Debate Over Railway Plan Chugs Along

April 11, 2008

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Slow-moving trains can be a pain for drivers and for railroad companies. One operator has a plan to speed things up, but the idea has its critics.

Chicago's a railway hub—maybe too much of one, actually. Canadian National Railway sends trains through Chicago and nearby suburbs, but they practically crawl along.

Its plan to speed things up? Buy track from another railroad that runs a circle around Chicago. That could double train traffic to far-flung towns like Frankfort in the South Suburbs.

Mayor Jim Holland says Frankfort contends with enough trains.

HOLLAND: All that we're doing is going from what is an extremely congested area to a very congested area. That's not the answer. Let's take it out to where there is no congestion.

And by that, Holland means building new track in the countryside. Canadian National has not warmed up to the idea.

The federal government has final say about whether the local railway buyout can go through. It might take several years to decide.

I'm Shawn Allee, Chicago Public Radio.