More than 300 comments oppose Canadian Pacific railway merger

 
 
Updated 1/10/2022 5:23 PM

In a short amount of time, 324 suburbanites -- and others from throughout the Midwest -- voiced almost universal displeasure with a proposed railway merger that would increase freight traffic in the West and Northwest suburbs.

"I live 200 yards from the track as it is," Itasca resident Mark Savignani wrote on a public comment site that will be read by the federal Surface Transportation Board, which has final say over the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific and the Kansas City Southern. "I say, hell no."

 

Residents along the Milwaukee District/West rail line -- which goes through Roselle, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Schaumburg, Itasca, Wood Dale and Bensenville -- submitted feedback to the Surface Transportation Board's website with comments ranging from concern to outright objection. Residents from other Illinois towns, such as Wheaton and Genoa, and states, including Iowa and Missouri, also voiced their concerns. "It is already hard to get a good night sleep without being awakened by trains blowing their horns in the wee hours of the morning," Elgin resident Luiz Perez said. "I am sick and tired of that situation, and increasing the number of trains passing through Elgin will make the matter worse."

Roselle officials say the merger would bring three to five more freight trains daily. That, they say, will affect grade crossing safety and cause delays to motor vehicle traffic and emergency services, decrease air quality and increase noise.

"Having freight train traffic up by 300% coming through our small town of Roselle is totally unacceptable," resident Vicki Little write. "Our downtown area is congested enough already. We don't need any more noise and traffic congestion."

In late 2021, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. purchased Kansas City Southern for $31 billion, including debt.

"It directly impacts the quality of life," Schaumburg resident Nancy Elkin said. "The intersection of Irving & Roselle will become a mess -- and it is so close to the heart of Roselle. This is a terrible idea and we are completely against it."

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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., Canadian Pacific connects to Buffalo and Albany, New York and Searsport, Maine, and runs south into the Midwest and connects with Kansas City Southern in Kansas City, Missouri.

If approved, it would be the first railroad system in history to operate simultaneously in Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Many residents in these towns already believe freight trains are a burden to their communities and adding more would be far worse.

"The train blockages by our neighborhood are already unbearable with 15- to 20-minute wait times, usually," Bartlett resident Thomas O'Connery said. "I've watched numerous ambulances, firetrucks, police cars sitting stopped at the tracks dozens of times over the years, and to know that the freight train traffic will double makes me sick to my stomach."

The deal needs the approval of the Surface Transportation Board, which has said it expects to have a decision by the fall. If granted, integrating railroad services is expected to take three years to complete.

Many mayors and other local leaders have given statements as well, including Hanover Park Village President Rodney Craig, who said that the additional freight traffic could hurt the area's desirability and significantly harm the village's economy.

"It's been great to see the community participate in the process and highlight their concerns," Roselle Mayor David Pileski said.

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