Moline residents still complaining about the trains’ noise

About a dozen Moline residents pleaded with the Dorr Township Planning Commission to do something about the noise generated by trains at the Green Valley Agricultural site in the neighborhood.

The Planning Commission promised to have Township Attorney Clifford Bloom draft a letter to the agribusiness and officials with the Grand Elk Railroad.

The complaints are nothing new. They surfaced a couple of years ago and Township Trustee John Tuinstra has acted on their behalf in talks with railroad and agribusiness officials. He sent a letter asking they operate only during daytime hours.

Green Valley set up shop on 146th Avenue near the railroad tracks, not far from 14th Street and supposedly agreed to hook up hook up to Dorr-Leighton Township sewer services with the potential of 45 employees on at least a seasonal or part-time basis.

But trains that come to and go from the business sound their warning whistles for long periods and when they back up, an annoying screeching noise is made that’s so bad, one local woman said, it makes her house vibrate. Molly Parker in 2014 suggested the business move the switch further away from residences, perhaps to behind the old asphalt facility or old co-op building, but officials said that would be very costly.

Tuinstra told the Planning Commission the residents may have some leverage because the site plan the commission approved three years ago insisted only ag products be used, but it’s been learned that loading oil sand on the trains may violate the rules. He added there is the potential for as many as four violations.

Tuinstra added that he’s been told the company could schedule daytime only deliveries, which would ease the trouble.

“I’ve lived there (at her residence) for 49 years,” she said. “It had always been quiet, but now the noise is constant.”

She said her husband needs his sleep at night because he drives a semi-truck and has to get up early in the morning.

She said the “rumbling from the (train) engines has disrupted our lives.”

Terrance Keenan, who works out of his home, said, “It feels like like things are being done for the benefit of their business without consideration for others.”

He said he too often cannot talk business with his company officials and clients over the phone because the horn is sounded so loudly.

Nancy Wooten said, “I’ve lived here for 35 to 40 years now and this has become a very disturbing part of our lives. The noise sounds like a roller coaster… I think we should have the right to get some sleep at night.”
Dale Harrison said it is one engineer particularly who seems to blow the horn with a little too much enthusiasm in the early morning hours.

Planning Commission Chairman Bob Wagner said Township Attorney Cliff Bloom should be contacted and asked to write a letter outlining the possible violations of conditions for site plan approval.

Vice Chairman Robert Traxler said it should also be determined how much of the problem is with Green Valley and how much with the railroad.


  • I live in Moline and ever since Green Valley moved in the noise from the train at night wakes me up all the time. Something needs to be done ASAP.

  • You live near railroad tracks did you not expect to hear trains going through? Granted that these tracks were not used very much over the last 20 or more years but now the use is ramped up again. This is just like when people move next to an airport, you will hear planes. Some real common sense needs to come out. I’m not saying that the engineer might be going overboard and if so that should be addressed but common noise from trains should be expected near tracks.

    • Dave, you have no clue as to how bad the noise is. Much worse than what is normal with trains. We in Moline are used to hearing the train, no problem. However, the switching late at night with the horn blasting away is. The blasting horn, banging of the cars and the rumbling of the train that goes on and on is not good for sleeping. Those who live by the tracks have it bad. I live a quarter mile away and hear it clearly but am far enough away it does wake me, thankfully. Neither the train or Green Valley seem to care. Green Valley is not a good neighbor.

    • Dave, the trains that just roll through at night are no big deal. You obviously don’t live near the switch over area. To get the cars on the other track they have to drive past the switch area and stop (this makes all the cars slam together making a loud boom about 20 times over along with a loud screeching noise from the train wheels trying to stop). Then they have to back the cars into the switch over and now we hear the engine rev trying to push the cars and once they move we get to hear the slamming of the cars again. Then they have to stop and we hear the slamming of the cars and the screeching of the wheels on the track which is ear piercing loud. Once unhooked they take off and cars slam together one last time while the engine revs and rattles your windows. I forgot to mention the sound of the horn going off entering and leaving town. This takes roughly about a half hour. Just enough time to keep you up to where it’s hard to get back to sleep. They can do this during the day or better yet would be haul their supplies in with semi’s and trailers. We will put an end to this. Hopefully the 4 violations will shut them down.

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