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Letter to the Editor: Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern merger will help economy, environment

It’s right and proper that The Missouri Times covers the proposed merger between the Canadian Pacific (CP) and Kansas City Southern railroads. At its core, this merger is a story about improving supply chains, creating jobs, and converting shipments to a more environmentally friendly method of transport. 

From Missouri to Minnesota and well beyond, we expect to create about 1,000 direct, good-paying rail jobs system-wide. That includes approximately 175 employees needed to operate trains and maintain track between the Quad Cities and Kansas City. 

Expanded economic opportunities don’t stop with the railroad companies. CPKC will provide better transportation options for shippers in northern Missouri and southern Iowa. In this way, the merger will serve as an economic growth engine as CP serves major employers in agriculture, steel, cement, and other industries in the region. The combination also brings jobs through $275 million in infrastructure investment along the routes seeing increased train traffic, including more than a dozen projects in the corridor through northern Missouri and eastern Iowa. 

We recognize that we will be increasing the number of trains that operate through some communities and understand the community concerns being expressed. One of those concerns has been related to potentially increasing train lengths, with misleading suggestions being made that trains will double in length from their current sizes to nearly three miles long after the merger. 

Today, CP’s average train length is about 8,000 feet. Following the merger, we will target some trains at 10,000 feet. Longer trains mean fewer trains since each train handles more freight. That boosts the efficiency and environmental benefits of rail transport. 

Freight trains are four times more fuel-efficient than trucks, create 75 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, and one train can take 300 trucks off the road. Fewer trucks on highways mean less congestion, less maintenance, less pollution, and improved safety on the roads for everyone.

We are talking directly to community leaders about such issues and we will work hard to be a good neighbor. That includes discussing mitigating potential adverse community impacts. 

Americans rely on freight trains. Nearly everything you own, or any product you use — from your home to your dinner — needs rail to get to you. Our quality of life — big-screen TVs, washers and dryers, cars, computers, phones — is delivered by rail.

Without freight rail, all these things would cost more and be harder to get.

We are committed to delivering those goods safely and efficiently for our customers and the U.S. economy.