The pending merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern would eventually triple the amount of train traffic through parts of eastern and southern Iowa.
“The route as it exists today, you could not take the additional train traffic from the merger and put it on the route,” said Andrew Cummings, a spokesman for Canadian Pacific. “so we have a robust expansion plan where we’re going to be adding sidings, extending sidings, adding electronic signaling systems — that sort of thing that will expand the capacity so we’re able to handle additional trains.”
The merger would create the only single-line railroad linking Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. The trains running through Iowa would not stop here.
“These are trains that are originating in other locations, going to other locations,” he said. “They’re carrying the freight that Americans depend on.”
Muscatine’s City Council has narrowly OK’d a $3 million settlement with Canadian Pacific to finance improvements around the tracks, including an overpass. Some council members are raising concerns about trains blocking intersections. Council member Angela Lewis said some Muscatine residents are worried about the noise associated with more trains rolling through the city.
“I’ve had some people from south end call me and say, ‘You know, it’s great that there’s a quiet zone up here by the river,’ but they live a little bit farther down and they’re finding that some engineers are a little robust about blowing of the horn at 2:30 in the morning,” she said, “so those are some things we need to think about moving forward.”
Dan Freeman of Muscatine, who spoke at Thursday’s city council meeting, said the “huge flow” of train traffic will create bottlenecks and increase the emergency response times of police, fire fighters and ambulance crews. “But in a nutshell what we’re seeing here is big business and big corporations that are going to sacrifice communities like Muscatine for their own profitability,” he said, “so they can move whatever products they want.”
Bettendorf’s City Council also has approved Canadian Pacific’s $3 million settlement. Davenport officials meet next Tuesday to consider a $10 million offer. The rail line passes through Davenport’s water plant and through the parking lot for the city’s minor league baseball stadium.
The assets of Kansas City Southern have already been placed in a trust as the companies wait for the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to review the proposed merger.