The proposal by CSX Corporation, a transportation company, and Glendale-based New York & Atlantic (NY&A)Railway would move an air-pumping station near 69th Place 800 feet south, to an area surrounded by fewer homes.
The station - situated on a sunken train track that cuts through the neighborhood - is used during safety tests each morning around 5 a.m., when the railway hands over a train carrying food products and other cargo to CSX for transportation to a sorting facility in the Bronx.
Residents have long complained of noise and fumes from the half-hour transfer operation.
The railroads described the move, which is voluntary, as a “good-faith” gesture.
“[We're] trying to see if we can make life a little bit more pleasant,” said Paul Victor, president of New York & Atlantic, which is headquartered in offices on Otto Road.
CSX spokesperson Robert Sullivan said moving the transfer site to a location closer to Lutheran Cemetery would “further reduce the visibility of the train operations in the neighborhood.”
The plan was drawn up over nine months in consultation with elected officials, he added.
Victor said CSX and NY&A are ready to carry it out once residents weigh in at an upcoming meeting and officials sign-off on the project.
Some already have, including Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who said the “proposal is a step in the right direction.” State Senator Joe Addabbo also said he supports the change.
But some residents want more details before the move is made.
Would it be “better than what we have now? Yes,” said Anthony Pedalino, who lives near the air-pumping station and has led the fight to have it moved.
Still, Pedalino, who says he is often woken by the sound of train cars linking up in the hours before he goes off to work, was skeptical the new site would be far enough away to have a real impact.
“Where are they actually putting this thing? You still have the issue of noise,” he said. “There's still things on the table that need to be resolved.”
Victor said the change would be costly and raise the railroad's long-term operating expense, though he declined to say by how much. He acknowledged it won't please everybody.
“Some people will be happy and other people, no matter what you do, are going to be unhappy as long as there's a railroad,” he said. “We're trying to be a good corporate neighbor.”