They sit on the train tracks near Grand Avenue, rusting and spotted with graffiti. Those 100 Union Pacific Railroad cars have been sitting on the tracks for nearly a year.
They’re an eyesore and a safety concern according to Grover Beach city officials, who want the cars moved out of the city. On Jan. 6, the city’s police department took to social media to urge residents to contact Union Pacific, which owns the cars, and let them know about the community’s concerns.
- PHOTO BY DYLAN HONEA-BAUMANN
- GET ’EM OUT: About 100 idle rail cars have been sitting in Grover Beach for nearly a year, and city officials are concerned that they are a safety hazard.
“Union Pacific has addressed some of the graffiti, but no significant progress has been achieved regarding the stored rail cars or the remaining graffiti,” a Facebook post from the department read.
The idle rail cars are used to transport metal and gravel. The cars are not only unsightly but have caused several problems during their long-term storage in Grover Beach, according to GBPD Chief John Peters.
“They’re a hazard,” Peters said. “We’ve had reports of people tagging them, climbing on them, and also reports of the homeless living around [the cars].”
The tracks are technically owned by Union Pacific, but Grover beach police are often called to respond to the issues involving the cars because those who enter the area are trespassing on UP property. Peters also raised concerns about people trying to get to rail cars potentially being hit by trains, citing three individuals who died from being struck by trains in SLO and Santa Barbara counties within days of one another.
“To get to the rail cars people also have to cross an active track, so there’s a danger they might get struck,” Peters said.
Peters and other city officials have tried to contact Union Pacific in an attempt to resolve the issues, but Peters said the company hasn’t been very cooperative.
Union Pacific spokesman Francisco Garcia said that the company was aware of the concerns. He said the rail cars are used based on demand, and that there wasn’t a demand for them currently.
“We have a limited capacity to store rail cars on our system,” he said. “We are working internally to see if there’s another location for those cars.”