This started years ago in response to the purchase of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway and continues now as eight Chicago suburbs challenge the potential merger of the Canadian Pacific and the Kansas City Southern railroads:
Bartlett, Bensenville, Elgin, Itasca, Hanover Park, Roselle, Wood Dale and Schaumburg formed the Coalition to Stop CPKC last week in a bid to convince the board that the merger would bring so many additional trains to the Milwaukee West Line that it would dramatically alter life in their communities…
The merger would create the first single-line rail network linking the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The railroads filed the merger application in October.
Each of the eight suburbs conducted evaluations and determined what mitigations would be needed to protect their residents and businesses from the increase in freight traffic. Pileski said Roselle alone would need at least $30 million to create pathways and modify roads to get around the freight trains.
The coalition filing says the potential price tag for mitigations in all eight suburbs could reach $9.5 billion, and negate any benefit to the railroads.
Railroad traffic in many suburbs is viewed negatively due to an increase in blocked crossings or waiting for trains, more noise and pollution, and a disruption to a quiet suburban life. On the other hand, rail traffic helps deliver a lot of goods, can be more efficient than other shipping options, and might limit traffic – train or on roads – elsewhere.
In the larger picture of the Surface Transportation Board, where do the concerns of these 8 suburbs fit with other concerns or advantages regarding this potential merger?
In a region built in part on railroad transportation and that continues to see tremendous amounts of railroad freight traffic, it will be worth watching this outcome.