A peaceful suburb wanting to preserve its tranquility is pitted against a large rail company attempting to lessen freight congestion around Chicago by running its trains through it and other suburbs on an existing rail line it hopes to purchase.
"One of North America's largest railroads recently announced plans to more than quadruple the number of freight trains rumbling daily through an upscale Chicago suburb.
Canadian National Railway Co., a Montreal-based company that wants to buy the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway line running through Barrington, ILL and some 30 other suburbs, says diverting trains to that line will help avoid congestion.
"When the network's clogged in Chicago, it gums up the system overall," CN executive Karen Phillips said. [See related Planetizen link].
However, Barrington's mayor has made clear her community's adamant opposition to CN's expansion plans.
"The number of trains would jump from just a few to about 20 a day, with some stretching more than a mile and blocking every through road in this 140-year-old village of 10,000 people.
CN officials aren't happy with what they call the not-in-my-backyard attitude. What frightens opponents most is that the number of CN trains could rise over the years to more than 30 or 40 every day.
"There should be a way not to impact these communities like this," Mayor Karen Darch said. "To have 20 or maybe 40 trains going through here - it's a lifestyle issue. People came here for this town, for the surrounding nature, not for trains."
Disputes are likely to become more common as railroads look to improve the flow of freight trains, especially through and around cities like Chicago - a vital but increasingly clogged hub in the nation's rail network.
Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News