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The yard expansion plan is part of Canadian Pacific’s decision to reorganize its rail network to be more efficient, said Ed Greenberg, a spokesman for the railroad.
The plan, if approved, would result in less congestion, fewer idling locomotives and fewer switching operations, he said.
More than 110 trains and 10,000 rail cars pass through southeastern St. Paul on a typical day, and that number is growing every year. While BNSF Railway runs the most trains through the area, Canadian Pacific accounts for about one-third of them, with 15 trains using the yard and 17 trains passing through daily on average, Greenberg said.
At Dunn Yard, many of the cars filled with commodities are split off from the trains. Their load is then reconfigured before the cars and trains move on to other destinations. Canadian Pacific says that’s why it needs longer tracks.
Greenberg said the railroad aims to balance environmental concerns with its need to expand and has responded to concerns raised by the plan’s environmental review.
An environmental assessment work sheet has been prepared, and a decision will be made by Thursday on whether a more detailed environmental impact statement will be required, said Josh Williams, a St. Paul city planner.
That decision, which rests with St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, will be based on advice from officials in the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department, state rules and public comments in response to the work sheet.
The project also requires a slew of permits from city, state and federal agencies.
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @StribJAnderson