The Canadian Pacific rail company is going to court against the town of Enderlin, North Dakota, population 900, after the city council passed a resolution banning train breaks longer than 10 minutes.
“Partly thanks to North Dakota’s energy boom, 28 of the railroad’s trains now traverse the city every day,” Reuters reports. “Each carries hundreds of tank cars filled with oil or grain. Some idle as long as four hours, inconveniencing motorists, stranding pedestrians, and posing logistical challenges for ambulances and firefighters.”
“If you’re a first responder in Enderlin and worried about getting across the track to help someone with a heart attack, it’s not too much to ask that folks have access,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
The case could have “huge reach,” said Kansas lawyer Bob Portnoff, a specialist in interstate commerce and rail safety litigation. “Right now, cities don’t have the right to tell a railroad it can’t park in the middle of their town.” (h/t to CBC As It Happens for pointing us to this story)