Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘TRAC’ Category

Without consensus on safety, liquefied natural gas needs another look

The Daily Herald and leaders of several of our suburbs were among those arguing years ago that crude oil shipments by train should be restricted to newer, stronger tank cars that are more likely to withstand a derailment or crash without rupturing, exploding and burning.

That viewpoint largely prevailed, with new requirements unveiled in 2015 that mitigate the risk.

But now the federal government is upping the ante, exposing towns along freight rail lines to potential new danger with the judgment that now that tank cars are safer, they can be used to move material that is more volatile.

The U.S. Department of Transportation over the summer authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas around the country, even in the face of the National Transportation Safety Board questioning whether doing so would be safe.

Natural gas is a chameleon, turning liquid at -260 degrees and taking up 1/600th of the space it requires as a gas, making it cheaper to transport. If the gas gets overheated and the tank ruptures, such as following a derailment or crash, it can explode violently into a fireball that will keep burning until the fuel is gone.

Read on here.

Read Full Post »

A new federal rule allows liquefied natural gas to be transported by train across the U.S., sparking concerns from Barrington and other suburbs.

A new player, liquefied natural gas, has joined the list of hazardous materials cruising through Illinois by train — a move the federal government says is safe but raises fears of out-of-control fires and explosions for some suburbs.

This summer, the U.S. Department of Transportation authorized railroads to haul liquefied natural gas (LNG) across the country.

Prior to approval, more than 460 entities commented — mostly critically — on the plan, including Barrington, which is crisscrossed by the Union Pacific and Canadian National railroads.

The potential for a catastrophe “is quite acute,” village officials stated. “An uncontrolled LNG release involving fire stemming from a derailment scenario must burn itself out as there is no practical way to extinguish it.”

Federal officials are confident that upgraded DOT-113 tank cars with double shells and thick carbon steel can safely contain any spills.

New requirements, such as remote monitoring of tank car pressure, will “provide for the safe transportation of LNG by rail to more parts of the country where this energy source is needed,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated.

Read on here.

Read Full Post »

We will take the Federal Railroad Administration at its word that it wants to hear from us regarding how long we get stuck, repeatedly, at rail crossings in the suburbs.

And so, it is our civic duty to tell them.

We’re not being facetious. Being continuously hung up at crossings is a quality-of-life issue. At best, it can be inconvenient. At its absolute worst, it can be deadly, if police, fire and paramedics are prevented from getting to a scene — or a hospital — quickly.

The FRA has recently started a website asking people to report lengthy delays they experience at rail crossings, where a milelong freight is crawling past at the speed of … snails. 

Read the complete Daily Herald editorial here.

Read Full Post »

Residents in Hoffman Estates and Elgin are enlisting elected officials in their fight to block plans for a second railroad track beginning here at Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates and running south to Spaulding Road in Elgin.

Hoffman Estates and Elgin residents fighting an expansion of Canadian National Railway tracks near their homes are enlisting federal, state and local leaders in their efforts to raise concerns with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which could issue a permit for the project later this month.

CN, through its subsidiary Wisconsin Central Limited, wants to build a second line of railroad track spanning 4.27 miles from Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates to Spaulding Road in Elgin. Together with existing track, the project would create a 6.1-mile stretch of double track.

According to the proposal, the double track would allow the railroad to boost “fluidity” and reduce train idling. CN said in its permit application that it expects to run an additional nine trains per day in 2020.

Both the Hoffman Estates and Hanover Township boards have passed resolutions objecting to CN’s plans.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

A game-changing underpass at Route 14 and the CN tracks is within Barrington’s grasp after regional officials awarded the village $48.5 million in federal funds Thursday.

Barrington leaders have been chipping away for years at the $73.5 million project separating busy Route 14 from the Canadian National Railway tracks that host multiple freight trains. The project will rebuild Route 14 so it runs under the CN tracks.

Federal grants have already supplied about $11 million, and Darch expects the remaining $14 million to be generated through federal, state, and some local contributions along with funding from CN.

Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and a related group, the Metropolitan Planning Organization policy committee, approved the grant Thursday. About $10.6 million will be awarded to Barrington in 2020 and $37.9 million will come in 2023.

Read the full Daily Herald article here.

Read Full Post »

Representatives from the Canadian National Railroad met last week with a roomful of Northwest suburban homeowners upset over the company’s plan to build a 4.27-mile track near their properties.

The track would run adjacent to the existing CN mainline track from Spaulding Road in Elgin to Shoe Factory Road in Hoffman Estates, part of a sprawling transcontinental network that has the Chicago area at its center.

Residents aired a litany of grievances about the proposal over the course of the two-hour meeting Thursday at Timber Trails Elementary School in Hoffman Estates. Among them, noise pollution from trains which frequently idle for hours on the track behind their homes.

The public meeting was a requirement of the permit approval process for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. CN must now address all public comments received by the Army Corps, as well as comments from their office.

The full Daily Herald story can be found here.

Read Full Post »

The following notice was posted by the Village.  The Wisconsin Central Ltd. is a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway:

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE

Wisconsin Central Ltd. Proposed Track Expansion

From Milepost 37.80 and 41.80 on the Leithton Subdivision (between Spaulding Road and South Sutton Road) Cook County, IL.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project #LRC-2018-00651

The purpose of this public meeting is for the presentation of additional project information and details to the public about the proposed track expansion between Milepost 37.80 and 41.80. The public meeting is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 permit review process. The application for the project was submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by WCL which was placed on public notice for a 60-day comment period. This public meeting is being held as a result of public comment.

WCL will share project related details and give the public an opportunity to ask questions about the project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be available to answer questions about the agency’s permitting process only.

Date: Thursday May 30, 2019

Time: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Location:     Timber Trails Elementary School (Commons Room)

                    1675 McDonough Road

                    Hoffman Estates, Cook County, Illinois 60195

Further information can be found on the Village of Hoffman Estates website by clicking here.

 

Read Full Post »

The Canadian National Railroad is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a permit to construct a 4.27-mile-long second track adjoining the existing mainline track between Hoffman Estates and Elgin. The new rails would run between Shoe Factory and Spaulding roads and west of Poplar Creek Forest Preserve.

CN said the new and existing tracks would create a 6-mile reliever allowing an “uninterrupted flow” of northbound and southbound freight trains.

“The project will enhance the safe and efficient flow of rail traffic including the Milwaukee District West Line of Metra,” CN spokesman Alexandre Boulé said. “Commuters should also see reduced delays at Shoe Factory Road.”

Metra officials could not confirm CN’s assertions.

The Army Corps is involved because CN’s plan to mitigate impacts to Poplar Creek and its tributaries, which connect to the Fox River downstream, requires government approval under the Clean Water Act.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

CN EngineWhen a freight train rolls through Barrington, Illinois, gates with flashing lights lower to block all four of the village’s cross-town thoroughfares—often at the same time. It happens 20 times a day.

And as more and more of those trains have become “unit trains”—carrying only one type of freight, crude oil—residents have been voicing concerns about matters far more urgent than the time they lose idling at grade crossings. “People are seeing those black cars and they know there’s something different going on,” said village president Karen Darch.

Read the full National Geographic article here.

Read Full Post »

Barrington Village President Karen Darch testified before the Chicago City Council Finance Committee Jan. 13 to push for regulations on tank cars in light of a deadly explosion in Quebec last summer and two subsequent explosions that have since occurred in New Brunswick, Canada and Casselton, N.D.

Darch said safety procedures for rail cars carrying hazardous materials like crude oil and ethanol have caught her attention in part because Barrington is traversed by two major rail lines.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: