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Sikeston, MO

Long Trains Causing Traffic Problems

Long Trains Causing Traffic Problems
By: Ryan Tate

Sikeston, MO - Union Pacific Railroad wants to add more train traffic through the Heartland. Elected officials in Southeast Missouri do not want it to happen. According to Sikeston Mayor Mike Marshall, this issue is a high priority for the city.

"As the Congresswoman [Jo Ann Emerson] said, this could be a life or death issue," Mayor Marshall said.

According to city leaders, Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Railroad made a deal so that Union Pacific could use the rails through towns like Scott City, Chaffee, Oran., Sikeston and Dexter. On average, four to eight trains roll through these towns a day. If Union Pacific's plan goes into effect, that number could rise to twenty-four or higher.

With an average waiting time at railroad crossings of three to seven minutes, more trains through town could be a problem for emergency crews trying to get to scenes of accidents or fires, and could be a detriment for ambulances taking patients to the hospital.

"I do not want to scare anybody, but it's a dangerous situation," Rep. Jo Ann Emerson said. "Half of the people live on one side of the track and half live on the other. And you have hospitals and police on one side," Emerson said.

Union Pacific leaders filed for a permit with the Surface Transportation Board. They could decide on the permit as early as March.

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