CN not ready to announce EJ & E reroutes

CN not ready to announce EJ & E reroutes

There are 37 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Mar 4, 2009, titled CN not ready to announce EJ & E reroutes. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Wednesday is the first day Canadian National Railway Co. can begin running more trains on its newly acquired Elgin, Joliet & Eastern rail line, but CN said it has no plans yet to reroute freight traffic.

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Ken in Aurora

Aurora, IL

#1 Mar 4, 2009
If more of the municipalities had negotiated in good faith like West Chicago and the ten other communities, everyone would be better off. All Barrington and Aurora have managed to do is waste tax dollars and enrich lawyers.

Mayor Weisner, your days in office are numbered. Your activities in this whole mess demonstrate extremely poor judgment.

Since: Nov 07

Detroit, MI

#2 Mar 4, 2009
Ken in Aurora wrote:
If more of the municipalities had negotiated in good faith like West Chicago and the ten other communities, everyone would be better off. All Barrington and Aurora have managed to do is waste tax dollars and enrich lawyers.
Mayor Weisner, your days in office are numbered. Your activities in this whole mess demonstrate extremely poor judgment.
I agree Ken...I predict most people will soon realize that this whole thing was nothing more than a huge waste of time. The additional train traffic hardly be noticed by most, and the communities that were lucky enough to have adults in charge will be rewarded.
Dan Rakow

Glen Ellyn, IL

#3 Mar 4, 2009
West Chicago NEEDS two Underpasses one on Washington St. and the other on Forest Ave. that will require an extenison between Joliet St. and Pearl Rd.
Also West Chicago needs two Pedestrian Underpasses especially one on George St in order to allow Students coming to and from West Chicago Community High School.
Dan Rakow

Glen Ellyn, IL

#4 Mar 4, 2009
Underpass that I am suggesting for Washington St. and Forest Ave. with an extenison between Joliet St. and Pearl Rd in West Chicago,IL is for Vechile Traffic.
gatheredtogether

Blue Springs, MO

#5 Mar 4, 2009
How will the commuter trains be handled? Will they have right of way? As I remember from my youth (nearly getting run over by one of the EJ&E trains), will fences be put up to keep people off the tracks? I think this is a huge mistake and am sorry WC caved. Maybe once the improvements were in place than maybe they should have bargained but not until. They now have no leverage.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#6 Mar 4, 2009
Dan Rakow wrote:
West Chicago NEEDS two Underpasses one on Washington St. and the other on Forest Ave. that will require an extenison between Joliet St. and Pearl Rd.
Also West Chicago needs two Pedestrian Underpasses especially one on George St in order to allow Students coming to and from West Chicago Community High School.
You say West Chicago needs two underpasses. But lets look at those streets. I will take the second one (Forest Avenue) first; As you note (but not well) Forest Avenue does not even cross the EJ&E tracks, it never has. To make this cross the tracks would require the demolition of at least 2-3 houses and one business. In addition Forest Avenue is not even a arterial (main) street, it is residential street. Also why does Forest Avenue need to have an underpass when Roosevelt Road, which is 3 blocks (about 4/10 mile) south of Forest Avenue (even closer on the west side of the tracks), already has one? Roosevelt Road is a four lane arterial street.
You also state that Washington Street should have an underpass. It is an arterial street, but it is only two lanes although it is four lanes east of the UP crossing. One should note that Washington Street crosses both the UP and the EJ&E lines. The crossings are approximately 75 feet apart. Here is the problem, is the need for an underpass at Washington Street because of the EJ&E (and CN's takeover of that line) or is it because of the UP line? Here are some of the facts, CN plans to run 31.6 trains per day on the EJ&E through West Chicago. In contrast UP runs 55 freight trains and METRA runs 52 passenger trains per day (107 total trains) on the UP line through West Chicago. METRA is also talking about expanding the number of passenger trains per day they run to 67. If Washington street needs an underpass it needs it primarily because of the UP & METRA traffic on the UP line. That being said an underpass would need to go under both the EJ&E line and the UP line because of how close they are to each other. This would also require that Aurora Street (both North and South) be blocked off from Washington Street and Wood Street to also be blocked off from Washington Street. The reason for this is that they intersect Washington Street so close to the tracks that they would be in the area where the road would already be going below grade to go under the railroad tracks.
All in all I do not see any need for an underpass at Forest Avenue and if one is built at Washington Street the need for it is not primarily because of traffic on the EJ&E.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#7 Mar 4, 2009
Dan Rakow wrote:
West Chicago NEEDS two Underpasses one on Washington St. and the other on Forest Ave. that will require an extenison between Joliet St. and Pearl Rd.
Also West Chicago needs two Pedestrian Underpasses especially one on George St in order to allow Students coming to and from West Chicago Community High School.
As to your statement about the need for pedestrian underpasses, you might note the full Chicago Tribune story where it says that the agreement between CN and West Chicago includes a pedestrian underpass. Unfortunately it does not say where, but I believe that George Street is a good possibility. Does anyone have access to specifics?
I would like to know, where do you think that a second pedestrian underpass should go? You have never mention a location for that.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#8 Mar 4, 2009
gatheredtogether wrote:
How will the commuter trains be handled? Will they have right of way? As I remember from my youth (nearly getting run over by one of the EJ&E trains), will fences be put up to keep people off the tracks? I think this is a huge mistake and am sorry WC caved. Maybe once the improvements were in place than maybe they should have bargained but not until. They now have no leverage.
If they had waited until CN did the mitigation required by the STB then they would likely not have gotten anything else. Why after spending its money to meet the only requirements set forth by the STB would CN want to go back and add more cost to their mitigation? Actually, West Chicago lost most of its bargaining power the moment the STB approved the deal. They had the most bargaining power before the final EIS was issued, less once it was issued. When the STB approved the deal and set the mitigation conditions they lost a great deal more bargaining power. As time goes on their bargaining power would weaken to nothing.
As to fences, other articles mention that fences would be included. Here is a link to one of those.
http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2009/03/04/ap6...
RainMaker

