CN completes Chicago-area rail connection

by Array

CHICAGO: CN has wrapped up construction of a rail connection in Griffith, Indiana. The company said the new link provides an “efficient, direct route” between Kirk Yard in Gary, Indiana and eastern points on its rail network.

Three trains operate each day over the new connection, which links CN’s South Bend Subdivision with the Matteson Subdivision leading to Kirk Yard.

The $5-million project is part of the integration of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E)—a C-shaped section of track running around Chicago into northwest Indiana—which CN bought in 2009 for US$300 million.

The deal produced controversy, with communities along the EJ&E concerned about the acquisition’s potential environmental impacts, traffic delays at crossings, noise and other possible effects. CN has since signed mitigation agreements with 26 of the 33 communities along the EJ&E.

The railroad plans to spend over $100 million in infrastructure improvements to integrate the EJ&E into its other Chicago-area lines.

The investment includes building several new rail connections near Chicago, including in Mundelein, Bartlett, Joliet and Matteson, Illinois. Engineering or construction work is now underway on several of the connection projects.

“CN is pleased to have reached this milestone and finished the first major EJ&E connection project,” said Jim Vena, CN senior vice-president, southern region. “This connection is a significant step toward our goal of fully utilizing the EJ&E.”

CN began the Griffith connection in late 2009 and finished the project November 19, 2010.