EDITORIAL: It’s time for CN to be a good corporate citizenTrain commerce has always played a strong role in Douglas County’s economy. Railroad firms are good employers and generate significant spinoff business.
Train commerce has always played a strong role in Douglas County’s economy. Railroad firms are good employers and generate significant spinoff business.
For that reason, residents have tolerated the nuisance that trains create when blocking city and rural roads. But there’s a limit. The current situation in Parkland — with Canadian National trains blocking roads for more than an hour — is unacceptable. CN would scream bloody murder if vehicular traffic blocked their trains for that period.
Sadly, CN has ignored complaints from its frustrated neighbors. That’s not unexpected, given the company’s regional history. When city officials in Orr, Minn., complained about CN trains blasting by at 60 miles per hour, CN spokesman Kevin Soucie had the audacity to challenge deputies to pursue a train with squad cars and arrest the crew. His arrogant written remark was inappropriate and hopefully doesn’t represent the company’s attitude. Soucie, by the way, will be the company’s representative at an upcoming meeting with Parkland residents. We suggest he exhibit more humility than he did on the Iron Range.
The District Attorney’s office, meanwhile, hasn’t prosecuted traffic delay citations against CN, citing inconclusive case law to justify inaction. For whatever reason, this has been a long term problem. DA Dan Blank and his predecessors have been far too willing to excuse railroad firms that have the wherewithal to keep trains moving or pay the price for causing delays.
Hopefully, CN will respond to public complaints and promptly address the problem. If not, it’s time for Douglas County to take a tougher stand — even if it means taking the matter to a higher court.