The rail line in Dubuque. (KCRG TV photo)

A proposed merger between the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroad companies has people in and around Dubuque concerned about potential impacts.

Janice Henwood has lived in the neighborhood near Massey Park for decades — and there is only one road to get to the park and Henwood’s neighborhood– and train tracks run through it. Henwood told KCRG TV that anywhere from six to ten already trains cross those tracks every day.

“The only concern we have is that we’re on the other side of the tracks when you need emergency vehicles,” Henwood says. Canadian Pacific Media Relations Manager, Andy Cummings, says the impact statement from the Surface Transportation Board (STB), found with the exception of noise impacts, the impacts the impact of the merger would be “negligible, minor, or not adverse.” Cummings also said the merger would lead to an increase in the number of freight trains on average per day from about 12 to 18.

Scott Gritters with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) told KCRG TV that access to the park and its boat ramps and other infrastructure is one of the DNR’s worries when it comes to the proposed merger. “A park like this, it’s heavily used, especially on the weekend. And I think folks down here will definitely feel that extra traffic,” Gritters says.

Gritters says another concern is derailments. “We’ve had incidences where the trains don’t always stay on the tracks and get in the river and that has consumed quite a bit of our staff time already,” Gritters says. “And you put a lot more trains on the tracks, you know, I mean, just simple numerics would say that we have the potential for more of that activity.” Canadian Pacific’s Cummings says the merger would “provide economic, environmental and public benefits to Iowa and beyond, including providing more efficient transportation options for our economy, taking more trucks off our congested public highways, lowering emissions and spurring economic growth.”

Henwood says she always knew trains were part of the deal — and she is not going to move. “It’s a wait and see thing. It is what it is, you know,” she says. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) says a decision on the merger is expected sometime in February. That’s the deadline for the Board to make a decision, but a deadline could come sooner.