BNSF: DM&E Plan Could Cause Delays

FORT WORTH, Texas – If the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad were allowed to haul coal over the Powder River Basin (PRB) along the former I&M Rail Link’s (IMRL) line, it could cause substantial delays to time-sensitive BNSF Railway Co. trains at Savanna, Ill., the company said this week in a filing with the Surface Transportation Board.

BNSF’s transcontinental main line between the Pacific Northwest and Chicago crosses the former IMRL line at grade at Savanna en route to the Chicago Gateway, where delays could be substantially increased by the addition of PRB coal trains regardless of what route into Chicago is used by DM&E, BNSF said.

DM&E has requested a $2.3 billion federal subsidy to upgrade and expand tracks to haul large volumes of coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to distribution points in the East. As soon as next month, the railroad could find out whether it will receive the loan.

BNSF also said in its filing that the STB should study whether DM&E’s proposed shipment of PRB coal into Chicago over the former IMRL lines could have other environmental impacts not addressed in the Environmental Appendix filed by DM&E and Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corporation (IC&E), successor to IMRL.

BNSF also said commuters traveling into Chicago on the region’s Metra operations could experience impacts from DM&E’s mile-long unit coal trains which operate over the same lines as Metra commuter trains.

– News Wire