EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — On Wednesday, the Excelsior Springs community expressed their concerns at a public meeting about the possible merging of rail lines Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern.
Residents within Excelsior Springs feel like they are getting spiked by the merging of the two rail lines.
“The benefit provided by this merger is for the railroad itself and not our community,” one resident at the meeting said.
Josh Wayland, deputy director of the Surface Transportation Board Office of Environmental Analysis, heard from residents on Wednesday.
He said the goal of the meeting was to hear from community members about their concerns, but to also break down the goal of the merge.
“Canadian Pacific and and Kansas City Southern expect that by combining their two railroad systems, they will be able to provide a more efficient railroad network that will facilitate north and south trade flows,” Wayland said. “That it would include additional traffic that runs through Excelsior Springs and through Kansas City where the rail lines connect with Kansas City Southern.”
Weiland said the meeting also hoped to study how the merge would impact residents.
“We are conducting an environmental impact statement to assess the potential of this proposed merger on the environment, including impacts on local communities,” Wayland said. “We look at impacts such as noise from increased rail traffic, impacts on air quality, biological resources, water resources and public safety, including safety at grade roadway rail crossings.”
Wayland told KSHB 41 he believes the merger could bring a positive impact to Excelsior Springs.
“Diverting traffic that currently moves by truck would move by rail instead, and of course rail transportation is much more energy efficient and fuel efficient than truck transportation," he said.
Wayland says he understands the merger does raise some concern about noise, as more trains would be coming through Excelsior Springs.
“Applicants are projecting that average number would increase from approximately three trains per day, to approximately what I believe is about 17 trains per day," he said.
This increase in train activity is something that concerns many residents.
"You may be taking 60,000 trucks off the road, but those 60,000 trucks aren’t driving through Excelsior Springs,” another resident said. “We are going to be exposed to 500% more noise, 500% more air pollution from these trains, 500% of a greater increase of a collisions and a 500% increase in traffic delays.”
Another resident who lives near train tracks says the traffic concerns are what frighten her, especially during a time of emergencies.
“How is that going to affect getting to life or death situations because of this merger," she said.
The people of Excelsior Springs now hoping their tracks stay a bit more clear.
“We are a community that prides itself in the history of our waters, underground springs, the potential 450% increase in rail traffic through this community is a risk simply not worth taking,” another resident said.
To read more on the Surface Transportation Board's Office of Environmental Analysis study, people can visit this link.