New Railroad Technology

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First responders in one local city will no longer have to worry about being stopped by a train on their way to an emergency, all thanks to some new technology being tested in the Azalea City.

Valdosta is helping its emergency crews beat the railroad crossing blues.

It's a sight all too common for folks in Valdosta: morning, noon and night, trains are making their way through the city, but what happens when one of these trains prevents emergency crews from responding to a fire or even saving someone's life?

"It's very frustrating for us as first responders because it actually delays the response time by a significant amount of time, sometime as much as five minutes."

But help is on the way thanks to some new technology that will notify first responders of any blocked railroad crossings.

Mayor John Fretti says, "We hope to then convert that signal into a mapping system that we can send to the on-board computers of our first responders and show them the route."

And with 42 of these railroad crossings in the city of Valdosta alone, local emergency responders say it’s a problem they've been dealing with for years and are happy something is finally being done about it.

J.D. Rice, Valdosta Fire Chief, says, “It's a Godsend for us. If we know what time a train is scheduled to be at a particular crossing we can automatically send a truck that's not going to be affected by the crossing and hasten our response."

City leaders say they hope to have the new system online in about six months. Valdosta will be the first city in the state of Georgia to implement this new program.