Driver warns of broken railroad gate in Byron Twp.

A railroad signal at 68th Street in Byron Township malfunction as a train runs through.


BYRON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – A Holland man is warning drivers after a scary encounter Wednesday night.

Michael Keller was driving home from work when he noticed a truck was stopped in the middle of 68th Street, just before the railroad crossing that’s west of the Division Avenue intersection.

“I don’t know why [the driver] did. My second instinct was to stop just in case,” Keller said.

Just as he came to a halt, a train raced by in front of him with no warning.

“No signals, no barriers, no lights, no horn. If I would’ve kept going I would’ve got hit,” he recounted. “I was dumbfounded. Then it took me awhile to get a hold of my camera, but I was still in shock.”

Keller snapped a photo as a way to alert other drivers.

Those who work in the area reported seeing malfunctions before, but the problem was the opposite of what Keller witnessed.

“It seems like they just go up and down on their own,” Sara Bonzheim said. She works close to the tracks and said the malfunctioning is a common occurrence.

“I’ll sit there at my desk and just watch out the window and laugh,” she said. “It’ll go up halfway then come back down. Go all the way up. Let a few cars through then come back down. It’ll go OK for like an hour.”

Calls to the township were not returned, but 24 Hour News 8 found Grand Elk Railroad appears to be responsible for maintaining the line.

The general manager for the company said they’re looking into the photo to confirm it’s their line. He added it’s important for people to report malfunctions. The phone number listed at the 68th Street crossing is 1.866.386.9321 to report a problem. The inventory number is 545750S.

MDOT’s website states the phone number and inventory number listed at crossing is the most efficient way to report a malfunction. They also recommend calling the local police department.