Transportation Board Approves Railroad Merger Between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) approved a merger between the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads, which has sparked criticism from communities impacted by the potential union.
The merger will create a continuous railroad stretching from Mexico to Canada, resulting in eight more freight trains within the region daily, totaling 11 trains. According to the Board, the new railroad company will create jobs, increase competition, and shift nearly 64,000 truckloads from North American roadways onto railcars.
STB Chairman Marty Oberman states, “We found that, on balance, the merger of these two railroads will benefit the American economy and be an improvement for all citizens in terms of safety and the environment.” Despite this optimistic statement, the Board was met with backlash from many political leaders and residents. This retaliation comes from the recent East Palestine train derailment, which led to a significant health and environmental scare for Ohio residents. U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamorrthi says, “As our nation contends with one of the most serious questions of railroad safety raised in generations… the STB has rushed through a decision without contemplating the impact.”
This discourse continues as more facts come to light. If all goes according to plan on behalf of TSB, the railroads could be merged as soon as April 14, 2023. However, Coalition members have said that legal action is still possible.
A more significant problem regarding first responders and train delays or derailments has also been discussed. “Our concern is the police officer caught up in a situation where he or she needs backup and that is delayed [due to train traffic]… Our concern is the survivability of a citizen who collapses and stops breathing but the ambulance is delayed because of a freight train,” said Itasca Fire Chief Jack Scheidwind.
Elgin Mayor Dave Kaptain also said, “A ‘couple of minutes’ delay for a firefighter or somebody that needs an ambulance can be life and death.” He also expressed concern over potential hazardous spills and their impact on drinking water in neighboring towns.
STB’s Oberman addressed community concerns in a public hearing stating, “If there are blockings causing serious health problems—that is why we have oversight and authority to order further mitigation… I’m comfortable assuring all the first responders—if they can demonstrate a problem, we will do everything under the sun to solve the problem.”
The suburban Chicago area has many train lines and freight traffic. If you or someone you love have been affected by an injury caused by a train accident, contact one of our skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. One of our experienced and knowledgeable legal representatives will help guide you through this situation and determine how to approach your case.