Below are mentions of Barrington, Illinois, in the Surface Transportation Board’s decision to allow Canadian National to buy the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway.
While Barrington is not in McHenry County, lots of folks use Route 14 to commute to and from the area. I can find nothing that would encourage people to use Route 14 after Canadian National starts running its freight trains on the EJ&E.
There is also nothing in the way of improvements that are required for the Route 59 commuter route.
Barrington residents did win the whistle blowing fight. Its current “quiet zones” will continue, as I read the document from which the excerpted below.
STB Finance Docket No. 350871
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY AND GRAND TRUNK
CORPORATION—CONTROL—EJ&E WEST COMPANY
Decision No. 16
Decided: December 24, 2008
The Board approves, with certain conditions, the acquisition of control by Canadian National Railway Company and Grand Trunk Corporation of EJ&E West Company, a wholly owned, noncarrier subsidiary of Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company.
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(1) at West Chicago, IL Interlocking, where Metra trains operating over UP’s West Line (UP-W Line) cross EJ&E; and
(2) at the Barrington, IL
Interlocking, where Metra commuter trains operating over UP’s Northwest Line (UP-NW line) cross EJ&E. These trains are operated by UP pursuant to a Purchase of Service Agreement with Metra. Metra states that it seeks to upgrade the UP-W Line service.
EJ&E controls the interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington. Metra states that EJ&E has been vigilant in minimizing freight train interference with Metra commuter trains at those locations. Metra asserts that the potential increase in EJ&E freight traffic, as well as the substantial increase in train lengths, could threaten efficient commuter rail operations crossing this line. Moreover, Metra asserts that any delays to UP freight trains crossing the interlockings could result in dire consequences to Metra’s commuter rail service, as both lines rely upon intense coordination between commuter and freight train traffic.
Accordingly, Metra requests that approval of the proposed transaction be conditioned on the control of the West Chicago and Barrington interlockings being transferred from EJ&E to Metra as of the date of consummation of CN’s control of EJ&E. In the event that control of those interlockings is not transferred to Metra, Metra states that the following alternative conditions are required:
(1) CN shall cause EJ&E dispatchers in control of the interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington to impose a curfew for freight train operation over those interlockings during peak periods of Metra’s commuter operations;
(2) CN shall cause EJ&EW dispatchers in control of the interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington to give priority to Metra commuter trains over EJ&EW freight trains at those interlockings during all non-peak hours and avoid any undue interference with the commuter service; and
(3) CN shall cause EJ&EW dispatchers in control of the interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington to take due account of UP freight traffic in protecting Metra commuter trains at those crossings.
CN strongly opposes these proposed conditions and asserts that adequate capacity exists for Metra trains and that any additional and longer trains will not be running over and sharing UP lines, but merely cross the same diamonds as UP lines.
Metra’s Requested Reporting Condition. Lastly, Metra requests that CN cause EJ&EW to report to the Board regarding the effect of the foregoing conditions on delay of Metra commuter trains at West Chicago and Barrington. The reports sought by Metra would be filed at 6-month intervals for a period of 10 years, beginning 6 months after the date of consummation of CN control of EJ&E. Metra would have the right to reply to any such report. Metra would have the Board expressly retain jurisdiction over the subject matter of the conditions during that 10-year period to take any action that might be required in the public interest.
The Board will not impose Metra’s requested conditions concerning the STAR line, the Southeast Service line, or the West Chicago and Barrington interlockings, because they are unrelated to the competitive effects of the proposed transaction. Several of the issues that Metra raises are typically dealt with through negotiations and contracts between railroads. Metra has offered no reasons why the combined CN/EJ&E would be less inclined to negotiate than EJ&E.
The Board encourages Metra and CN to negotiate reasonable commercial agreements concerning the STAR line, the issues surrounding the introduction of the Southeast Service through Chicago Heights interlocking, and the interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington.
