Chicago has received many citizen complaints for its polluting idling trains. Millions of dollars in shipping delays, air pollution, blocked streets, congestion and noise are just some of the issues plaguing the largest rail transportation hub in the country. Trains waiting for track clearance are left to idle for hours at a time, heralding a growing problem if left unaddressed.
As the second-largest rail hub after Chicago, Kansas City is enjoying a renewed interest from companies looking to reduce costs. Its SmartPort is expanding its intermodal capacity.
The purchase of the Mexico rail-line by Kansas Southern will help bypass U.S. ports as goods make their way to Michoacan, Mexico, whose Lazaro Cardenas port has increased capacity to handle 2 million containers a year, up from 500,000.
Currently, Kansas City handles fewer rail cars than the Chicago counterpart, but the total freight tonnage is larger as grain, coal and heavy commodities such as tractors are hauled west of the Mississippi.
According to an analysis by the Association of American Railroads, thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars could be diverted away from Chicago and end up in Kansas City and other rail-dependent cities, such as Memphis.
BNSF’s new intermodal facility outside of Kansas City is waiting on $50 million in stimulus dollars to move forward. This could give the Kansas City area just the boost it needs to succeed.