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'It's our river' | Former Princeton city council member speaks out against train merger

Ann Geiger explains how the merger would be detrimental to residential areas and the Mississippi River just outside her front yard.

PRINCETON, Iowa — Former Princeton, Iowa City Council member, Ann Geiger is no stranger to the riverfront.

"I was a former city of Princeton council person for two and a half terms. I helped start the park board and the tree committee. I have written grants for this community, and I previously worked for the city of Davenport in community and economic development for 17 years."

Now, she's speaking out against the possible merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads. 

"The reality is, it's three things. One, the river. Two, the proximity to homes. Three, the noise level. it'll be 20 decibels above what is considered safe for human hearing. And if a train goes by right now, you will hear it."

The Mississippi River is right across her front yard. Most of the trains involved in the merger will be carrying crude oil, and that raises alarms for her.

"They fall off the tracks. The Canadian Pacific has a history of falling off the tracks. And if one of these crude oil tankers falls into the Mississippi River, it won't coo,l it won't float, it'll go right down into the mud. And how do you get it out of Mississippi mud? The Iowa Environmental Committee is very concerned and very upset. It can happen."

She also points out noise and traffic issues. 

"It's going to almost triple the amount of train traffic through here 24/7. And there are people now who can't sleep with their windows open in the summertime because of the noise There are events that will probably not happen because of the noise and the danger," said Geiger. 

Her windows are currently triple sealed. But, since the railroad lifted the tracks up by two feet -- the noise is impossible to miss.

"It's physics, when you have metal on metal, wheels to track and it's down near the ground, the Earth will absorb some of that sound. But when you elevate it, and put rock under it, you have definitely made it louder. And that's what's happened. So in my house over 45 years, you shut the windows in the wintertime or whatever, and you hear muffled railroad tracks"

The City of Davenport is still considering the merger.

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