Railcars cause concerns after being parked in neighborhood for months

Railcars parked along a section of track through a big portion of Ammon have led to mixed feelings among neighbors. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

AMMON — Railcars parked through several Ammon neighborhoods have created concerns for safety among neighbors.

The railcars span along 1.4 miles of track owned by the Eastern Idaho Railroad (EIRR). The railcars start just after Sunnyside Road and stop a short distance before the tracks reach John Adams Parkway. Along a large portion of the tracks are neighborhoods with backyards opening right up to the rails.

“We just want it moved,” Markell Corpus said. “The people of Ammon are proud of our community and we don’t want to see it turned into a dangerous junkyard.”

Corpus lives in one of the neighborhoods with the railcars and said when people with concerns contacted EIRR, they were reportedly told the company was leaving them there indefinitely. Corpus and others then took to creating a petition urging the company to move the railcars.

“There have been reports of men sitting on-top looking into houses,” Corpus said. “It just seems to be a gathering place for things that we don’t want in the community and honestly we’re worried that nothing is going to happen until somebody gets hurt.”

While at least two hundred neighbors have signed the petition asking EIRR to move the cars, several people EastIdahoNews.com spoke with did not have an issue with the railcars in their backyards.

“There’s a couple of good things,” said Chleisse Sessions. “When the sun goes down, it goes down behind the car, so that’s nice … kids are very curious and they’ve been on the railcars and it’s kind of fun for them.”

Sessions said the train cars also provided a chance for her to take pictures with a different backdrop and even has the photos hanging on her wall. She said graffiti is not as much of an issue as she thought it would be since the railcars were parked.

Youth seen walking across the railcars parked in Ammon neighborhoods for months. | Courtesy photo

“It’s a novelty,” Sessions said. “To me, it’s not a big deal. It’s kind of cool to have a train in your backyard.”

The biggest concern for Sessions, Corpus and others appears to be the safety of children around the railcars.

“I know for my own kids it’s been a temptation and we’ve had to tell them it’s against the law for you to be on those,” Euroca Marrott said. “I don’t worry too much about the teenagers, but when I see a five- or six-year-old up there, then I’m concerned.”

Marrott said she would eventually like to see the cars moved and is still confused about why they were parked there in the first place.

Sean Coletti, an attorney and the Mayor of Ammon, said that having the railcars parked on these tracks does create safety concerns and from a legal standpoint, the railcars could be considered an attractive nuisance.

This means that the railcars are potentially drawing young children to the EIRR property where kids could get hurt. Typically in liability law, the person who owns the property where the attractive nuisance sits is reliable for when a child gets hurt.

“This really is a resident initiative. This isn’t a city (government) initiative,” Coletti said. “It’s the residents that are really pushing for the cars to be removed and frankly I agree with the residents.”

Coletti stressed he is speaking for himself rather than his elected position of Mayor.

EastIdahoNews.com reached out to Eastern Idaho Railroad numerous times for comment. The company was aware when this story was going to be posted and did not respond by deadline. We will update the article if EIRR issues a statement.