CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. — CN announced an agreement with the City of Chicago Heights, Ill., located 26 miles south of downtown Chicago and six miles from the Indiana border, that addresses municipal concerns about CN’s proposed acquisition of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E).
Under the agreement, CN will assist in the creation and maintenance of quiet zones and take various steps to improve operations, safety, fencing and emergency preparedness and promote economic development in Chicago Heights.
The agreement is contingent upon regulatory approval of CN’s proposed acquisition of the EJ&E. The transaction is being reviewed by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which is encouraging CN and communities to reach voluntary mitigation agreements.
Gordon Trafton, CN senior vice-president, Southern Region, said: “We thank Chicago Heights for working with CN to negotiate a mutually satisfactory plan to manage the impact of our transaction on the community.
“More municipalities are responding to CN’s outreach efforts by entering into mitigation agreements with the railroad that address their unique concerns. To date, CN has reached agreements with three other municipalities along the EJ&E line – Joliet and Crest Hill, Illinois, and Dyer, Indiana – and CN remains committed to negotiating additional agreements with other communities along the EJ&E.”
CN has also reached an agreement with Amtrak preserving Amtrak’s current route to Chicago’s Union Station for passenger service to and from Carbondale, Champaign, and other downstate Illinois points.
CN is committed to meet all of the STB’s established mitigation standards under a comprehensive mitigation program that would cost about $60 million, in addition to $100 million CN has earmarked for infrastructure improvements on the EJ&E.
“With the final Environmental Impact Statement on the transaction now issued, CN hopes to see a final STB decision in the near future that would approve the transaction and allow for its benefits to be realized,” Trafton said. “CN’s EJ&E transaction will generate meaningful transportation, environmental and economic benefits for the Chicago region and the nation as a whole.”