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Baseball Team Owner Worried about Safety & Noise as Federal Agency Considers Rail Merger

Screenshot of the railroad tracks near the entrance of Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa
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Screenshot of the railroad tracks near the entrance of Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, Iowa

The owner of the Quad Cities River Bandits is very concerned about the proposed merger of two railroads.

Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern are waiting for US regulatory approval after closing the deal in December.

Dave Heller says currently, eight to ten trains travel through downtown Davenport and Bettendorf every day. And Canadian Pacific, or CP, says if the merger is approved, that'll triple. That's 24 to 30 trains per day, 24/7. He says those trains will be longer after the merger and will disrupt traffic because they'll stop and may derail.

The City of Davenport has also sent letters to the Surface Transportation Board about its concerns. Heller says there are real public safety consequences, and he's concerned about ambulances and other first responders who could be blocked by trains and unable to help people in a timely manner.

If Canadian Pacific gets approval to buy Kansas City Southern, the city wants the company to pay for pedestrian bridges over the railroad tracks and other expenses to allow access to properties on the other side. A few are essential infrastructure, such as the Iowa-American water plant on River Drive and Davenport's wastewater treatment plant on Railroad Avenue.

An Iowa regulation prohibits a railroad from blocking a crossing for longer than ten minutes, but there are exceptions. The Iowa DOT website also says, "Citations for non-compliance may be issued by local law enforcement...but issuing [them] is problematic and seldom effective."

Officially, Michelle's title for 28 years was WVIK News Editor. She did everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever was needed around the radio station. She also served as Acting News Director from September 2023 - January 2024.