Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Amtrack Reaches Deal with Canadian National Railroad

Unless you follow this closely, it might be new news to you. Essentially through some proposed acquisitions, Canadian National Railroad Co. (CN) will become the owner and operator of a wide variety of tracks throughout the Chicagoland area (including many of the tracks that enter the city through the South Loop).

The purpose of these acquisitions was so that CN could avoid the bottleneck of train tracks that occurs within and around the city. With these new moves, CN now has the ability to use newly acquired tracks, which will enable the rerouting of trains to avoid the city. This in turn will help improve efficiencies in regards to time, costs and labor.

Their are many obstacles that have arose from a variety of parties interested in these acquisitions. One of them seems to be resolved according to this recent article in Chicago Business. CN and Amtrack have come to terms in regards to the passenger trains that enter the city from the south (specifically along the lake and ones entering into Union Station). Which is good news for the city and it's residents.

The main opponent of these plans seems to be coming from the wealthy suburbs (mainly Barrington). Since the plan calls for cargo trains to avoid the City of Chicago, as a result many suburbs will get more train traffic. As you can imagine, these powerful and rich suburbs aren't happy and are citing a variety of reasons as to why this shouldn't happen. It sounds like it's mostly just an inconvenience to them from what we've read (like waiting at train crossings in their Hummers for 5 minutes).

The one plausible point they make is that emergency vehicles could be stuck at a train crossing which could prevent them from getting to their destinations in a timely manner. Although this sounds like a reasonable gripe, something tells me there are alternative routes and bridges that could resolve this issue.

For South Loop residents, these developments are good. Essentially all cargo trains will avoid the city. Besides our benefit, it sounds as if it would also be great for the country and city in terms of GDP.

No comments: