Train Questions

Q: The train is my main concern, is it legal for it to be that long and back up traffic as much as it is?

A: The length of the trains does not have a legal limit, it is only limited by the size of the train yard it can enter and recent construction has been completed at the train yard allowing very large trains to enter.  The time it blocks the road is limited but only when stopped, and that limit is a mere 5 minutes.  Simply put, the train could stop for 5 minutes, move forward slightly, and then stop for another 5 minutes.  Read the full law here:

Virginia Law

The train is a big concern not only for our community but for all of Suffolk.  As Vice Mayor Bennet likes to say; “Remember that the same train you see in the neighborhood also passes through and clogs downtown Suffolk.  If there is anything that the city can do to minimize the congestion it would be in the interest of everyone to accomplish that goal which is why the city council is constantly working on the issue!”



Q: Can we get the train schedule so I can know what time to miss the train crossing?

A: Suffolk Public works has the approved schedule.  This schedule does not provide specific times.  Specific times cannot be posted as they are a security issue.



Q: When the train passes it is hard to get out of the neighborhood because traffic is backed up.  What can we do about this?

A: Future road expansions (Particularly on Nansemond Parkway) have considerations being made by the city regarding delays in gates, stop sign re-positioning and other available solutions.



Q: If I live in Suffolk Meadows East and what happens if a train is crossing at the same time 911 calls need to get to that part of the neighborhood?

A: We get this question a lot.  The main concern being that emergency responders from station 5 (3901 Bridge Road) would be traveling South down Shoulders Hill Road and they would not be able to cross the tracks if a train is crossing at the same time.  Fire Chief Scott and Battalion 1 Chief Knight have visited our community meetings, heard our concerns regarding this, and, as of 2017, a plan has been implemented to minimize this risk specific to SME.  Other things noted were:

  • Chief Scott
    • Fire falls in two areas, one from bridge road, one from Driver station.
    • Driver (Station 10) – Is now fully staffed!
    • White marsh road can also support
    • Mutual aid can be provided by Chesapeake / Portsmouth as well.
      • Large fires
      • EMS
    • Automatic Aid – basically one area can cover another area automatically.
  • Battalion 1 Chief Knight
    • Backfill technique can also be used

Further questions regarding this can be directed to: