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.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#21 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...
Rainmaker,
You remind me of another person who has posted on other threads about this merger. When called for data he puts up a general website and then tells you that you must find the data, instead of pointing you to where it is found.
Concerning your much touted 28% increase in train accidents on the EJ&E I found the information in the DEIS section 4.02 (safety) on page 4.2-4 (table 4.2-3).
http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readingroom....
Let us analysis the numbers given there. The Mainline Accident rate on the EJ&E is expected to drop from 3.11 Accidents per Million train miles (A/Mtm) down to 1.54 A/Mtm. However, the train miles will increase from 373,778 train miles to 1,167,891 train miles. This means that the expected Mainline Accident rate will increase from 1.4 per year to 1.8 per year. An increase of .4 accidents per year gives us your 28% increase. Wow, that is a significant increase isn't it, less than 1 per year. If you average it out it means that there will 1 additional mainline accident every 2.5 years.
As to the EIS being funded by CN, that is what federal law requires. That is done in all merger cases that require an EIS, big deal. Because CN was required to pay for it does not put its conclusions into question. The STB selected the outside consultants they used to prepare it, not CN. The only thing that CN could do was pay the bill for it.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#22 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
To the attorneys on retainer for CN (JRR and Notarailer)...
Wow, I've never been called an attorney before, I don't know whether to take that as a complement or an insult. ;) Where do I get my Law degree to hang on my wall, can I get one out of a box of Cracker Jacks? Hey JRR, should I send you one as well?
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#23 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?
You state, "this is no lie that our children in the region are at risk." I have to assume that you do not count any of the inner suburbs or Chicago as part of the region. Because if you look at table 4.2-3 (Reference in my above post) you would see that overall the number of accidents on the CN-EJ&E lines involved is expected to decline from 2.1 per year to 1.9 per year, a decrease of .2 per year (8%).
Considering that the total number of people (and children) is higher in the communities that will see a decrease in train traffic than it is in the ones along the EJ&E that means that overall there is less risk to children because of this merger. Unless you don't believe that they count.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#24 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
To the attorneys on retainer for CN (JRR and Notarailer)... a poor saftey rating (see CNs rating in Canadian 1 and 2 out of 5 - countries lowest rating)...
RainMaker,
Please define or point to the specific document that explains what a rating of 1 and 2 out of 5 in Canada means. Is that how they rank out of 5 railroads or what?
Now here is an interesting thing that I found on the TRAC website. In a document titled "CN Safety report," on page 5 they have a graph with CN's mainline derailment rate (2000-2005). http://www.fightrailcongestion.com/press_rele...
It shows a rate of anywhere from approximately 1.5 per Million train miles to 2.4 per Million train miles. In the US FRA data they do not separate mainline derailment from yard derailment data, but the derailment rate in the U.S. for CN in 2005 was 2.07 per Million train miles. About the same as Canada as the mainline data for Canada.
http://safetydata.fra.dot.gov/officeofsafety/

Most interesting is a report by Transport Canada titled, "Stronger Ties: A Shared Commitment to Railway Safety - Report of the Railway Safety Act Review Advisory Panel."
http://www.tc.gc.ca/tcss/RSA_Review-Examen_LS...
Section 2.4 of that report (Comparing Rail Safety in Canada and the U.S.) states in part, "...In examining the average number of accidents per million train miles from 1996-2006 for CN and CP’s operations (which includes both their U.S. and Canadian operations), the rates are lower than for comparable U.S.-based operators. Interestingly, the accident rates for both CN and CP increase, if only the U.S. portion of their operations is considered. This means that their Canadian safety records are having a positive impact on their overall North American safety performance..."
In other words CN's "poor" safety record in Canada is better than its U.S. record, which if you note my earlier post actually compares pretty well with the average for all U.S. railroads and the average for class I railroads.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#25 Mar 5, 2009
beagle wrote:
<quoted text>
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
Beagle,
You are so right about how TRAC cherry picks the data that they want to put out. A 28% increase in mainline accidents sounds much scarier than pointing out that .4 more accidents per year works out to about 1 extra accident every 2.5 years.
Not a Railroader

Omaha, NE

#26 Mar 5, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
<quoted text>
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.
One problem with your argument is that you make the point that many of us have been saying when you say, "...straight thru the heart of 40+ communities all with roadways that are already at overcapacity." Whose fault is it that they are overcapacity? Many of us have been saying that the problem is not that CN is merging with the EJ&E, it is that the communities have not made the infrastructure improvements they should have to keep up with population growth. That is not CN's fault and they should not be required to pay for what your politicians have neglected.

