The trains seem to be getting longer in De Smet lately. If not longer, maybe slower. According to various informal reports called in to The News office and received by city council members, morning wait times at train crossings in town have lengthened to as long as an hour in some cases.
“It is getting to be a serious problem,” said Mayor Gary Wolkow. “Kids are actually having to crawl under railroad cars to get to school. That’s a serious safety issue.”
The city is reported to have a deal with the railroad that limits the number of cars in any one train to 100. But Wolkow said “One day I counted 146 cars. The trains are definitely getting longer.”
The railroad serving De Smet has recently undergone some changes. The line, which used to belong to Canadian Pacific (CP), has recently been taken over by Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad (RCP&E) and governance has moved from Minneapolis to Rapid City.