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Railroad crossing closures challenge drivers in Appleton

Companies, municipalities push to consolidate for safety, costs

7:05 AM, Dec. 11, 2013
Jeanne Kanyuh, of Appleton, walks her dog Anni across the now-closed railroad crossing at North Superior Street in downtown Appleton.
Jeanne Kanyuh, of Appleton, walks her dog Anni across the now-closed railroad crossing at North Superior Street in downtown Appleton.
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In cities that grew up around mills and manufacturing, freight rail line still slice through downtown regions. But crossings here - and around the country - are slowly disappearing.

Nationwide, crossings have closed every year since the Federal Railroad Administration began tracking them in 1975 - down from 402,500 crossings back then to about 200,000 today. In Wisconsin, crossings were cut by more than half in that time. The number now stands at about 6,000.

Where active rail lines are still needed, roads simply dead-end. In cities like Appleton, that requires drivers who find barriers ...

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