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With proposed railroad merger, Liberty officials talk safety, noise around tracks

Posted at 9:46 PM, Dec 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-27 23:16:08-05

LIBERTY, Mo. — A proposed merger for one of Kansas City’s large railroads is under discussion.

Canadian Pacific Railway wants to acquire Kansas City Southern.

It’s the railroad that extends from Kansas City to the Gulf Coast and into Mexico, operating across 10 states.

It’ll be more than a year before this could happen, but Liberty, Missouri, is already thinking ahead.

From agriculture, military, energy, and industrial; more products could be flowing through the track on Birmingham Road south of Holt Drive.

The Surface Transportation Board says the largest change would occur between Iowa and Kansas City, increasing rail traffic to more than 14 trains a day.

People who live in Liberty believe they’ll be able to hear the change.

“8-9-10 p.m. at night the trains are blowing their horns it’s very loud it's very disrupting,” said Megan Treml, who lives near the track. “The dishes in my cabinets will shake and my floors will shake, the house kind of rumbles. I’m kind of used to the vibrations and this point. It isn’t bad enough to where something falls but it is bad enough to where if my family is in the middle of having a conversation we stop because no one can hear anything.”

“There are already about 25 trains a day that runs on this track,” said Liberty city councilman Jeff Watt.

Watt, who lives near the track, says the increase to around 40 trains a day is something he’s concerned about.

“My biggest concern is, we all know when we're busy to get somewhere we kind of get impatient,” he said, “If we're looking at [40] versus 25 times a day, the crossing arms are down now, we're looking at 40 I just don't want anyone to get impatient and frustrated and try to run around the bars.”

This is something Treml already sees even when trains aren’t running.

“People eventually go around the barriers,” she said. “They go around the crossing because the crossing guards are down, there clearly is not a train. People are trying to get places, it already proposed a problem without that train traffic.”

Some neighbors want the city to create a quiet zone.

The city of Liberty says it will draft a response to the federal environmental and safety study.

After the study, if approved, the changes could take more than a year.

Public comment for this proposal is open until January 3, 2022.