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Archive for the ‘EJ&E/Canadian National’ Category

CN

Canadian National’s rail crossing on Route 14 just east of Route 59 in Barrington. The village is closely watching as federal regulators consider a proposed merger between CN and Kansas City Southern Railway could bring more freight train traffic through town. (Paul Valade | Staff Photographer)

The brawl between railroad giants Canadian National and Canadian Pacific to acquire Kansas City Southern Railway tilted in CN’s direction Friday when officials announced a merger agreement with KCS. But many forces are at play that defy a predictable outcome in the continental dispute touching nerves in the suburbs.

Kansas City Southern’s board of directors hailed what they called a “superior” Canadian National proposal, alarming towns located along CN tracks that they may become collateral damage.

The merger, which still requires U.S. Surface Transportation Board approval, “will meaningfully connect the continent with enhancing competition, offering more choice for customers, and driving environmental stewardship and shareholder value,” CN President JJ Ruest said in a statement.

Unfazed, Canadian Pacific told STB regulators they’re not giving up and the rejection “reflects the extreme price CN has offered.”

In 2008, the STB approved a controversial merger between CN and the smaller Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, which runs through the north, west, and south suburbs, multiplying trains on those tracks when Canadian National took possession. Now there are fears of a repeat with KCS, a major freight carrier that extends into Mexico.

However, “CN faces an uphill battle,” DePaul University and railroad expert Professor Joseph Schwieterman said. “A year ago, the acquisition might have sailed though Washington, but circumstances are different now, under the Biden Administration.”

Read more here.

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CN Main St

U.S. Rep. Sean Castin has earmarked, “$500,000 for Barrington’s plan to create a safer pedestrian crossing where Main Street meets the Canadian National Railroad.”

Congressional representatives serving northeastern Illinois have requested hundreds of millions of dollars in federal cash for community and transportation projects as part of the appropriations process for the 2022 fiscal year.

Links to each lawmaker’s funding requests for community projects can be found at appropriations.house.gov/transparency. A list of the transportation projects submitted by each lawmaker can be found at transportation.house.gov/committee-activity/issue/member-designated-projects.

U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat serving the 6th District, requested a $31.9 million for 10 community projects and eight transportation or infrastructure projects. His requests include:

  • $1.5 million for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle to fund its participation in the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, which helps communities plant and grow trees.
  • $6.6 million for Naperville-based 360 Youth Services‘ Youth Affordable Housing Resource Center, which will offer crisis intervention, job training and other services.
  • $500,000 for Barrington’s plan to create a safer pedestrian crossing where Main Street meets the Canadian National Railroad.

“Projects like these will have a lasting and important impact on our community, and I’m proud to advocate for them,” Casten said.

Read more here.

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CN 2008

The Canadian National Railway’s proposed takeover of the EJ & E Railroad prompted protests by community members in Barrington in 2008.

A replay of a 2008 battle to stop the Canadian National Railway from acquiring another railroad is emerging in the suburbs with similar concerns about spiraling freight train traffic.

There’s a twist this time, however, as both CN and its rival the Canadian Pacific Railroad are vying to merge with the Kansas City Southern Railway, a major freight carrier whose reach extends to Mexico.

Any merger, regardless of whether it’s CN or CP, would require approval from federal regulators, but the prospect of Canadian National joining with the Kansas railroad is already raising hackles in suburbs from Barrington to Bartlett.

A number of communities are asking the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to carefully scrutinize CN’s proposal before taking any action.

There is potential that “CN’s freight trains will further burden the Chicago area with increased road network congestion by adding a significant increase in freight rail volumes,” Bartlett Mayor Kevin Wallace wrote the STB on behalf of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Executive Board, of which he is chairman.

In 2008, CN received STB approval to purchase the smaller EJ & E, which passed through the northwest and southwest suburbs.

Attorney Richard Streeter, who is representing Barrington, characterized the new proposal as a “traffic congestion nightmare” in a letter to the STB.

“EJ & E communities have now been left coping with longer and slower trains, which would only increase yet again with the proposed merger,” Streeter wrote.

Read more here.

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CN April 21

Penny Road will be closed starting tomorrow at 9 AM between Old Sutton Rd and Rt 59 for three days due to crossing work being performed by Canadian National Railway.  CN will reportedly reopen Penny Rd Friday at 6 PM.

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The Environmental Committee meets this afternoon after nearly a year of inactivity.  This will only be the fourth meeting Trustee Paula Jacobsen has scheduled since she took office in 2017, and the first three were called to discuss a single topic of  “Bee City USA.” 

Since Jacobsen is running for reelection, she must think she needs to have another meeting about bees to put on her “qualifications” for running. She has, however, added the topic of the “Blue Star Memorial” to the agenda, but that is for obvious reasons.  

You see, her property is adjacent to the Christ The Rock Church, which was granted a special use permit last night to operate a religious institution at 195 South Sutton Road, where the memorial is located. Not very subtle timing, is it?

And while we’re at it, aren’t there other topics that could be addressed by her committee?  Apparently Jacobsen doesn’t see the need or is not inclined to put forth the effort.   

A copy of her agenda can be viewed here. To listen in on the meeting remotely, dial 508-924-1464.

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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.

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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.

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Our Board of Trustees holds their monthly meeting this evening at 6:30 PM. Some of the topics for discussion and/or vote include:

  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement Amongthe Villages of Bartlett, Hoffman Estates, Barrington Hills, Barrington, Deer Park, Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Mettawa, Green Oaks and the Cityof North Chicago for Engineering Work to Complete the Recertification of a QuietCorridor Along the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad Res 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Granting an Amendment to the Existing Special Use Permit for anExpansion of the Parking Lot at 160 Hawthorne Road Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] An Ordinance Approving a Map Amendment Rezoning the Property Located at32W 393 Algonquin Road from R1 Single Family Residence District to B-3 GeneralBusiness District Ordinance 20 –
  • [Vote] A Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Retail Sales Agreement with AVISystems, Inc. for Audio Streaming Equipment and Software for Village MeetingsResolution 20 –

A copy of their agenda can be viewed and downloaded here. To (try to) listen to the meeting, dial 508-924-1464.

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The Canadian National Railroad will be closing the track crossing on Main Street (Lake-Cook Road) just west of Lageschulte Street from 9:00 AM Monday August 24th through Friday August 28th to complete necessary crossing repairs. This closure will impact both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. A signed detour route will be in place during this closure.

In recent months, this crossing has been the cause of many flat tires and likely some bent rims, so this will be a welcome, minor inconvenience.

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Work is scheduled to begin today on a bridge deck overlay with joint repairs on Higgins Road (Route 72) over the CN Railroad in Hoffman Estates, the Illinois Department of Transportation said.

During the project, westbound Higgins Road between just west of Sutton Road (Route 59) and just after the railroad bridge will be reduced to one lane. The work is expected to be completed in June.

Drivers can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. 

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