A BROKEN rail halted a coal train at Scone on Friday, blocking the town's Liverpool Street crossing as authorities worked to reinstate the track.
The problem, which closed the New England Highway in both directions for almost an hour, prompted Roads and Maritime Services to warn drivers they should expect delays and allow extra travel time until about 9am.
Hunter Valley police posted to Facebook clarifying the response on Friday morning after an earlier post.
"A procedure was put in place long ago with consultation between [the Australian Rail Track Corporation] and local emergency services for access to two emergency crossings for incidents such as this," the post said.
"The major point was the disruption to traffic effecting business, schools... however, what we initially thought would take hours was reduced to around 50 mins thanks to the skill of the ARTC track crews."
The post drew a strong response from several residents, reigniting concerns over the town's need for a New England Highway bypass, which would remove the level crossing.
A preferred option for the bypass was unveiled in April.
"It might not be impacting passenger services but it will certainly impact emergency services if needed," Joanne Burgin wrote on the Hunter Valley local area command's post.
Cindy Coward said the breakdown was "only a matter of time".
"Pray to god noone needs to get to a hospital or a house is on fire," she said.
"They have known for years the impact it would have should this ever happen amd something needs to be done about it ASAP not in five years time but NOW."
Traffic cleared about 9am.