STB Approves CN Acquisition of EJ&E

WASHINGTON — The Surface Transportation Board unanimously approved the Canadian National Railway Company and Grand Trunk Corporation application to acquire control of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E), subject to a number of Board-imposed conditions.

“Approval of this important railroad merger, with the conditions we have imposed, marks a significant step forward in our nation’s efforts to alleviate rail and highway congestion,” Board Chairman Charles D. Nottingham said. “I am pleased that the Board agreed, in a bipartisan and unanimous manner, after an unprecedented public involvement process, to grant the relief that this merger will provide to the many Chicago neighborhoods that have been disproportionately burdened for many decades with severe rail traffic-related roadway congestion.”

In reaching its decision, the STB considered both the transportation-related aspects of the transaction and the potential environmental impacts. In considering the transportation aspects, the STB found that the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition, the creation of a monopoly, or a restraint of trade in freight surface transportation in any region of the United States.

The STB also found that any minor anticompetitive effects that may result will be outweighed by the overall transportation benefits of the transaction.

“CN commends the STB for issuing its decision approving our railroad transaction — a transaction that was subject to unprecedented scrutiny and stakeholder involvement,” E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CN, said. “We are pleased that the Board has recognized the public-interest benefits of the transaction – the critical need for rail-congestion relief in the Chicago region – while mitigating the rail acquisition’s impact on certain communities situated on the EJ&E.

“While we are pleased that the STB has approved the transaction, we are nonetheless disappointed that the STB has mandated significant additional mitigation beyond the recommendations provided in the Final Environmental Impact Statement issued by the STB’s Section of Environmental Analysis with respect to the grade crossings in Lynwood and Aurora,” Harrison added. “We are carefully reviewing the STB’s decision.”