Congressman Dan Lipinski jumps aboard...

Congressman Dan Lipinski jumps aboard Canadian National deal

There are 120 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Aug 20, 2008, titled Congressman Dan Lipinski jumps aboard Canadian National deal. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Canadian National Railway's bid to buy the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway gained momentum this week as a key congressman joined a coalition of suburban leaders throwing their support behind the controversial ...

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DBX

Chicago, IL

#1 Aug 20, 2008
The government has long needed to take a more active role in rail transport, and if EJ&E is to work in the way that CN wants and Chicago needs, the infrastructure has to be heavily upgraded. That means double-tracking and triple-tracking, that means grade-separation, that means replacing crossings with bridges and underpasses, that means making the infrastructure work for freight and passengers alike. The government needs to be giving EJ&E as much priority as it would a new beltway or tollway, or it may find itself building a new beltway or tollway much sooner than it would like -- that is if local residents don't flee first due to the current inadequate plan going ahead.
JMO

United States

#2 Aug 20, 2008
About time someone stood up for not only the City, but the inner suburbs AND everyone who's looking for a job in the area that needs reasonable shipping costs, access and timeliness of delivery.

NIMBY's never help anyone but themselves. By definition.
JMO

United States

#3 Aug 20, 2008
Oh, and Metra whining about the CN deal? Doesn't Metra want to extend service to Valporaiso IN???? And the only way they can do so is if CN closes on this deal??

Where is Metra's planning for access to the Lincoln Airport, the STAR line???

Just another bunch of whiners...
Joe A

Chicago, IL

#4 Aug 20, 2008
Amen, DBX, suburbs are reliant upon the city. The people who bought next to rail lines, BOUGHT NEXT TO RAIL LINES. No NIMBY here - you chose to live where you are. The 'burbs will have to start doing their part and share what is admittedly sometimes an inconvenience. Chicago is in the enviable position it's in due, in good measure, to the RR's. A west to east coast train spends as much time getting through as it does getting TO Chicago.
We in the city & inner burbs pay. Now it's YOUR turn to contribute to the area's well-being. Stop leaching off of Chicago (the burbs' golden goose) and gratefully ante up.
James W

United States

#5 Aug 20, 2008
It looks as if common sense and the economic welfare of the nation as a whole just might win out over a few NIMBY's in the outer burbs.
NIMBP

Downers Grove, IL

#6 Aug 20, 2008
Keep in mind- Lipinski gets a lot of money from the railroad and his dad is a highly paid lobbyiest for the Railroad industry.

DBX- The EJ&E can't handle 3 tracks and putting 2 or even 3 tracks isn't in CN's operating plan for the EJ&E but are you saying we shouldn't trust CN's operating plan?
JLK

Warrenville, IL

#7 Aug 20, 2008
I wonder exactly how Chicago is the golden goose to the suburbs... as I pay higher taxes to support Chicago's CTA, which doesn't travel to the suburbs, and with my high property taxes to pay for local education since all of our education dollars go to Chicago, and the list goes on. If a private company (CN) can't make the improvements to make their deal work, then it should be scratched. The whole purpose is to move rail traffic out of Chicago? Then let Chicago pay for it!

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#8 Aug 20, 2008
NIMBP wrote:
Keep in mind- Lipinski gets a lot of money from the railroad and his dad is a highly paid lobbyiest for the Railroad industry.
And ironicly, given the news this week about the retiring Senator Emil Jones v2 being the baby daddy for the new Senator Emil Jones v3, remember how Lipinski got his seat in Congress.

Dan Lipinski's dad, Congressman Bill Lipinski, won a primary, than resigned. Bill's motley offspring was a college professor in Tennessee, where he was plucked, made Congressman, got elected with the help of daddy Bill's political organization.

Today, daddy Bill is a railroad lobbyist. And his scrawny spawn still does as he's told.

