When we were living in Plano, TX in 1984-1989 trains would regularly cut the town in half; as soon as the sound of a train whistle was heard, cars started racing along Avenue K to get to a crossing before the train blocked all crossings for half an hour. And this was not rural Texas, but part of the Dallas Metroplex. This situation seems to have been fixed since then by elevating the train tracks so road traffic can pass below them, but the same and worse problems continue to exist across the U.S., with paramedics and fire engines unable to reach the site of an emergency or to reach the hospital with critically ill patients.
In situations like those described in this article it is incomprehensible to me why the world’s most advanced and powerful nation (by their own assessment) is being held hostage by freight train operators and is unable to mandate the conversion of grade crossings into road underpasses.
As with the gun control issue legislators in sway to powerful lobbies passively look on while citizens’ lives are being devastated and destroyed. Incomprehensible and enough to disillusion any Americanophile — this one, at least.