Boxcars Idled by Recession Become Residential Blight

Residents who have gained a new town wall aren't pleased
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2009 1:50 PM CST
An engine pushes a boxcar at the railyard in Huron, SD.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Miles of boxcars that used to rumble through rural US communities now sit idle—and though quieter, towns are finding them much more obtrusive, reports the Wall Street Journal. With shipping down across the world, 30% of America’s boxcars have nothing to transport, and rail yards just can’t hold some 200,000 extra cars. They’ve found new homes, but aren’t very welcome there.

Neighbors of one boxcar storage yard in Indiana complain that cars parked on little-used tracks obscure views from back windows, invite vandalism that spills over onto houses, and exposes children in a track-side schoolyard to profane graffiti. But with enough idle cars to stretch from New York to Salt Lake City, railroad representatives say there aren’t many other options.