It's all so Chicago.
Msullivan

AOL

#9 Aug 20, 2008
Hmmm, Dan Lipinski -- isn't his constituency in Hinsdale where only the commuter trains run???? Is he anywhere near the Hoffman Estates-Aurora-Joliet line? Don't think so and because of this, I think he should remain neutral at best.
He doesn't live in a subdivision or area that will be affected. This rail line runs VERY close to 2 grade schools in the Fox Valley area along with a gas main that runs along the tracks. Any laying of additional tracks (which my tax dollars would pay for) or derailment could result in VERY deadly consequences for many of us who reside along it.
I think it's very ironic that when many of those of us who are middle-income and struggling because of the US economy, are once again being asked to take on additional excessive taxes to support a foreign company who has virtually no stakes in this endeavor.
Not a railroader

Fort Worth, TX

#10 Aug 20, 2008
NIMBP wrote:
Keep in mind- Lipinski gets a lot of money from the railroad and his dad is a highly paid lobbyiest for the Railroad industry.
DBX- The EJ&E can't handle 3 tracks and putting 2 or even 3 tracks isn't in CN's operating plan for the EJ&E but are you saying we shouldn't trust CN's operating plan?
The EJ&E has a Right Of Way that is 100 foot wide in most places. That is more than enough to handle 3 tracks. But if you look at CN's proposal they have said that they are going to add 19 miles of double track to the 26.8 miles that already exists. Some of those 19 miles would be connecting existing sidings so that the total miles of double track would go up by more than 19 miles.
keep wishing

Downers Grove, IL

#11 Aug 20, 2008
Not a railroader wrote:
<quoted text>
The EJ&E has a Right Of Way that is 100 foot wide in most places. That is more than enough to handle 3 tracks. But if you look at CN's proposal they have said that they are going to add 19 miles of double track to the 26.8 miles that already exists. Some of those 19 miles would be connecting existing sidings so that the total miles of double track would go up by more than 19 miles.
It sounds like they are just planning to add double tracks in a few places because as you know the entire line is like 200 miles long. If this goes thru are they then free to add double tracks to the entire line? What does Right a way mean? Are they free to build [another track] on their right a way?
paintsplatter

Chicago, IL

#12 Aug 20, 2008
Not a ONE of these trains will create a single job in the Chicago area.American dock workers on the west coast will be losing many jobs as CN will be unloading cargo ships in British Columbia, stacking the freight on trains and going to their low wage intermodel facility in Memphis.Shove the noise,traffic and pollution up CN's ass...

JRR

Since: Jan 08

Central IL

#13 Aug 20, 2008
Msullivan wrote:
Hmmm, Dan Lipinski -- isn't his constituency in Hinsdale where only the commuter trains run???? Is he anywhere near the Hoffman Estates-Aurora-Joliet line? Don't think so and because of this, I think he should remain neutral at best.
He doesn't live in a subdivision or area that will be affected. This rail line runs VERY close to 2 grade schools in the Fox Valley area along with a gas main that runs along the tracks. Any laying of additional tracks (which my tax dollars would pay for) or derailment could result in VERY deadly consequences for many of us who reside along it.
I think it's very ironic that when many of those of us who are middle-income and struggling because of the US economy, are once again being asked to take on additional excessive taxes to support a foreign company who has virtually no stakes in this endeavor.
I hate to burst your balloon, but in addition to Metra commuter trains, Hinsdale sees numerous freight trains on the same Burlington Northern Santa Fe line, which is a major freight trunk line and one of the busiest in the Chicago area -- to the tune of around 120 trains a day.

You think Lipinski should keep neutral because he doesn't live in a subdivision or area that's to be affected. What about Rep. Judy Biggert, also from Hinsdale, who is OPPOSED to the transaction? Shouldn't she be worrying more about her HER neighborhood? After all, Hinsdale has a single one-lane wooden bridge over the BNSF tracks, and Westmont and Downers Grove have NO overpasses or underpasses carrying local roads.

Why do the people whining about 30-odd trains a day on the CN-EJ&E route get Rep. Biggert's attention when the rail traffic and resulting highway traffic delays in her own community are much higher and hvae been for years?

I don't know where you get the notion that your tax dollars would pay for additional tracks. In case you're unaware, the railroads in the US are businesses who raise capital for building and maintaining their infrastructure from their investors and the proceeds from running their business.

Finally, the notion that Canadian National is a "foreign company who has virtually no stakes in this endeavor" is just as ludicrous.

CN employs thousands of US citizens in management and labor positions, serves numerous US shippers and businesses, is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (no doubt with the majority of investors being US citizens), and its senior management (including the CEO who negotiated the EJ&E deal) are mostly former Illinois Central officers who live in the Chicago area.

