Winnebago County Residents Rally Against Rail Project


Dozens of Winnebago County residents rallied against a proposed railroad project.

The Great Lakes Basin railroad line would be used to transport freight.

Winnebago Township Supervisor Leslee Dimke, is against the proposal. “We don’t want it, we just plain out don’t want it,” Dimke says.

Nearly 100 people gathered at a Winnebago County farm in the 8500 block of Cunningham Road.  They all agreed with Dimke.  She says she sees the worst with the railroad coming into town.

“Three of our four schools in Winnebago [are] right down the road. This is supposed to be a railroad that is carrying hazardous cargo. What do we do with a thousand kids if there is a derailment and we need to get them out of there?”

With the outrage of the plan, residents cannot comment on the question section on the proposed plan online site. Rodney Gilley, a Winnebago County resident, thinks the lack of communication is only making things worse.

“The biggest concern is the proposed route now,” said Gilley.  “None of us knew about it. When we did find out about it, my understanding was the comments and question section for the railroad have been closed.”

With over 200 trains planned on coming through the proposed route, some believe that it will bring the noise of several freight trains throughout the day. John Nelson, the democratic candidate for Winnebago County Board Chairman, knows no one in the small town or the city would welcome that noise.

“Nobody wants to hear the sound of a freight train every fifteen minutes. I don’t think we want to hear it here, I don’t think we want to hear it when it comes by the city, [and] I don’t think we want to hear it at all.”

Frank Haney (R) is running for Winnebago County Board Chairman.  In a statement to Eyewitness News, he said, “I believe alternative routes must be explored before I can lend my support.”

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