Spring/Summer 2002 The West View - Issue #5 page 8 U.P. Trying to Help, Not Hurt, S.L. By Cameron Scott (Originally appeared in the Deseret News, February 7, 2002) abandon our track. Such fiotification as required by the City has never occurred. In other words, if any entity Though many Utahns don't realize it, is in violation of the 1989 agreement, it Salt Lake City is a critical hub for this country's east-west and north-south rail traffic. With our economy in a state of is in fact the City. The suggestion has also been made that U.P. use the track located in the recession, has area of 1800 South instead of those on gained renewed importance as industry looks for maximally efficient ways to transport the goods that keep America operating. Unfortunately, Salt Lake's ability to handle this increased pressure has long been stretched to the limit, _ turning our city into a national rail bottleneck. The good news is, Union 900 South. This won't work for two this natural crossroads reasons. First, unlike the 900 South line, which we have owned since 1905, ‘Pacific has a workable solution to this problem: to increase the level of activity along our 900 South tracks, which U.P. built and has owned for almost 100 years. Doing so will significantly improve Salt Lake's ability to handle transcontinental rail traffic, to the benefit of our nation and community. It simply must be done. The residents near 900 South are understandably concerned about the effect these trains will have on their _ lives. Some have made: the assertion that U.P. signed a contract agreeing to abandon the line and thus, doesn't have the right to run trains on 900 2 This is not the case. In 1989, U.P. and SLC signed an agreement that required the City to give necessary resume notice service to our company or remove to the 900 South tracks, were they to go unused for more than nine consecutive months. U.P. signed the document on the condition that the City would grant us time to rectify any issue before forcing us to Suggested Ordinance By Kellie Davis I'd like to make a suggestion sSpard: ing Union Pacific's 900 So. line. In Albany, Oregon, where my father lives, a similar situation existed’ with rail traffic blocking commuters. Frequently used, obstructed intersections were dealt with by a city ordinance prohibiting the railroad from - obstructing any intersection in excess of 5 minutes. This seemed to deal nice- ly with lengthier delays for vehicular traffic at rush hours. Why can't Salt Lake City pass the same ordinance? ~ Should Our Community be Sacrificed for the Sake of U.P's Corporate Profits? "U. P. Tryingto Help, Not Hurt, S. L.", damage that community. : The trains will be a safety hazard to children playing in the community, and to children crossing the tracks to get to the recently rebuilt Parkview Elementary which was published in the February 7th School, edition may be special U. P. tracks, U. P.'s safety film notwithstanding. The trains, blowing their whistle at every crossing, will distract the school kids, thus affecting their learning environment. It will also prevent hard-working resi- by Leon Johnson I am responding to an article Gace by Cameron Scott, Superintendent of Union Pacific (U.P.) Utah Service Line, entitled of the Deseret News. Mr. Scott sincere, but he is confusing U. P.'s interest with the general welfare. signed a document promising to which is located next to the abandon the 9th South line on the condiU.P. does not own the entire 1800 Second, while the 900 » tion as stated in Section 6 of that docuSouth route. dents with jobs from getting a good ment: "If, for any period of nine (9) conSouth track is a straight route designed night's sleep, thus affecting their work secutive months during the term of this to accommodate through trains, the performance. franchise, the franchise area, or any part 1800 South line was designed to wind thereof, is not used for the purpose of — The trains cross major sharp gieites through the various industries in the 9th West and Redwood Road, thus blockwhich this franchise is granted. ..the franarea, and cannot accommodate the ing traffic, including emergency vehicles. chise or the applicable part thereof, shall longer freight trains. Carrying toxic materials, including be voidable at the option of the City”. Union Pacific owns more than radioactive materials, they risk spills, . The line was not used for more than nine 30,000 miles of track running through which will put the community in grave consecutive months, ‘So the city voided neighborhoods of all social classes and danger. | the franchise. ethnic composition. We care about the And, according to residents living next Mr. Scott states; "U. P. signed the doccommunities we serve and we demonto the tracks, the heavy trains rattle nails ument on the condition that the city strate that in a substantial way. In this out of drywalls and break the filaments in would grant us time to rectify any issue valley alone, U.P. provides nearly their light bulbs. | before forcing us to abandon our track. 1,000 good jobs and an annual payroll In addition to ignoring: all these negaSuch notification as required by the city of over $36 million. Additionally, in tive impacts, U. P. is also ignoring never occurred. In other words, if any the past five years, U.P. has contributed research done by Applied Geotechnical entity is in violation of the 1989 agreeover $1.7 million to charitable organiEngineering Consultant, Inc. for ment, it is in fact the city." There is nothzations in SLC and the surrounding Parkview Elementary when it was being ing in Section 6 of the document requirsuburbs. Contributions to the entire built. The study shows that soil in that ing the city to give notice for remedial state of Utah totaled more than $2.2 location has a high liquefaction factor, action. But U. P. is applying Sections 9 million. which means it is unstable because of and 12 of the document. The decision to increase train service high water content. This means that Section 9 states that the city must give is not about burdening a specific comstress caused by heavy trains will cause notice only for removing the tracks, not munity; instead, it is about benefiting for voiding the franchise. The city has no foundations to sink, and that will happen an entire city, and indeed, nation. It is our hope that the rhetoric surrounding plans for removing the tracks, so section unevenly. This will eventually ruin hous| this issue will focus more on that fact — 9 is not applicable. Section 12 claims a es. _ The residents moved into the area and right of hearing, but only on condition of; and less on misinformation. a new school was built, on U. P.'s prom(1) violation of a term of the agreement; ise to abandon the 9th South track. Now (2) a judicial finding of invalidity; (3) the community is faced with a nightmare. defendant's insolvency; or (4) defendant's Are there alternatives? It is true, as Mr. fraud. None of these conditions have Scott says, that we have suggested a line been met, so this section is not applicable on 18th South. He objects, because this either. line winds through the industries in the Finally, Utah Code Ann. _ 10-8-34 area, and is not practical for long trains, states that the city "may provide or and besides, they don't own the whole change the location, grade or crossing of line. This may be true; I don't know. any railroad; and declare a nuisance and He doesn't mention a northern track take up and remove, or cause to be taken up and removed, the tracks of that goes by Grant's Tower. There is a sharp curve on the track, but this can be any railroad or street railway company fixed. Mr. Scott does not mention that which shall have been laid upon the this was U. P.'s original intent. He does streets of the city and which such railway company has failed to operate with cars _ for public use for a period of nine months after the laying thereof". The city has _ not applied this ordinance. _ There may be nothing but an honest misunderstanding involved here. But -beneath all this "legalese" is an ugly reality.. Misunderstanding or not, U. P. is going to run trains of up to one hundred cars or more on the 9th South line, ten times a day, day and night, through a residential community, which will seriously not mention that U. P. was recently in partnership with the City to restudy the feasibility of fixing Grant's Tower. But, for unexplained reasons, U.P. backed out, so the study has not been completed. We do not deceive ourselves into thinking that U. P. will give up the 9th South line for the Grant's Tower line. They want it all, no matter who suffers. Should our community be sacrificed for the sake of U.P's corporate profits? We don't think so!