Northern Ramsey County towns battle train noise, fumes

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Residents in five northern Ramsey County towns say they are increasingly at war with Canadian Pacific Railway after decades of quietly coexisting with the trains that pass nearby, the Star Tribune reports.

Everything changed last spring when rail traffic began to increase, say residents in Shoreview, Little Canada, Vadnais Heights, Roseville and Arden Hills, the newspaper reports.

Residents say 100-car trains now blare horns 24 hours a day and keep them from sleep, the Star Tribune reports. Switching rail cars crashing into each other rattle windows, residents say. And diesel fumes from idling engines send homeowners scurrying indoors.

Elizabeth Decker told the Shoreview Press earlier this month that she has tried sleeping on a cot in her basement and in a bathtub in an effort to escape the noise. “It completely ruins my life," she told the publication.

Canadian Pacific leaders say three factors have led to more rail traffic: a reviving economy, a busy grain-shipping season and the oil boom in western North Dakota – more eastbound oil and westbound frac sand, the Star Tribune reports.

City leaders are considering options. The Shoreview city council is mulling whether to establish a new "quiet zone." Little Canada is considering a similar option, the Star Tribune reports.

The five towns are not alone in their frustration with trains. Trains topped a list of concerns for residents in Shakopee, the mayor said last year. Residents in Calgary in Canada have been at odds with Canadian Pacific, too, over rail noise.


Report: Air quality in Ramsey County worst in the state

The American Lung Association released its "State of the Air" report Wednesday and has given Ramsey County an "F" for "short-term particle pollution." That's down from a "B'' in 2009, a "C" in 2010 and a "D'' in 2011. Overall, Minnesota earned better grades for "high ozone days," but lower grades for "high particle pollution days."

What's in Ramsey County's wind?

Twin Cities Daily Planet examines why Ramsey County last month received an F grade for particulate matter pollution on the American Lung Association's 2012 State of the Air report. Hennepin, Dakota and Scott counties all received a C grade.

Bear sightings on increase in Anoka County town of Ramsey

Bear sightings are on the increase in the Anoka County town of Ramsey. KARE 11 reports that that Ramsey police have received so many calls of bears in the area that they've put up signs warning residents. One resident even snapped a picture of a bear cub eating from her bird feeder.

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