Monday, April 03, 2006

Burlington suit against BNSF goes on...

Burlington, IA 1920
Like that accursed pink rabbit with the drum, going across commercial after commercial, the complaints against Burlinton Northern and Santa Fe railroad company keep going and going and going... this time, though, the lawsuit is at least getting to court. The city of Burlington, IA filed a suit after BNSF announced they were taking elsewhere an operation which had been in the city for nearly a century and a half. The contract for maintenance on equipment has been on site by the river since 1858, before BNSF even existed as a railway company, and, as BNSF developed, it was expected to honor the contracts of those companies which, over time, it had absorbed.

Naturally, the idea that BNSF might take away jobs from our... uh... economically challenged region gets a few folks riled. In a big way am I one of those folks. BNSF has cut corners in a lot of places -- our own town, for example, still has abysmally rough crossings at all but one street intersection (while, intellectually, I can understand their reluctance to spend all their capital on maintaining 13 crossings in 3 miles, I still have to drive my mom's car across those suspension-killers too frequently for our happiness). Still, even if the city were to win the suit, I doubt it would help any of us out here in the hinterlands. Lost jobs seldom come back, regardless of what lawyers and politicians say. Better we should all look to the pig poo petroleum processing plans.

As it is, the lawsuit started over the yards in Burlington more than 2 years ago, and the whole thing looks a lot like it ain't goin no faster than a freight train chuggin thru switchbacks. Spike at Burlington Derailed has useful discussion on the case.

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