Girardville Community Fights To Keep Railroad Crossing Open

GIRARDVILLE -- A railroad crossing that has been closed for months in Girardville will reopen this week.

The railroad crossing between Railroad Street and Upper Railroad Street in Girardville has been closed for about two and a half months.

"For them, it might not be a big deal," Girardville Fire Chief Frank Zangari said. "For us, it's a lifesaver."

The crossing is one of two ways drivers can get to Upper Railroad Street. It began deteriorating a while back, so badly so, the railroad closed it.

"There were some pretty big divots in here," Girardville Mayor Joseph Catizone said. "It was very hazardous to vehicles. Anybody with a smaller car was probably bottoming out almost hitting the railroad tracks themselves. So, it was very bad to the community."

Mark Rainis lives on Upper Railroad. He said it's caused issues for the people who live in the more than a dozen homes along the street.

"Having this not open, the oil trucks were having a hard time coming up here," Rainis said. "The oil trucks would have to come up that hill, which is steeper."

Borough officials said the railroad company, Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad, offered them about $15,000 to close the road and the crossing for good. Girardville's fire chief said that would make it difficult for his firefighters to get to that road.

"We just had a fire a few months ago," Zangari said. "A house fire up here. The first truck in here laid line, which means the second truck had a difficult time coming in with this road blocked. If we need an ambulance for a burn victim or a heart attack victim, that ambulance wouldn't even be able to get out with the fire trucks behind them."

After the borough discussed the importance of the crossing with the railroad company, it has been repaved. It is expected to reopen in the next couple of days.

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