- June 2, 2021
Recently, Canadian National (CN) announced a freight train merger agreement with Kansas City Southern (KCS). This merger has raised concerns among those living in the suburbs across Chicago and beyond, including in Elgin and Arlington Heights. Read more for details on the merger and how it may affect suburban traffic.
A Background on Canadian National
In 2009, railway giant Canadian National acquired the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (EJ&E) railway. Since then, there has been increased rail traffic in the greater Chicagoland area since more trains were put on the tracks. Many citizens and mayors in the Chicago area have expressed concerns that this issue will be exacerbated by the KCS merger, which is a major freight carrier that extends all the way into Mexico.
The EJ&E connects the former Wisconsin Central, Illinois Central, and Grand Trunk Western lines and creates the only single-line route around North America’s extremely congested rail hub. As a direct result of this, the average number of trains running through northwest Chicago has increased. The new merger agreement is expected to further increase rail traffic among the suburbs northwest of Chicago. There are also concerns about the impact the merger might have on the Amtrak passenger train service and on Metra commuter operations.
What This Change Means for Chicago Suburbs
In the suburbs of northwest Chicago that already deal with highly congested, heavy freight rail traffic, the merger has the potential to negatively impact the area’s communities, passenger rail, and the broader public. CN claims that the EJ&E railway will avoid the core of the Chicago metro area and go around it, but this will still impact suburban communities from Arlington Heights all the way up to Elgin.
CN argues that this plan will move freight more efficiently, and that the union between CN and KCS will stifle competition. The merger could also give CN a huge say over shipping costs in the area as well, since the company would control a large portion of the area’s railway if the merger does go through. For more information on how these changes could impact citizens in the area, reach out to the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd.