CN, Chicago Heights agree on mitigation measures for EJ&E deal (12/9/2008)


Less than a week after reaching its third agreement with a Chicago-area community regarding the proposed Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. (EJ&E) acquisition, Canadian National Railway Co. has landed a fourth.

Yesterday, the Class I announced it forged a pact with Chicago Heights that addresses the city’s concerns about the transaction. Under the agreement, CN will help create and maintain quiet zones, take steps to improve operations, safety, fencing and emergency preparedness, and promote economic development in the municipality.

The railroad previously reached agreements with Joliet and Crest Hill, Ill., and Dyer, Ind. However, a number of communities in the region continue to oppose the acquisition because of train traffic, noise and safety concerns.

"More municipalities are responding to CN's outreach efforts by entering into mitigation agreements with the railroad that address their unique concerns,” said Gordon Trafton, CN senior vice president-Southern Region, in a prepared statement.

CN plans to comply with all of the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) mitigation requirements under a $60 million mitigation program. The board released its final Environmental Impact Statement on the transaction last week.

Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick on CN’s EJ&E deal with U.S. Steel Corp. Set to expire at year’s end, the pact calls for the Class I to acquire a major portion of the regional for $300 million. CN officials hope the STB issues a final decision on the acquisition by month’s end so the deal can be consummated.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News