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Freight Plan Foes Try to Make Their Case

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Opponents of a plan to run more trains through several Chicago suburbs tried to make their case to the railway’s shareholders today. But the message didn’t get through. Chicago Public Radio’s Chip Mitchell reports.

Canadian National Railway wants to buy most of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. And it wants to reroute as many as two dozen trains a day through suburbs on an arc from Waukegan to Gary, Indiana.

CN, as the Montreal-based railway is known, held its annual meeting in downtown Chicago today. CEO Hunter Harrison said the plan will help relieve freight congestion in the city. And he said CN would pitch in $140 million for improvements along the suburban line.

Village of Barrington President Karen Darch says that’s a small fraction of what’s needed.

DARCH: It’s certainly not appropriate that CN would come and expect the American taxpayers or the Illinois taxpayers or our communities to pick up the tab.

Darch leads a coalition that tried to deliver a letter of protest to the shareholders. But security guards got in the way, and the meeting went without a hitch.

The purchase needs federal government approval.

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