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Published June 12, 2024

Rochester residents

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Carol Breen and her daughter were among dozens of angry residents at the Dakota Montana & Eastern railroad station to protest the railroad’s plan to expand its lines through the city.
“We are here because we don’t want this expansion and it would be bad for Rochester,” Breen said. She and her daughter, Michelle, 10, carried signs that said “NO DM&E EXPANSION IN ROCHESTER!”
The $1.4 billion project would double the number of tracks through Rochester and increase rail traffic from about three trains a day to more than 40.
DM&E officials gave city officials and community leaders rides on a passenger car in a move to gain support for the project on Thursday.
Rochester Mayor Chuck Canfield wasn’t convinced. He received a letter from DM&E officials Wednesday outlining how they would handle safety and traffic concerns if the expansion is completed.
“After four months of waiting, they came up with some fencing and a few crossing arms,” Canfield said before boarding the train. “It was very disappointing, and I think it will be viewed by the people of Rochester as insulting.”
The company plans to expand the railroad to increase coal and grain shipments from Wyoming to the Mississippi.
Many residents and community leaders are calling for the tracks to go around the city, as is planned in Mankato and Sioux Falls, S.D. But a bypass around Rochester would be too costly, DM&E President Kevin Schieffer said.
Canfield has asked the city to conduct its own study of a bypass plan. That study is due out in mid-October.

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