Queens lawmaker’s bill to cover waste on railroad cars advances in the state Senate


For way too long, residents of Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village have had to contend with the odiferous stench and falling debris from so-called trash trains that ride the freight rails in close proximity to their homes. But legislation sponsored by state Senator Joseph Addabbo was recently approved by the Environmental Conservation Committee to combat the issue, requiring hard lids or sturdy tarping to be placed on top of trash trains.

“Apart from the foul odors and spilled garbage that many of my constituents are burdened with on a regular basis, the trash trains have other negative repercussions on the environment, local property values and the public health,” Addabbo said. “My bill addresses these issues by requiring that garbage being transported by rail be effectively covered and contained.”

Under Addabbo’s measure, trains carrying putrescible waste, or trash which is subject to decay, would be covered with hard, sealing lids before leaving their transfer stations. Non-putrescible waste would be covered with hard tarping.

“Although transporting trash by rail may be environmentally and economically preferable to trucking, the practice certainly has its drawbacks,” Addabbo said.”However, I believe that putting a sealed lid on the trains would offer an effective, easy resolution to cut down on pollution, reduce the unpleasant odors and other undesirable effects.”

The next step for Addabbo’s bill will be a vote before the full Senate. A companion piece of legislation is under review in the Assembly in its Environmental Conservation Committee.

Congresswoman Grace Meng drafted a similar bill in 2018 called the Train Coverings for Community Safety Act saying covers on top of trash trains “so that all the waste in completely contained, would help alleviate many of these problems, and ensure that uncovered trains no longer affect the quality of life of area residents.”

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