Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Local Action on the CN buying the EJ&E

It would appear that the cities of Aurora, Naperville and Plainfield are putting together a untied front to try and stop the sale.

I got a postcard from the city today about a meeting on the 23rd and they have set up an electronic sign on the corner of Ogden and Montgomery encouraging people to 'Get Involved' on the issue.

I have a few questions I suspect they will not be addressing are...

A) If the sale happens will the land the railroad resides on get re-assessed? I am assuming that as a landowner the railroad pays real estate taxes.

B) Is the tripling of rail traffic they are talking about in terms of trains, railcars or both and what are the new numbers for the line in Aurora then ( if you go from 3 to 9 trains it isn't as bad)...

C) The suburban commuter line that was/is going to use those same tracks, the one that we all wanted, how much rail traffic will that end up adding?

Having grown up in a town with a lot of rail (Dolton) and knowing that track has been there a really long time I am having a hard time swallowing the NIMBY arguments. The noise isn't really a problem where I live but I can understand the annoyance of getting caught behind the gates on Ogden.

The stuff on the issue from the City of Aurora is here. Interesting that they list the overpasses and underpasses of the track as being 'impacted' .

OneMan

4 comments:

Maggie Q. said...

One Man:

Here is my problem. These at grade railroad crossings have been here all my life 50+ years and the townhomes weren't. The problem with Aurora is that there is no vision. There is no leadership that said "hmmmm, if we build hundreds of townhomes; increase the population; you think we might need to address these at grade crossings?"

In Wheaton, on County Farm Road, that City has put in an above grade crossing; but Aurora is just crying because they are behind the eight ball.

The sale will go through; and instead of trying to find a solution the City is fighting something that is ultimately going to happen instead of fighting for a solution for everyone. I think these "feel good" meetings are a waste of time and energy and my tax dollars.

The STAR line will be dead if this deal goes through; by the way.

Anonymous said...

I WORK FOR THE EJ&E AND KNOW FIRST HAND THAT MORE TRAINS WILL CREATE MORE PROBLEMS, ONE SMALL HICK-UP CAN AND DOES CREATE SERIOUS BACK-UPS AND DELAYS. MAYBE ALL THOSE IN FAVOR BETTER THINK TWICE BEFORE THEY SUPPORT SOMETHING THEY HAVE LITTLE FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF OR ASK SOMEONE WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND DON’T TAKE CN’S WORD FOR IT. DO SOME RESEARCH THE CN’S NUMBERS DON’T JIVE. THE EJ&E IS VERY PROFITABLE WITH THE FEW TRAINS IT DOES RUN AND MAKE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR, THE EJ&E WAS THOUGHT TO BE WORTH OVER 1 BILLION. SO WHY WOULD U.S. STEEL SELL IT SO CHEAP? THIS SALE WILL HURT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY IN THE LONG RUN, NOT TO METION THE SAFTEY OF THE COMMUNITIES THESE TRAINS WILL BE RUNNING THROUGHT, I WOULD HATE TO BE THE ONE TO SAY I TOLD YOU SO IN A FEW MONTHS OR A COUPLE YEARS.

GRB said...

I too worked for the EJ&E. As far as the J making "hundreds of millions of dollars a year", well that is a farce. Yes, the J is profitable, but not to that extent. As far as One Man is concerned, I believe that his reasoning is somewhat misleading. The american economy will hurt in the long run? Come on people. This transaction will benefit the economy. More jobs; greater spending by the railroad and the payment of more taxes to the communities. And the J being worth "over a billion dollars"? Yes, it does go around, not thru Chicago, and yes, it does make money for USS. The sale of the J is a business decision by USS and fully supported by it's shareholders. USS makes steel, period. Who are we to tell a business what they can or cannot do or who they can or cannot sell to. This is America.

Once again, what came first? The chicken or the egg? "Anonymous" stated that the safety of the communities was at stake. The J and the CN are both extremely safety concious. Safety also lies with the motoring public. If a mototist disregards the crossing warning devices and delibertly goes around the gates and gets hurt or dies, thats his fault. Not the fault of the railroad. Too many people are lawsuit happy. Such ignorance only brings contempt.

Support the purchase. It's good business and it's good for America. After all, jobs are number one to us all.

John said...

I've lived in the village of Barrington for 25 years and for 17 years have been on the board of directors of the Barrington area's oldest, largest, best-known and most active environmental organization.

Citizens For Conservation, Inc., is all about saving open space and restoring native habitat (prairies, wetlands, savanna, etc.). It owns and manages several hundred acres of preserves and manage other special sites for the Village of Barrington and both the Cook County and Lake County Forest Preserve Districts.

There are good reasons why this organization has not jumped into the fray against the CN/EJ&E deal.

At a Board meeting two months ago, enough directors felt that 15 or 20 more trains a day, running 30 or 40 mph, would have very little impact on wildlife or native vegetation, even in nearby Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve, which is bisected by the EJ&E and is home to acres of rare black soil oak savanna. Certainly the trains' impact on birds, deer and other wildlife is nothing compared with that of the thousands of cars and trucks zipping around daily.

And enough directors felt it'd be hypocritical for CFC, an environmental organization, to come out against something that would help reduce air pollution and diesel fuel wastage (from idling locomotives on congested tracks).

The real environmental damage -- and it was considerable -- occurred when the EJ&E was constructed 120 years ago and in subsequent decades when herbiciding and other bad practices weren't reined in. All railroads share that history.

So, despite some pressure from Barrington-area officials and pleas from some directors opposed to the CN deal, the CFC Board declined to even bring the matter to a vote.

While local "nimby" opponents hope for some mitigating concessions (an underpass or two, perhaps) from CN to alleviate their anticipated inconveniences, conservationists ought to try working with CN toward improvement of natural areas along the track.

From all the outrage, one would think rail traffic is something new to Barrington. But the UP/Metra Northwest line, which slices through the heart of the congested village, sees from 70 to 75 train movements every weekday: 63 Metra trains and eight to 12 freight movements.

And, lest one think village leaders are doing all they can to reduce traffic congestion, be aware that the village is putting a second deck on the sprawling Metra parking area in the middle of town to expand its capacity instead of going with two or three satellite lots ringing the village.