Getting to School Can Mean Life or Death When Trains Block Crossings

Some children face physical, mental and emotional dangers: They climb over, squeeze between and crawl under train cars just to get to school. ProPublica’s Topher Sanders discusses how he collaborated with other journalists to investigate the ongoing problem of blocked crossings in Hammond, Indiana. (EWA Radio Episode 321)

Photo credit: Jamie Kelter Davis, special to ProPublica

When trains block crossings, sometimes for days, communities across the country face challenges. Even if the blocked intersection is just four streets away from a location, first responders can’t get to fires, parents can’t go to grocery stores, and children can’t get to school. 

Kids face physical, mental and emotional dangers each time they climb over, squeeze between and crawl under train cars in the working-class commuter city of Hammond, Indiana. Parents’ and local officials’ pleas about the dangers have gone unheeded. 

As part of a reporting collaboration with ProPublica and Investigate TV/Gray Television, Topher Sanders chronicled the problem. The ProPublica reporter talks about how blocked crossings interfere with children’s schooling, why this practice has continued and why all roads (or tracks!) lead to the education beat!

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