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Page 23 – The Board further notes that many of the concerns surrounding the proposed STAR line and Southeast Service have been addressed in the EIS prepared by SEA.41 As a voluntary mitigation measure, applicants state that they will operate the West Chicago and BarringtonInterlockings according to the current agreements under which EJ&E operates, which require EJ&E to give priority to passenger trains over either UP or EJ&E freight trains. Applicants also commit to working with Metra to explore all options for service on the proposed STAR Line, including use of the EJ&E rail line. The timing and implementation of the STAR Line service remain subject to numerous variables, including securing government funding, but applicants are committed to continuing discussions with Metra on the STAR line. Lastly, applicants commit to complying with any written and executed curfew agreements that are now in effect regarding operations affecting passenger or commuter train service.
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Page 39 – In addition, there is mitigation requiring applicants to install a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system with video cameras to facilitate emergency service response at seven locations in Illinois and Indiana. 84 The Board’s mitigation also includes noise and vibration mitigation, including assisting Barrington to maintain its existing quiet zone85 and vibration mitigation for Fermilab in Batavia, IL. Mitigation related to school and pedestrian safety, including mitigation requiring appropriate fencing, also is imposed. Other conditions address the potential effects of the transaction-related construction activities. There also will be a 5-year environmental reporting and monitoring period condition requiring applicants to file quarterly reports on their progress in implementing the Board’s mitigation conditions and also to notify the Board if applicants substantially depart from their traffic projections on the five existing CN lines through Chicago on more than a short-term, temporary basis. This monitoring and reporting condition will allow the Board to take appropriate action if there is a material change in the facts or circumstances upon which we relied in imposing specific environmental mitigation.
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Page 43, Footnote 95 – In its updated analysis, SEA used the same three criteria thresholds to determine if highway/rail at-grade crossings would be substantially affected:
(1) crossing LOS,
(2) effects on queue length, and
(3) cumulative delay for
all vehicles delayed at a crossing in a 24-hour period.In some cases, SEA has found it adequate to use only LOS, which determines the effects of a proposed transaction at a single point along a roadway at the affected crossing. Crossing LOS, however, does not take into account the effects of a proposal on mobility in a community or region. There are many locations along the EJ&E line where roadways are important to regional mobility, such as Hough Street (IL 59) in Barrington, IL, an important commuter route in the region. Therefore, SEA used queue length and total vehicle delay, in addition to LOS, to fully understand the effects of the transaction on mobility. See Final EIS at 4-7 to 4-8.
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Page 44, Footnote 97 – The eight crossings needing some form of mitigation are: Old McHenry Road, Hawthorn Woods; Main Street, Lake Zurich; Hough Street, Barrington; Ogden Avenue, Aurora; Plainfield-Naperville Road, Plainfield; Woodruff Road, Joliet; Washington Street, Joliet; and Lincoln Highway, Lynwood. The five crossings not needing mitigation are: Diamond Lake Road, Mundelein; Montgomery Road/83rd Street, Aurora; Western Avenue, Park Forest; Chicago Road, Chicago Heights; and Broad Street, Griffith. See Final EIS, Figure 2.5-1, at 2-34. A thorough discussion of why the Board is excluding five of the substantially affected crossings from any mitigation can be found in section 2.5 of the Final EIS.
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Page 45 – The Board will also impose mitigation requiring traffic advisory signs for four of the other substantially affected at-grade crossings to alleviate the potential to block an adjacent intersection because of increased queue length.
Footnote 100 – While numerous commenters requested grade separations at other substantially affected crossings, or questioned how effective traffic advisory signs could be, we agree with SEA’s analysis in the Final EIS explaining why a grade separation (or other mitigation such as requests to place the EJ&E line in a trench in Barrington) would not be practical or warranted at those crossings.101 See Final EIS at 4-12, 4-14, 4-18, and 4-22. No mitigation related to roadway modifications (including closures) will be imposed, but as SEA explained (Final EIS at 4-16), where, as in Barrington, IL, roadway modifications could improve conditions, nothing in this decision prevents the community from negotiating with the applicants for roadway modifications.
