Who is regulating the ‘Train Takeover’ of Sioux Falls?

A Foot Soldier sent me several pictures today, saying this; “100 + tankers parked on the tracks parallel to Minnesota avenue out to the airport. They stretch from behind water treatment plant all the way North of Benson Road. Been there since Friday.”

Last week I think on Tuesday or Wednesday (hard to keep track anymore) the trains were rolling through downtown and blowing whistles for at least 10-12 hours straight. Not only does this block traffic, the decibel levels are out of control (over 110 decibels).

I’m still wondering why the trains are not switching and storing cars at their new switch yard? What kind of deal did Former Mayor Bogus Events Center Settlement cut with the railroads? Apparently a very crappy one.

I think it is time to put pressure on our Washington delegation to put the hammer down. Oh wait, I forgot who I was talking about. Nevermind.

Oh, BTW, 9:10 PM on a Sunday Night, guess what I’m listening to right now? A train whistle.


#1 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.20.18 at 11:01 pm

Speaking of the Washington delegation and oil, have you noticed how gasoline prices keep going up, and guess why? Because for the first time in forty years, we are selling domestic crude production to foreign markets. And guess who was a big advocate of that idea, that’s right, Senator Thune….



But on an other note, perhaps the train stacking in town is to get them out of the way for the “High Speed Trains,” which I just know are going to be getting here soon…. I just know it…. Because we were promised them a couple years ago…. And our political leaders always keep their promises, don’t they?….

#2 i12doit on 05.21.18 at 4:12 am

This song by the band “Condor” from Sioux Falls was written because they were playing at Latitude 44 and while they were playing, it took 4 songs before the train has passed. Yeah, what a nuisance! https://condorsf.bandcamp.com/track/4-song-train

#3 Rufusx on 05.21.18 at 9:54 am

Welcome to the heart of essentially any substantial city (and lot of small towns as well) in the world – at least bthose with thriving economies. Don’t like trains? Get an acreage. Hey – we could always increase truck traffic by about 50X as an alternative.

#4 l3wis on 05.21.18 at 10:11 am

Ruf, missing the point here. Don’t have a problem with the trains running through town, but after giving $27 million for them to build a NEW switching and storage yard, they have actually done the opposite. They switch cars constantly in town, the trains run more and they continue to store cars in city limits. Cars full of dangerous chemicals. I guess the point is what did they do with the $27 million? It certainly wasn’t used to build a switching yard they are using. I understand that the trains will still have to go thru central SF, but the switching, the storing and the constant whistle blowing needs to end.

#5 D@ily Spin on 05.21.18 at 10:15 am

As crude price rises there will be a return of the 100 car tanker and coal trains. Tanker trains are stacking up because ethanol has been less demand. There was supposed to be new railroad bypass north around Sioux Falls. Will not happen without China wheat export, reopened ND oil sands, and demand for WY coal.

#6 Rufusx on 05.21.18 at 5:51 pm

Wasn’t that $27MM a Federal Transportation grant – not really city money then is it? City just playing role of middle man. As to the whistles and what have you – welcome to a thriving economy – and I will reiterate – would you rather have the local streets clogged with 1000’s of trucks every day?

#7 Rufusx on 05.21.18 at 5:59 pm

Spinmeister – there is no need for a rail “bypass” to the North of SF. Almost all the rail traffic through SF comes from the East and South. The rails don’t extend further north than Dell Rapids (quarry traffic) and Madison, or West past Ellis. Those three are all DEAD END lines. They don’t connect up with anything else. Any traffic further North or West of that routes to the South via Canton, Lennox, Parker, Mitchell and so on.

Here’s a link to a SD Rail Map. Educate yourselves: http://ontheworldmap.com/usa/state/south-dakota/south-dakota-rail-map.jpg

#8 White Panther on 05.21.18 at 8:38 pm

Train take over? We haul way more products in this country by trucks which really hurt our roads than by train.

#9 White Panther on 05.21.18 at 8:39 pm

Train take over? We haul way more things by truck than by railroad. Trucks are what hurt our roads.

#10 anominous on 05.21.18 at 10:10 pm

One of them shorter tanker car trains comes down from the ethanol plant at Wentworth. Don’t know where them 100 car oil trains come through from.

#11 Rich on 05.21.18 at 10:48 pm

“Last week I think on Tuesday or Wednesday (hard to keep track anymore) the trains were rolling through downtown and blowing whistles for at least 10-12 hours straight. Not only does this block traffic, the decibel levels are out of control (over 110 decibels).”

The Ellis & Eastern Railroad does make multiple trips through town daily from the cement plant on West Madison to the sand quarry just north of Brandon, perhaps with stops at points in between. The two sidings by the airport were completed in the early 2000s – if memory serves me correctly, that’s when the effort to remove the downtown rail yard began. The sidings are being used as intended – to park a unit train until it’s needed. Or store cars for switching at industries in the industrial parks. BNSF does switch cars on the east side of Weber Avenue. Not part of the agreement, no “rules” being broken. The railroad also utilizes the yard south of 14th Street which, again, was not part of the agreement. BNSF can use it. And the new rail yard is being used. Drive out there and take a look.

#12 l3wis on 05.22.18 at 7:59 am

So I guess we are SOL and need to just accept the badly negotiated deal. When one of these trains derail DT and spill nasty crap all over the place, will be hear me when I say ‘I told you so’. Just a matter of time.

#13 Rich on 05.23.18 at 11:03 pm

SOL? I understand your concern about train derailments. They happen. Can you tell me how many accidents involving motor vehicles occur in the city in a 24 hour period versus train derailments? Are your concerns about spilled “nasty crap” limited to just railroads? What about the fuel tankers pulled by a semi tractor through town? What about the fuel tank farm out on West 12th Street? Or the pipelines buried in the ground that deliver fuel to the fuel farm?

And I think train takeover is a bit of a stretch. The railroads have been in town for well over 100 years.