Second rail line through La Crosse raising more concerns - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Second rail line through La Crosse raising more concerns

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - A proposed second railway line through La Crosse continues to raise concerns for residents.

On Monday the group Citizens Acting for Rail Safety, or CARS, voiced their concerns to the city's Board of Public Works meeting. They want the city to investigate the dangers of transporting hazardous materials through the city as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad proposes adding a second track from the marshland area north of the city to La Crosse Central High School.

CARS spokeswoman Maureen Freedland said the group is concerned about the increased noise and vibration, impact on property values, affects to the marshland area, and the potential for dangerous chemical spills.

"We feel that we already have an enormous problem, that people have spoken out and have said how disruptive that the current number of trains has been through their neighborhoods and on their homes and they are very concerned as we go forward," she said.

Mayor Tim Kabat pointed out during the committee meeting the city and railroad are only having unofficial talks right now. He said BNSF wants to begin construction by fall, but has to obtain a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before starting.

BNSF did not attend the meeting Monday morning, but did issue a statement to News 19 over the phone in the afternoon. Spokeswoman Amy Mc Beth said the railroad is still discussing several items with the city, but has made every effort to prevent accidents before they happen.

She said the railroad has worked with the fire department to prepare for hazardous material spills, and has even offered to pay for additional training at a national railroad training center in Colorado.

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