AOL

#9 Mar 5, 2009
Barack Obama is allowing Illinois children (and constituents) to be put into harms way, by allowing a very irresponsible railroad carrier (CN), with a terrible safety record and poor community stewardship, to move HAZMAT (possibly including spent plutonium) through our communities, through our backyards, near our schools, without any meaningful mitigation, all at the expense of the tax payers. DISAPPOINTING!!! Where is the CHANGE, BO. I want my vote back because right out of the box, you have not honored your word to your constituents by remaining deaf and blind to this massive FLEECING that is occurring by CN and STB (Bush cronies). With a 28% increase in foreseeable railroad catastrophy, this is a disaster waiting to happen...Can you say Love Canal II?
SKP

Oak Ridge, TN

#10 Mar 5, 2009
Rainmaker - hold on, don't get so excited. Obama has about as much impact/influence on this deal as that idiot Durbin. CN is actually a pretty well run operation; I'm not sure how they're 'irresponsible'. Perhaps you're thinking of CP?

Regarding hazmats , a)the configuration of the US rail system dictates that hazmats will almost always travel through populated areas, as hazmats are part and parcel of industrial inputs and most industries are/were located in urban areas, b) the railroads were actually way out in front of the gov't in the development of labeling and handling standards for hazmats, c) the vessels shipping spent nuclear fuel are safer than any of the railcars carrying other hazmats with actual pop risk approaching 0, d) how do you think the US Navy has been transporting it's spent nuclear fuel for its submarines and nuclear powered craft for the past 40+ years? Probably right past your house ON A TRAIN, and d) railroads are REQUIRED to ship hazmats under common carrier regulations, unless you want all of it to go by semi truck, which has a safety record that is absolutely abysmal in comparison to the railroads.

Calm down and think a little more, please.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#11 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
Barack Obama is allowing Illinois children (and constituents) to be put into harms way, by allowing a very irresponsible railroad carrier (CN), with a terrible safety record and poor community stewardship, to move HAZMAT (possibly including spent plutonium) through our communities, through our backyards, near our schools, without any meaningful mitigation, all at the expense of the tax payers. DISAPPOINTING!!! Where is the CHANGE, BO. I want my vote back because right out of the box, you have not honored your word to your constituents by remaining deaf and blind to this massive FLEECING that is occurring by CN and STB (Bush cronies). With a 28% increase in foreseeable railroad catastrophy, this is a disaster waiting to happen...Can you say Love Canal II?
Rainmaker,
Where do you get you statistics about ďa 28% increase in foreseeable railroad catastrophyĒ[sic]? How do you know that CN has a terrible safety record?
But let's talk about the terrible safety record of CN compared to other railroads.
[All the statistics that I quote come from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)- Office of Safety Analysis. You can find the information at: http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/officeofsafety/
The figures are given in Accidents per million train miles (A/Mtm). This is the standard figure used so that you are making equal comparisons (apples to apples) between different size railroads. I quote the high and low rates for each from 1999-2008.]

