Roselle, Itasca, others come together to urge public to comment on freight train traffic increase
Eight suburbs along the Milwaukee District/West rail line are forming a coalition to raise concerns over the Canadian Pacific Railway's acquisition of the Kansas City Southern, a merger these towns say will add unwanted freight trains to the line and disrupt life in their communities.
The eight towns are encouraging their residents to submit comments to the Surface Transportation Board at https://cp-kcsmergereis.com/involvement.htm, by no later than Friday, Dec. 17.
They are Roselle, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Schaumburg, Itasca, Wood Dale and Bensenville.
The board has said it will likely render a decision on the acquisition by the fourth quarter of 2022.
According to Roselle officials, the additional of six to eight trains daily will affect grade crossing safety and cause delays to motor vehicle traffic and emergency services, decrease air quality and increase noise.
Roselle Mayor David Pileski said the line gets about three freight trains daily, plus, of course, commuter trains.
Both Roselle and Itasca mayors say the increased rail traffic could delay police, fire and ambulance vehicles rushing to and from emergency calls. Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn said that it could make all of its crossings unavailable at the same time, and Wood Dale reports that there could be an aggregate of more than two hours of road closures every day.
"It's going to create more pressure on our community and be a safety hazard for the people living here," Pileski said.
Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. purchased Kansas City Southern for $8.45 billion by selling investment-grade bonds in U.S. and Canadian dollars, finalizing the deal with an announcement on Tuesday.
However, the deal needs Surface Transportation Board approval. If approval is granted, integrating the railroad services would take an expected three years to complete.
A representative from Canadian Pacific responded to a Daily Herald request for comment in an email, saying that they will work hard to be a good neighbor and mitigate potential adverse community impacts, working with the communities through the process.
"It's an issue that got thrown on us pretty quickly," Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn said. "We certainly have concerns about it."
Canadian Pacific is one of Canada's two major railroads, extending across the country and connecting east and west coast ports in Montreal and Vancouver, respectively. In the U.S., CP connects to Buffalo and Albany, New York and Searsport, Maine and runs south into the U.S. Midwest and connects with Kansas City Southern in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City Southern extends from Kansas City, Missouri, to the Gulf Coast and into Mexico City.
The other major Canadian railroad, Canadian National, had been in the hunt for Kansas City Southern, but it terminated their merger agreement in September and announced it would not pursue a takeover any further.
Canadian Pacific said it would make history as the first railroad to ever operate simultaneously in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.