Portland is on the main line of the CSX railroad between Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. Of course, in earlier days, the railroad was known as the Louisville & Nashville or simply the L&N.
Today the track serves several industries in Portland with rail sidings that enable large quantities of heavy materials (e.g., coils of steel) to be quickly delivered.
When crossing a railroad track, please use extreme caution.
Don't enter the crossing unless you know there is room for you on the other side.
Newer railroad crossing signals are required by Federal and Tennessee law to give you a minimum of 20 seconds between the time the lights start to flash and the train enters the crossing.
Newer railroad crossing signals are required by Federal and Tennessee law to give you a minimum of 5 seconds from the time the gates are fully down and the time the train enters the crossing.
Do not try to drive around the crossing gates that are down or going down.
Keep in mind that it can take a train a mile or more to stop.
If your vehicle or another vehicle stalls on a CSX track, use your cell phone to call CSX's Emergency Department at 1-800-232-0144. If possible, walk over to the pole that holds the flashing lights (or the railroad crossing sign) and tell the dispatcher the crossing ID number that's on a sign on the pole.
As you approach a railroad crossing, turn off your radio so you can hear the train's horn.
As you approach a railroad crossing, lower your window a little so you can hear the train's horn.
McGlothlin/Wheeler Street Railroad Crossing
Did you know, at the McGlothlin/Wheeler Street railroad crossing in Portland, you may only have 20 seconds from the time the lights start flashing until the train enters the crossing? Did you know, you may only have 5 seconds from the time the gates are fully down until the train is in the crossing? Both facts are true. These are the new minimum times set by law.
Please be aware, that if you've got a train barreling down on you, that's not a lot of time!
You will find two types of railroad crossing signals in Portland:
Crossings that have this kind of signal: Market Street, Main Street, probably others. This is the "old style" of railroad crossing signal. The signals detect that there is a train somewhere in the vicinity, but they have no idea how fast the train is going nor when it will reach the crossing.
Because of this, the signals have to activate earlier. Depending on how fast the train is actually going, it could take a relatively long time for the train to reach the crossing. When people have to wait a long time, they tend to drive around the gates.
Constant Warning Signals
Crossings that have this kind of signal: McGlothlin/Wheeler Street, Fountain Head Road, Old Gallatin Road, probably others. These signals detect how fast a train is moving, and they adjust the gates so you have the exact same amount of warning whether the train is going 10 mph or 30 mph or 60 mph. The minimum warning times are: 20 seconds from the time the lights start flashing until the train enters the crossing; 5 seconds from the time the gates are down until the train enters the crossing.
These times are set by the Federal government and have been approved by Tennessee. The theory is people will know a train will be in the crossing soon, so they won't attempt to outrun the train.
The next time you are on South Russell Street in Portland and a train is coming, please note that the gates at Market Street and Main Street come down sooner than the gates at McGlothlin/Wheeler Street. Now you know why!