As to alternative options, why should CN not be able to buy an underused line for there purposes? Why should they be forced to spend billions of dollars more to build a brand new line further out when a perfectly good line (the EJ&E) already exists? It would also add significantly to their operating expenses because of the extra mileage they would have to travel.
In addition the STB "is required to consider alternatives that are feasible and reasonable." this is set forth in federal law and in court precedent. If you read the STB's decision 18 dated January 16, 2009 you will see that they point out the law and many court cases to do not allow them to consider alternatives of their own.
http://www.stb.dot.gov/decisions/readingroom....

As to "CN not offering mitigation measures in good faith," how can you say that when many of the community leaders in places like Barrington and Aurora did not even attempt to negotiate with CN. We now have 11 communities that have agreements with CN, how can you say that they are not offering mitigation measures in good faith? Did Mayor Darch even attempt to negotiate with CN?
Dave

Shorewood, IL

#27 Mar 6, 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?
We have 3 times the trains then Barrington will ever have, and we are doing OK. You are confusing NEED with WANT. You don't NEED the new bridges, you WANT them. CN is not stopping you from building all you want.
Ken in Aurora

Aurora, IL

#28 Mar 6, 2009
RainMaker wrote:
<quoted text>
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.
Huh? How do you figure?

Aurora has one grade crossing of note that will be affected by increased traffic - Ogden, AKA US Route 30.

I think it's repugnant that Weisner and his TRAC buddies expect CN to pay for grade separation when it is IDOT, the county and the city of Aurora that were negligent in keeping up with population expansion.

This crossing has needed to be grade separated for over twenty years now.
beagle

Canada

#29 Mar 6, 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).
Rainmaker,

Yours is a response which is typical of anti CN/EJ&E "Newbys" who have visited this issue. And, you are wrong.

I am the former owner of a shortline railroad and several other businesses. I have never been an employee, consultant, or received any remuneration from CN.

Several months ago I started posting on this issue when it became painfully apparent that the lack of factual knowlege and misconceptions of the general public about the railroad industry were being preyed upon by confrontational and self-serving local politicians. The politicians obviously had their own agenda--and, it had nothing to do with the best interests of their electorate.

The level of insighful discourse/research posted by those who "seem" to favor the CN/EJ&E merger has improved greatly over the past several months. These people are not "shils" of CN. They are sourcing the original documentation rather than regurgitating the misrepresentations posited by TRAC.

If, you feel that as a suburban Chicago resident, your family, personal wealth, lifestyle, is at the greatest risk--you should take the time to adequately research the issues. Posters like NAR, JRR, et al. provide you with the means.

beagle
Jeff Mangano

AOL

#30 Mar 6, 2009
beagle wrote:
<quoted text>
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
Don't confuse the hosting website with the contents of the material. I agree the CN information is tripe, but if you peel back the layers and delve into all of the posted documentation, INCLUDING the EIS, this is all supplied by the STB and CN. Remember, CN and CN compensated 3rd party consultants authored this report.. wwww.fightrailcongestion.com is just one source that hosts this CN propaganda.
Jeff Mangano