CN: High 6.0 (2000) Low 3.0 (2005)
EJ&E: High 24.4 (2002 & 2004) Low 10.5 (2006)
All Railroads: High 4.4 (2004) Low 3.1 (2008)
Class I Railroads: High 4.2 (2004) Low 2.9 (2008)
Non Class I Railroads: High 12.6 (2004) Low 9.4 (2008)

As you can see CN's accident rate is not much different than the average for all railroads and near the same rate as the average for Class I railroads (there are seven of them including CN). CN's High rate is a little higher than the highest average for all railroads and for Class I railroads. CN's Low rate is a fractionally better than the lowest average for all railroads and just a little higher than the lowest average for Class I railroads.

In contrast you can see that the EJ&Eís accident record does not compare so well. Their highest accident rate is 4 times higher than CNís highest, 5.5 times higher than the industry average and 1.9 times higher than the average for non-class I railroads. On the other end the EJ&Eís lowest accident rate is 3.5 times higher than CNís lowest (and 1.75 times higher than CNís highest), 3.4 times higher than the industry average and a little bit higher than the average for non-class I railroads.

In other words, CN in its worst year for accidents was just under two times better than the EJ&E in its best year. Below are the figures for 2008:

CN: 4.0 A/Mtm
EJ&E: 12.7 A/Mtm
All Railroads: 3.1 A/Mtm
Class I Railroads: 2.9 A/Mtm
Non Class I Railroads: 9.4 A/Mtm
The real question that I have for you is, are you going to believe all the hype about ďCNís terrible safety record,Ē or are you going to believe the facts that show a railroad that is relatively safe? Iím not saying that they could not improve, but they do have a much better record than the EJ&E did.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#12 Mar 5, 2009
SKP wrote:
Rainmaker - hold on, don't get so excited. Obama has about as much impact/influence on this deal as that idiot Durbin. CN is actually a pretty well run operation; I'm not sure how they're 'irresponsible'. Perhaps you're thinking of CP?... Calm down and think a little more, please.
SKP,
The problem is that the leaders of the NIMBY's have flooded the print, airwaves and public forums with these same unsubstantiated claims about CN having a terrible safety record, etc. Yet in all the foaming at the mouth about CN's supposedly terrible safety record I have never seen or heard them cite a statistical source that backs up their claims.
Honestly, if I was Rainmaker and I saw the information in your post and in my above reply to his post, I would start to question the people who are making these charges.
You make excellent points in your post. Unfortunately, they are the same points that both you and I (as well as several others) have made in other threads on this transaction. I guess the saying "the truth has trouble catching up to a lie once it has started to spread" is very true.

JRR

Since: Jan 08

Central IL

#13 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
Barack Obama is allowing Illinois children (and constituents) to be put into harms way, by allowing a very irresponsible railroad carrier (CN), with a terrible safety record and poor community stewardship, to move HAZMAT (possibly including spent plutonium) through our communities, through our backyards, near our schools, without any meaningful mitigation, all at the expense of the tax payers.
Though Barack Obama will one day have the opportunity to appoint a member of the Surface Transportaion Board, neither he nor his predecessor have any control over the members of the board once they are seated.

The STB is not part of the Department of Transportation. Though the STB's members are appointed by the president, they do not serve at his pleasure like executive branch officers would, and the Board was set up by Congress to independently exercise oversight of the transportation system under the laws.

As far as Illinois children being put into harm's way, do you think the freight on CN rails travels NOW through a child-free zone? The sheer oblivion of some commenters amazes me. Do you think that hazardous materials that you use in everyday life (like chlorine for your swimming pools and drinking water) are brought to water filtration plants by the tooth fairy? They have to travel somehow, and better by train than by truck.
RainMaker

AOL

#14 Mar 5, 2009
To the attorneys on retainer for CN (JRR and Notarailer): answers to your questions about my blog can be found in the Final EIS that the STB accepted and published and funded by CN ($20MM). STB stated a foreseeable increase in rail accidents on the J by 28%. Got to: www.fightrailcongestion.com and sift thru the EIS. Also, with a stated increase of 400% in train traffic, an increase of 700% in toxic hazmat transport, 28% increase in risk of accident, SEVERELY undermitgated railway system along the J and a poor saftey rating (see CNs rating in Canadian 1 and 2 out of 5 - countries lowest rating)- this is no lie that our children in the region are at risk. Besides, what are your stakes in this situation? How are your children impacted by this deal? How is your home value going to be effected by this? How overcapacitated are your roadways currently? Is your drinking water located by CN tracks? I suspect both of you have no skin in this game, just a bunch of spin. Besides, if you are agreeable to this deal, then why not support proper mitigation from CN?
Ken in Aurora

Aurora, IL

#15 Mar 5, 2009
Oh, he's a blogger -*that* explains a lot.

