Northampton residents still aggravated by rail cars in backyards

The cars are expected to leave on Sunday, three weeks from when they rolled in.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Pan Am Railway workers have been living behind Northampton homes for nearly three weeks.
22News Reporter Kait Walsh spoke with frustrated residents two weeks ago and found out Wednesday if conditions have improved.

Many are counting down the days until this Sunday, when the rail cars are expected to roll out.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to be done in three weeks. I’ll be surprised if it is,” said John Frey, whose home on North Street is right in front of the rail cars.

Those who live on North Street in Northampton said they’ve never gotten used to this noise.
all day and all night.

Two weeks ago, residents told us they were frustrated of the loud noises, odors and rail workers partying outside these cabins. City Councilor Ryan O’Donnell heard those complaints too.

“This is where jurisdictions collide. It’s private property, it’s running through the city, there’s federal dollars here so it’s kind of a bureaucratic swamp to be honest that we’re trying to wade through and the end result is we didn’t wade very far,” O’Donnell told 22News.

Another home on North Street has bedrooms in the back of the house and the resident said for nearly three weeks, she’s heard the sound of not one but two generators constantly humming. She’s hopeful on Sunday they’ll move out as they’re supposed to.

In the meantime, they have asked to move the rail cars a quarter mile down the road, away from homes and in a more industrial neighborhood. O’Donnell said he was told the cars needed to be where they were because further down the line, they would interfere with other train tracks that may still be in use.

Residents said it’s not the workers that are frustrating them.

“We had no notice this was going to happen. It’s been two-and-a-half weeks. And they really have not responded at all. They’ve only said that things are not going to change. They’ve made no concessions,” said Frey.

“They gotta do what they gotta do, get in and out of here to improve the system, so I don’t think it’s a bad thing. These guys are just trying to make a living too. They come up from far away to improve the system up here,” said Tom Byrnes, who said he does similar work to those on the train tracks.

Most residents said they’re looking forward to the end result: a more accessible commuter rail. O’Donnell told 22News the first train could run this December with one trip north and south each day.

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