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BG's support of rail merger shortsighted
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 9/29/2008 12:13 AM

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Contrary to what its trustees assert, Buffalo Grove does not have a problem with Canadian National rail congestion in its town, nor does it lack adequate Metra commuter service.

CN's line, built over 50 years before Buffalo Grove was established, runs along the community's extreme eastern border. Lake-Cook Road, the only highway that runs through Buffalo Grove's business district and also crosses the railroad, does so over a mile away on a six-lane overhead bridge. Its schools, medical facilities, emergency services, and 99 percent of its homes are all located west of the railroad. There is relatively no congestion in Buffalo Grove created by the CN Railroad.

Union Pacific operates 70 commuter trains and over 50 freight trains a day on its West Line between Chicago and Geneva. On a similarly designed double- and triple-track railroad, CN operates less than half that number of commuter and freight trains on its North Central Line. When the need becomes evident and the equipment is available, Metra can add trains and continue to handle its commuter operations to the Buffalo Grove area along with CN freight trains on the NC line.

Planners have long sought use of the EJ&E line for future commuter operations. It would be a travesty to close the door on this opportunity to connect all Metra and Amtrak lines. Commuter service on the EJ&E would relieve highway congestion in the collar counties and benefit the entire Chicago area. However, it would be prohibitively expensive to construct the additions necessary to accommodate a joint operation with CN freight traffic.

Misguided Buffalo Grove trustees passed a resolution this week to favor a foreign-based, international carrier taking over a local-serving, terminal railroad. Unaffected itself by CN, it did this to the detriment of all the communities in the collar counties.

Richard McDonald