AOL

#31 Mar 6, 2009
Throughout the deliberations, CN has stated its interest in working with communities to ease the burden associated with the increase in freight train traffic. So, what processes have been put in place to mitigate our concerns and help our communities cope?
No progress has been made toward installing the mandated cameras designed to monitor crossings so emergency responders will know if freight trains are blocking an intersection. CN has not implemented the required noise and vibration measures to insulate residents from the 300 to 400 percent increase in freight traffic. The region's first responders have been told by CN they will need to wait until fall to receive training on how to deal with hazardous materials that will be routed through our neighborhoods. School children near EJ&E lines will walk to school without the promised pedestrian safety measures.
Whether you agree or disagree with the merits of this transaction, the lack of real action to implement the required safety measures underscores our ongoing criticism surrounding the proposed transaction. Although CN was quick to announce the movement of trains on the EJ&E once the decision was approved, it has been remarkably quiet on explaining its timeline for implementing crucial mitigation measures. CN has failed to fulfill its promises of corporate responsibility and community cooperation. In fact, TRAC's recent reasonable request that CN representatives attend a meeting to discuss the status of implementing the mandated safety measures was declined.
In the coming days, CN will be increasing the amount of freight traffic running on the EJ&E and the impacts to affected communities will be felt immediately. There are many questions about the true long-term ramifications left unanswered, while the unfulfilled CN promise for cooperation in easing the burden on residents has not inspired a lot of confidence moving forward. That is why the TRAC Coalition continues to oppose this transaction publicly and has taken the battle to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Between the federal stimulus package, the state's capital bill and the pending reauthorization of the federal highway bill, an enormous amount of money is being dedicated to infrastructure in Illinois.
At the same time, monster trains have started rolling through our communities without any of the required mitigation in place.
Sited form the web.
Ken in Aurora

Naperville, IL

#32 Mar 6, 2009
Jeff, did you expect CN to complete mitigation before the deal was approved and completed? Be real.

And your so-called "monster trains" (no different that any other trains running through local communities) are not running through on the J. They've gone on record that it will take years to get traffic rerouted.
beagle

Canada

#33 Mar 6, 2009
Jeff Mangano wrote:
Throughout the deliberations, CN has stated its interest in working with communities to ease the burden associated with the increase in freight train traffic. So, what processes have been put in place to mitigate our concerns and help our communities cope?
Say Jeff,

Does the TRAC website mention this:

“Our community liaison officer has communicated directly with all 33 communities affected by the purchase and is engaged in a series of outreach meetings with them to describe in detail the multi-year phase of our acquisition. With the communities that have signed mitigation agreements with CN, our initial priority has been pursuing mechanisms for the installation of quiet zones, and we will then progress to implementation of other aspects of the agreements.

“In addition, we have invited two representatives of each of the 33 communities to attend a one-week training program for railroad hazardous material training at a rail industry center in Pueblo, Colo., at CN's expense.

No, I didn't think so.

According to media reports, CN has not started diverting any additional traffic onto the EJ&E. They agreed to mitigation is to be installed over a three year time frame.

All (I think) of the communities which are appealing the STB ruling to the Appeals Court have mainline BNSF, UP, NS, CSX rail traffic with up to 70 freight trains/day. If your elected officials have not provided their employees/Emergency Responders with HazMat training when they have this amount of train traffic--your elected officials (not CN) have been negligent. You can hardly fault CN for not providing training/cameras when they haven't even diverted any additional train traffic.

Or, do you just want to complain?

beagle
beagle

Canada

#34 Mar 6, 2009
Jeff Mangano wrote:
. CN has not implemented the required noise and vibration measures to insulate residents from the 300 to 400 percent increase in freight traffic.
Jeff

Please list the communities will have the 300 to 400 percent increase in freight traffic.

beagle
beagle

Canada

#35 Mar 6, 2009
Jeff

Alternatively, please list any community that will experience a 300 to 400 percent increase in freight traffic.

beagle
Dave

Western Springs, IL

#36 Mar 7, 2009
Jeff, we have 300 percent more trains NOW then CN will ever run on the EJ&E route. We are doing OK. I can not recall any buildings falling down from train vibration. Way back, I do recall a small fire in a big warehouse being spotted and reported by a passing freight train in the middle of the night. The fire dept. credited the report as saving the building and contents.
My GGGeneration

Addison, IL

#37 Mar 7, 2009
Jeff.... you're really Karen Darch using a fake name, right?

Rainmaker... my point about children is only to the degree that it's your job to keep them safe... period. Railroad property, a highway, sidestreet.. whatever... they are not places for your kids to play in, on, or around. Simple.

You guys want to cite quotes and convoluted stats to back your ridiculous claims and then when everyone else, mainly those who are really in the know like NAR and BEAGLE and some others (forgive me if I am forgetting you) supply the real numbers, all of a sudden you don't want anyone to consider those. HUH???? So using your logic, we should just consider your side only, right? Ridiculous.

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