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Page 45, Footnote 101 – The Board will also impose mitigation requiring traffic advisory signs for four of the other substantially affected at-grade crossings to alleviate the potential to block an adjacent intersection because of increased queue length.100 While numerous commenters requested grade separations at other substantially affected crossings, or questioned how effective traffic advisory signs could be, we agree with SEA’s analysis in the Final EIS explaining why a grade separation (or other mitigation such as requests to place the EJ&E line in a trench in Barrington) would not be practical or warranted at those crossings.101 See Final EIS at 4-12, 4-14, 4-18, and 4-22. No mitigation related to roadway modifications (including closures) will be imposed, but as SEA explained (Final EIS at 4-16), where, as in Barrington, IL, roadway modifications could improve conditions, nothing in this decision prevents the community from negotiating with the applicants for roadway modifications.
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Page 49 – Noise and Vibration. As explained in the Final EIS, applicants have proposed voluntary noise mitigation that would result in meaningful and appropriate noise reduction (see VM-3 through VM-5 and VM-77 through VM-83), which include constructing noise control devices such as noise barriers, installing vegetation or berms, or installing enhanced warning devices to allow communities to achieve quiet zone requirements. Also, the Board has imposed additional noise mitigation that requires applicants to consult with affected communities to identify locations where wheel squeal is considered a nuisance. The Board is also imposing a quiet zone condition for Barrington, noise mitigation for transaction-related construction activities, and vibration mitigation for Fermilab. Thus, the concerns raised about noise and vibration have been appropriately addressed.
Page 51 – Biological Resources. The Board’s mitigation requires applicants to designate a local resource agency liaison to work closely with Federal, state, and local natural and water resource agencies, for 5 years from the effective date of the Board’s final decision to ensure that adaptive management strategies are developed to protect the area’s threatened and endangered species habitat and sensitive ecological resources, such as Cuba marsh and the Lake Renwick heron rookery, near Barrington. See conditions 29-33. In particular, the Board’s mitigation requires applicants to work with relevant natural resource stakeholder groups, forest preserve districts, and Federal and state agencies, including USFWS, to establish, and fund for a 5-year period following this decision, appropriate monitoring programs to identify baseline conditions and post-transaction conditions in areas adjacent to forest preserves and designated natural areas for species of concern to these groups. See condition 30.
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Page 64 – VM 38. Applicants shall operate the key interlockings at West Chicago and Barrington, Illinois, according to the current agreements under which EJ&E operates. Those agreements require EJ&E to give priority to passenger trains over either UP or EJ&E freight trains (Applicants 2008k).
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Page 75 – Quiet Zones
8) Applicants shall work with Barrington, Illinois, to determine which improvements would be necessary for the City to maintain its quiet zone designation, should the transaction cause it to fall out of compliance with FRA regulations. The existing Barrington Quiet Zone includes the highway/rail at-grade crossings at Lake/Cook Road, Otis Road, Penny Road, Old Sutton Road, Shoe Factory Road, Spaulding Road, and West Bartlett Road. For 3 years from the effective date of the Board’s final decision, Applicants shall fund reasonable improvements FRA deems necessary to maintain the existing quiet zone.
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Page 76 – 15) Applicants shall coordinate with IDOT and the appropriate counties and affected communities to develop a program to install traffic advisory signs on roadway ROW at certain public highway/rail at-grade crossings along the EJ&E rail line. These signs shall clearly advise motorists not to block intersections, and the format and lettering of these signs shall comply with FHWA’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. These signs shall be in place within a year of the effective date of the Board’s final decision, subject to the approval of the coordinating agencies, and shall be located near the following intersections:
- Old McHenry Road/Midlothian Road, Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
- Main Street/IL 22, Lake Zurich, Illinois
- Hough Street (IL 59)/Northwest Highway (US 14), Barrington, Illinois
- d.Plainfield-Naperville Road/IL 59, Plainfield, Illinois
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