This whole "foreign-owned" thing is a red herring, because I'm sure the opponents would disapprove of this deal even if it were the "American-owned" Union Pacific or Norfolk Southern who wanted the EJ&E.

Tammy Wierciak, spokeswoman for the West Central Municipal Conference put the issue of rail congestion and the EJ&E acquisition best when she said
"It is a regional issue. It shouldn't be about who screams the loudest."

JRR

Since: Jan 08

Central IL

#14 Aug 21, 2008
keep wishing wrote:
<quoted text>If this goes thru are they then free to add double tracks to the entire line? What does Right a way mean? Are they free to build [another track] on their right a way?
A railroad's right of way is land owned by the railroad on which they lay track and other infrastructure to support using that property for rail transportation.

Just as you are free to add improvements to the residence or business on property you own, a railroad is free to improve its property (by adding tracks, for example). Likewise, it may "slim down" by reducing to single track in areas where the traffic doesn't justify the expense of multiple track.

Much of the EJ&E line in question was double track in the past, but was slimmed down -- in part because the traffic patterns of the the time didn't justify the second track, and in part because the steel company owning the EJ&E didn't recognize the potential of this line that CN now sees.

So, while a railroad needs government approval to buy another company, merge, construct a new line, or abandon a line it no longer wants, it does not need government approval to modify the number of tracks on property it already owns.

Since: May 08

McHenry

#16 Aug 21, 2008
NIMBP wrote:
Keep in mind- Lipinski gets a lot of money from the railroad and his dad is a highly paid lobbyiest for the Railroad industry.
DBX- The EJ&E can't handle 3 tracks and putting 2 or even 3 tracks isn't in CN's operating plan for the EJ&E but are you saying we shouldn't trust CN's operating plan?
My first thought When I read the article was 'I wonder how much he got paid'. That my be cynical, but truthfully look at the family history.
Steal Rails

AOL

#17 Aug 21, 2008
Red Heart wrote:
<quoted text>
My first thought When I read the article was 'I wonder how much he got paid'. That my be cynical, but truthfully look at the family history.
That was my first thought as well. He waited long enough to play a role in this and he surely profited from it.
midwest rail

Lisle, IL

#18 Aug 21, 2008
Steal Rails wrote:
<quoted text>
That was my first thought as well. He waited long enough to play a role in this and he surely profited from it.
SR, unfortunately, you guys have accused so many of being paid CN lackeys, now that you're probably right, who's going to listen ?
Mike

Mokena, IL

#19 Aug 21, 2008
What a pathetic excuse for a government representative.
Bill-Elgin

Geneva, IL

#20 Aug 21, 2008
JLK wrote:
The whole purpose is to move rail traffic out of Chicago? Then let Chicago pay for it!
Daley has a couple billion in slush funding from his skyway lease deal. If Daley wants the deal, he could offer to help pay some of the cost. Mostly though, Daley is an expert on getting the rest of the state to pay HIS COSTS,(CPS, CTA, ETC.). So he won't want to contribute, but maybe he could at least pull strings to get other politicians to get earmarks.
Not a railroader

Fort Worth, TX

#21 Aug 21, 2008
keep wishing wrote:
<quoted text>
It sounds like they are just planning to add double tracks in a few places because as you know the entire line is like 200 miles long. If this goes thru are they then free to add double tracks to the entire line? What does Right a way mean? Are they free to build [another track] on their right a way?
Right Of Way (ROW) is land that the railroad owns and can use for tracks, and equipment they need to run the railroad. No the railroad does not need approval from regulators to build second (or third, or even fourth tracks) in their ROW.
Actually the EJ&E mainline is 120 miles long. The balance of the 198 miles are on branch lines that are such low density lines they don't need to be double tracked. In addition the 12.78 miles from Waukegan to Leithton (Mundelein) are not projected to see an increase in trains per day beyond the current low density of 3.2 trains/day, so the only about 107.22 miles are impacted by increased traffic. CN is using most of the 19 miles of construction to connect existing sidings so that with 19 miles of new double track they gain approximately 25 miles total (19 new + 6.1 miles of existing sidings) of double track. This would bring the EJ&E's double track total up to approximately 51.9 miles. By my calculation (based upon an archived timetable) this will have all but 5.8 miles of the EJ&E's western subdivision (Joliet to Gary) double tracked, and 48% of the main line affected by the purchase double tracked (up from about 25% today).

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