BENSENVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Trains rumble through downtown Bensenville on a regular basis. While many businesses like the Two Chefs restaurant deal with the inconveniences they cause right now, they say a potential increase in freight train traffic would be a much bigger deal.
"The trains are devastating. You can't cross for 30-40 minutes," Two Chefs owner Bob Tercall said. "So adding to that is gonna be a problem."
The proposed merger of the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads would create a rail line extending from Mexico to Canada. But it would also increase freight train traffic through towns throughout the northwest suburbs on tracks they share with Metra. Some believe the merger would lead to Metra delays.
"This merger as proposed would cause potentially hundreds of thousands of commuters to drive rather than take extra trains, clogging roads, harming the environment, setting back public transit for decades," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-8th District.
A coalition of mayors and first responders from those towns along the rail line testified against the proposed merger in front of the Surface Transportation Board in Washington D.C. Wednesday.
"A small town like Bensenville, where I have grade separations, this potential increase will completely shut down our town," Bensenville Village President Frank DeSimone said.
Fire and police chiefs have said the longer freight trains could also make it difficult for them to respond to emergencies while they wait to cross the tracks.
"The best for all of us is to find a different route," said Hanover Park Fire Chief Eric Fors.
The mayors realize the odds are stacked against them in this fight. It will likely be several months before the board announces a decision on the proposed merger.