CN begins running freight trains in suburbs

March 10, 2009 6:33:14 PM PDT
On Tuesday, Canadian National Railroad began re-routing trains onto the Elgin Joliet and Eastern railway line with trains running between Mundelein and Matteson. Communities along the line unsuccessfully challenged the sale of EJ and E to Canadian National. Residents from a number of suburbs including Barrington voice their concerns.

"Every time the train comes through it can block the town and one train can block all the crossings at once. So we're concerned about safety, E.M.S.vehicles getting to our hospital,k ids crossing the tracks in buses and on foot," said Karen Darch, Barrington Village president.

"I think it's sad because it's going to hurt business in town and it's going to have an effect on the people getting through town and emergency vehicles," said Bob Giannini, Barrington resident.

Canadian Railroad spokesperson Patrick Waldron said, "The re-route is one aspect of the integration and full utilization of the EJ and E which will be gradual, taking place over a multi-year period and requiring significant infrastructure upgrades."

Many communities are concerned about the cost of additional tracks at some crossings and the expense of grade separations which are overpasses and underpasses needed in Aurora and Lynwood .

"Those are very expensive projects. That means taxpayers are going to have to pay for those at some point if Canadian National doesn't," said Darch.

Several communities have joined forces to appeal the decision by the Service Transportation Board in Washington to allow the trains to run through communities.

"The CN was ordered to do some safety, some separations and grade crossings improvements and sound walls. I don't believe any of those things are in place, yet they're beginning to run their trains," said Darch.