Neighbors concerned after Chesapeake students exit school bus, climb over stopped train

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CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Video taken by a local driver shows students climbing onto a stopped train to make it over to the other side of Old Atlantic Avenue.

Some students had to grab each other’s hands to make it over.

The person who sent 10 On Your Side the video says the students came off of bus 191 right at the train tracks.

It was a frightening sight for many who thought at any moment that the train could start moving, and the children could get hurt.

Neighbor Ashanti Lamb says for neighbors living in this area, trains stopping right at the intersection is a common sight. “It’s annoying, it stops and then it does not keep going. It will back up and come back and stop,” said Lamb.

10 On Your Side looked on the Chesapeake Public Schools website and found that bus 191 has multiple bus stops that are on the other side of the train tracks. 

Lamb says she sees trains just stopped on these tracks multiple times a week, sometimes for almost an hour.

Lamb says it’s not only a safety issue for the kids trying to get around it, but she worries about emergency vehicles needing to get by. “Then they have to go all the way across the bridge and come around,” she said.

10 On Your Side made calls Tuesday to Norfolk Southern about the trains sitting on the tracks, and to Chesapeake Public Schools about the decision to let the children out at a railroad crossing.

Chesapeake School spokesperson Angie Smith responded Wednesday afternoon, but did not provide any information. She told WAVY, “The School Division is currently conducting an investigation into this matter.  This is considered a personnel issue and we cannot provide comment.”

Chesapeake Public Schools says the school division is currently conducting an investigation. 
 
They also say it’s considered a personnel issue and they cannot provide comment.
 
10 On Your Side also spoke with the public relations director for Norfolk Southern, Susan Terpay.
 
She says they have seen the video and their police department has reached out to the school system.
 
She says students getting off at a train crossing is a serious matter.
 
Terpay says it’s very dangerous to climb over or under a stopped train, since it could move at any moment, and a child could be killed.
 
Norfolk Southern says the train was stopped because it was either delivering or picking up a train car from a business.
 
They say if the train has to stop there again, the crew will have instructions to place someone at the crossing to make sure no one jumps the train.

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