STARKVILLE — The train cars line the tracks outside of Starkville for miles on each side.
Many are rusted and covered with graffiti. The tracks, meanwhile, are becoming overgrown, with some weeds standing as high as 6 and 7 feet tall.
For Kansas City Southern, the company whose trains run through Starkville, the idle box cars are just a sign of the times.
“Due to the state of the economy, many Kansas City Southern customers are not shipping the volumes they once were, reducing the need for rail cars,” KCS spokeswoman Doniele Kane said. “As a result, KCS, like other North American railroads, is parking some rail cars on rail lines with less traffic and moving them as needed. When there is a demand for those cars to be put back in service, they will begin moving again.”
The cars outside of Starkville haven”t moved in months.
“In a perfect world, I”d like to see a train coming through Starkville every day with freight or passengers or whatever,” Oktibbeha County District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said. “When the economy recovers, hopefully we”ll see that.”
Residents who live along Pat Station Road, some of whom cross the tracks every day to reach their homes, weren”t too concerned about the idle train. With no cars rumbling along the tracks once or twice a day, the once-noisy stretch is now quiet.
“As long as it”s not running, it”s fine by me,” Pat Station Road resident Shawnna Driskill said. “It”s so peaceful and quiet out here.”
Many others felt the same way.
Lena Patton has lived along the tracks for 40 years. Her driveway crosses the line directly in front of her home, though the train cars sit idle just up the track.
“As long as the train stays on the tracks, it doesn”t bother me,” Patton said.
Some residents, like Blake Layton, look on the positive side of the idle train. Even though it sits in front of his home and a few of the cars are covered in graffiti, he doesn”t consider the train an eyesore.
“It”s kind of like its own little art form,” Layton said with a laugh.