Letters to the Editor

Phillips 66 oil train proposal could mean more idling trains in SLO

The end of a stretch of rail line inside the Phillips 66 refinery on the Nipomo Mesa.
The end of a stretch of rail line inside the Phillips 66 refinery on the Nipomo Mesa.

Thank you for opposing the Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project (“Phillips 66’s oil-by-rail project is too big a risk”, March 5). You missed another reason to oppose the project — idling trains.

In the past two years, the San Luis Obispo neighborhoods near Islay Hill have been subjected to increasing numbers of idling trains. Our neighborhood is becoming a train yard. Trains have idled as long as 22 hours. (Train brakes won’t function without an engine idling.)

Repeated calls to the Union Pacific idling train line don’t help. They can’t explain why there has been a change. I have repeatedly called Union Pacific’s “community relations” line and have yet to speak to a live person or receive a call back. They clearly just don’t care!

The city of San Luis Obispo may install an air compressor to power train brakes. I fear this “solution” will simply encourage more idling trains. Home prices will drop, and city tax dollars will fall. If the Phillips 66 rail spur is approved, we will have three more oil trains per week potentially idling in this area. Union Pacific needs to explain why they are regularly parking idling trains within city limits, why these trains cannot be parked elsewhere and why their “community relations” line doesn’t respond to repeated phone calls.

Steve Hilty, San Luis Obispo

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