Rainmaker, your tinfoil hat slipped.
My GGGeneration

Addison, IL

#16 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
To the attorneys on retainer for CN (JRR and Notarailer): answers to your questions about my blog can be found in the Final EIS that the STB accepted and published and funded by CN ($20MM). STB stated a foreseeable increase in rail accidents on the J by 28%. Got to: www.fightrailcongestion.com and sift thru the EIS. Also, with a stated increase of 400% in train traffic, an increase of 700% in toxic hazmat transport, 28% increase in risk of accident, SEVERELY undermitgated railway system along the J and a poor saftey rating (see CNs rating in Canadian 1 and 2 out of 5 - countries lowest rating)- this is no lie that our children in the region are at risk. Besides, what are your stakes in this situation? How are your children impacted by this deal? How is your home value going to be effected by this? How overcapacitated are your roadways currently? Is your drinking water located by CN tracks? I suspect both of you have no skin in this game, just a bunch of spin. Besides, if you are agreeable to this deal, then why not support proper mitigation from CN?
Rainmaker, I don't really know what was in your Wheaties this morning but first of all, it's YOUR job as a parent to protect your children. In addition, all of the goods everyone, including you, has mentioned would be brought by 90,000 pound semis (and hundreds of them at that) were it not for trains. What don't you get about that very simple concept? The trains are dramatically more efficient, safer, and better for the environment. Geez.
beagle

Canada

#17 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
To the attorneys on retainer for CN (JRR and Notarailer): answers to your questions about my blog can be found in the Final EIS that the STB accepted and published and funded by CN ($20MM). STB stated a foreseeable increase in rail accidents on the J by 28%. Got to: www.fightrailcongestion.com and sift thru the EIS. Also, with a stated increase of 400% in train traffic, an increase of 700% in toxic hazmat transport, 28% increase in risk of accident, SEVERELY undermitgated railway system along the J and a poor saftey rating (see CNs rating in Canadian 1 and 2 out of 5 - countries lowest rating)- this is no lie that our children in the region are at risk. Besides, what are your stakes in this situation? How are your children impacted by this deal? How is your home value going to be effected by this? How overcapacitated are your roadways currently? Is your drinking water located by CN tracks? I suspect both of you have no skin in this game, just a bunch of spin. Besides, if you are agreeable to this deal, then why not support proper mitigation from CN?
Rainmaker

The Draft Environmental Impact Study was, as I recall, 3600 pages. The Final Environmental Impact Study was, as I recall, 3100 pages.

The convienent, misinterpreted, cherry picked, slanted, much abridged and self-serving items present by www.fightrailcongestion.com is worthless tripe.

If that is the limit of your personal due diligence on the matter, you deserve the politicians who wasted your money contesting the CN/EJ&E before the STB.

beagle
RainMaker

AOL

#18 Mar 5, 2009
Ken in Aurora wrote:
Oh, he's a blogger -*that* explains a lot.
Rainmaker, your tinfoil hat slipped.
Correction, not my blog, my previous comment.
RainMaker

AOL

#19 Mar 5, 2009
My GGGeneration wrote:
<quoted text>
Rainmaker, I don't really know what was in your Wheaties this morning but first of all, it's YOUR job as a parent to protect your children. In addition, all of the goods everyone, including you, has mentioned would be brought by 90,000 pound semis (and hundreds of them at that) were it not for trains. What don't you get about that very simple concept? The trains are dramatically more efficient, safer, and better for the environment. Geez.
Huh? Blah blah blah What? So you do agree with me in trying to protect my children. Your comment doesn't make sense about protecting the children.This is my point, I am trying to protect them. Regarding the efficiency of transportation, no argument here, BUT NOT straight thru the heart of 40+ communities all with roadways that are already at overcapacity. My argument is about not considering alternative options and CN not offering mitigation measures in good faith. If the trains come, then atleast support the infrastrucutre and the effected communities. Alternative options should not have been ruled out like they did. Like any decision, due dilligence is required. Alternative options that could lead to a better solutions for all parties was immediately taken off of the table. Hopefully the Appeals Courts will recognize and acknowledge this negligence.

Aurora Ken, what are you thinking, you'll suffer most in the gridlock; enjoy! Kudos to your mayor for standing up and fighting on your behalf.
beagle

Canada

#20 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
<quoted text>
My argument is about not considering alternative options and CN not offering mitigation measures in good faith. If the trains come, then atleast support the infrastrucutre and the effected communities. Alternative options should not have been ruled out like they did. Like any decision, due dilligence is required. Alternative options that could lead to a better solutions for all parties was immediately taken off of the table. Hopefully the Appeals Courts will recognize and acknowledge this negligence.
With your recently gained deep insight into the issue--why don't you tell us what "alternate options" you think are relevant?

beagle

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