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Muscatine OKs train merger deal; residents react to potential impacts

Muscatine could see triple the train traffic if the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railway Company merger happens.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A possible increase in freight train traffic is moving forward in Muscatine.

The metro area of the Quad Cities could soon see triple the amount on the tracks, as freight train companies Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railway Company look into merging.

Muscatine is one of the areas that could see triple the train traffic if the deal goes through. In a 4-3 vote, Muscatine City Council approved a $3 million agreement on the merger during its meeting Thursday, Aug. 4.

Residents feel like there are already enough headaches.

"I'm thinking there might be more accidents because people try to beat the train," Muscatine resident Barbi Ginster said. "We're stuck down here to 20 minutes, to a half-an-hour, to maybe more... It's horrible because if there's a medical emergency like my friend will tell you, there's no way around." 

"I have to wait on trains when I leave for work sometimes and I take care of clients," resident Sandy Freitag said.

City leaders discussed potential impacts during its meeting.

"How are people that work in that area going to get up and down?" an alderman asked.

"Our intent is to keep these trains moving," Canadian Pacific employee Andrew Cummings said. "When trains aren't moving, We're not in business."

Other residents said they take issue with the trains' noise. Most of Muscatine's downtown area has a quiet zone, but the neighborhoods are not yet included. 

"It comes throughout all random times of the day," resident Joshua Krise said. "It disturbs people's sleep and is sometimes super loud."

"We could pursue implementing measures at various intersections to achieve quiet zones," Muscatine City Administrator Carol Webb added.

The agreement includes building an overpass over the Dick Drake Way train tracks in Muscatine with a cost of roughly $1.6 million. The city will also consider a pedestrian and bike crossing at the Oregon Street crossing in the near future.

The $3 million package can be used for projects along the railroad.

Bettendorf has approved a similar agreement, and Davenport will vote on the measure on Aug. 10.

The merger must receive federal approval before it would go into effect in 2027. 

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