Several years ago I wrote an open letter regarding the proposed abandonment of the Union Pacific tracks into Sikeston, at that time the railroad was wanting to abandon only three miles of track. Now once again Union Pacific has published a legal advertisement in each county the line runs through that the intend to file an Abandonment Application within three years for the original three miles plus 17 more miles of track, that portion of the track running from Essex to Sikeston.
If the abandonment procedure would go through, the railroad would still retain its right-of-way claims by claiming the real estate was a significant asset to them. In this case I would presume that would be true. Why would the railroad would want to start the abandonment of the line in Essex? I don't understand as there is only one business that I know of that uses the rail in Essex. Why not abandon all the way to Dexter?
Sikeston still has several locations in Sikeston set up for rail traffic which should be an asset if we could ever entice a business using rail into our city.
Some say that more rail business would be detrimental to the vehicle traffic traveling along Malone Avenue, but how many jobs could possibly be brought into Sikeston if just the locations that have rail would be filled by companies using rail?
If the rail is deleted, can you imagine how many trucks would be lining up on Malone Avenue to unload or load just at Tetra Pak alone to replace the rail cars now in use, that is assuming of course that Tetra Pak is still in Sikeston.
Of course, if abandoned, the city may then be able to purchase the abandoned rail line and use it to widen Malone Avenue.
Sikeston has shown that they can rally if need be. You remember a short time ago the city stopped the railroad from increasing the number of trains through Sikeston and the construction of a spur to facilitate traffic to Dexter and Poplar Bluff. Perhaps this new abandonment has something to do with this effort!
Sikeston, are we going to sit by and watch the abandonment of the track and the probable loss of at least one top notch industrial company and the forfeit of all chances of obtaining an industry that uses rail that could use the existing buildings with rail facilities without putting up a fight? In my conversations I find most people do not want to lose another business and the jobs they provide that we can ill afford to lose.
Perhaps the city does not understand the communities desire to keep this railroad and these businesses because we the citizens have not contacted the city about our concern.
If you are interested in getting new business and keeping business in Sikeston that would provide jobs for our sons and daughters (in Sikeston), then you should contact the City Manager, Doug Friend, with your comments and help.