Suburban Chicago mayors join forces to stop railroad merger

The leaders of eight Chicago suburbs are working together to stop a huge railroad merger.

They say the suburbs of Bartlett, Bensenville, Elgin, Itasca, Hanover Park, Roselle, Wood Dale, and Schaumburg will be severely impacted if Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern merge.

The mayors say the merger will lead to a 300-percent increase in freight traffic on Metra’s Milwaukee West line. They also say some trains could be 2 miles long.

"For years our village her worked to bring transit-oriented development to the benefit of commuters, residents and businesses to our downtown. We've centered our development efforts around the ease of commuting on Metra, the safety of Metra, and this merger would have a drastic negative impact on years of our hard work," said Aaron Reinke, Bartlett Village Board for Trustees.


Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have said their merger into the new CPKC will lead to the only single-line railway linking Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, adding that it will connect customers to new markets and, spur huge economic growth.

Members of the Coalition to Stop CPKC said they'll do what they can to keep the board from approving the deal.

"Increasing the number of freight trains, and especially increasing the length of those trains, will cause extensive gridlock - blocking first responders - and reduce property values in our communities. One freight train can block all five of our grade crossings at once," said Itasca Mayor Jeff Pruyn.

In Bensenville, the main concern would be the increase in truck traffic. 

"We're going to get goods and services delivered, but at what cost to our residents?" Bensenville Mayor Frank DeSimone asked.

In Schaumburg, they're worried about the environment as the railroad tracks pass through wetlands.

Other mayors expressed concern about overall quality of life.

The two companies have already agreed to merge. The final step is getting the approval of the "Surface Transportation Board."