Monday, May 11, 2009

Hostile EJ&E municipalities keep sniping at CN

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Officials from both Aurora and Barrington, Ill., have accused Canadian National of failing to file complete reports on incidents related to CN’s acquisition of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co., completed last January. The two municipalities say CN failed to report a brushfire in its report to the Surface Transportation Board, while including a minor personnel incident. 

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner and Barrington Village President Karen Darch say CN’s first month report omitted 18 train delays of more than 10 minutes, as well as the brush fire started by locomotive operations and several alleged violations of quiet-zone operations.

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CN says it has complied with reporting requirements, which STB has mandated it must do monthly for five years. CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said the brush fire was not listed because it didn't meet the reporting criteria.

Weisner and Darch are co-chairs of The Regional Answer to Canadian National, or TRAC, the coalition of suburban Chicagoland municipalities along the EJ&E still opposed to the acquisition. TRAC seeks an “independent party” separate from STB to review CN's incident logs and submit the reports.

CN has reached mitigation agreements with 16 of the 33 communities along the EJ&E, including a pact with Elgin, Ill., reached last week. 
CN says its mitigation agreements now cover more than 50% of the population along the EJ&E in Illinois and Indiana.
But TRAC continues to seek a reversal of the acquisition agreement, citing increased noise and congestion issues.

CN's reports can be viewed on the STB website at www.stbfinancedocket35087.com.