Illinois lawmakers speak out against $31B Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern railroads merger

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
Illinois lawmakers speak out against massive railroad merger
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Concerns about the massive railroad merger include increased train noise and congestion in several northwest Chicago suburbs.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- There's a new request and a new idea in the ongoing federal hearings over the proposed railway merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.

Fears of increased train noise and congestion in several suburbs are among the concerns.

READ MORE | Northwest suburban mayors, first responders testify against massive railroad merger

The train yard in Bensenville is a massive freight transportation hub for trains and trucks transporting goods around North America. Opponents of a proposed railroad merger say the yard is one of the reasons railroad traffic would increase dramatically through a number of northwest suburban towns if that merger between the Canadian pacific and Kansas City southern railroads is approved.

"If the merger goes through as proposed, it will break the railroad system," Bensenville Village Manager Evan Summers said.

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL 8th District) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) joined a group of suburban mayors and first responders speaking out against the proposed merger. The group claims the merger would increase freight traffic by 300%, causing more delays through the crossings in the impacted communities including for emergency vehicles.

"If we do an alternative route it would take 14 minutes to do a run that would normally take 1:15," Itasca Fire Chief Jack Schneidwind said. "That's what our concern is about."

READ MORE | Northwest suburban mayors, first responders, business owners oppose massive $31B railroad merger

Members of the group shared their concerns with the Surface Transportation Board in Washington D.C. last week. After meeting Tuesday morning, they are now proposing more study into the environmental impact in the Chicago area than what the board's draft study shows.

"So far the environmental impact has raised more questions than it's answered," said Sen. Dick Durbin. "What we want to see is a study of the Chicago area that measures the impact on this area."

"There are 20 miles of railroad tracks with 54 crossings in the Milwaukee West district that need to be analyzed separately from everything else," Krishnamoorthi said.

According to a statement by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, the board's own draft environmental analysis suggests there would be very little environmental impact from the proposed merger. But its final report has yet to be released. And as for building a new railyard, they say that is not part of the merger proposal.