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BNSF challenges city right to issue tickets

Lead Summary

As parents living south of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) tracks were getting ready to pick their children up at the Northside Elementary School, a slow moving train came to a full stop on the tracks.  
It is about 2:40 in the afternoon Thursday.  A heavy wet snow was falling, creating slushy conditions on roads and sidewalks.
The Northside students, children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, get out of school at 2:57 p.m. Students at the middle school and high school get out at 3:01 p.m.
As the students grabbed their backpacks and coats, heading for the doors and a ride home, the train still sat blocking the three downtown Benson crossings. The line of cars and trucks backed up on either side of the tracks were now a several blocks long. That line on the north side of the tracks grew longer as departing high school students added their vehicles to it.
Finally, shortly before 3:15 p.m., the train began to move and eventually cleared the crossings. The tracks had been blocked for more than half an hour.
BNSF was ticketed for the seventh time in less than a year for the extended blockage of the downtown crossings. It was the third ticket in the past month. A couple weeks ago it was ticketed for blocking the crossings for more than one-and-a-half hours.

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