the tracks–Union Pacific admitted its their responsibility to clean it up.