Surface Transportation Board December 21, 2007 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Canadian National Railway Company and Grand Trunk Corporation-Control-EJ&E West Company
Document Number: E7-24835
Type: Notice
Date: 2007-12-21
Agency: Surface Transportation Board, Department of Transportation
On October 30, 2007, Canadian National Railway Corporation (CNR) and Grand Trunk Corporation (GTC), a noncarrier holding company through which CNR controls its U.S. rail subsidiaries, filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) seeking the Board's approval of the acquisition of control of EJ&E West Company (EJ&EW), a wholly owned noncarrier subsidiary of Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E). In this document, the action before the Board will be referred to as the proposal or the proposed acquisition and CNR and GTC will be referred to collectively as CN or as Applicants. CN is one of Canada's two major railroads. It extends from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. EJ&E is a Class II railroad that currently operates over 198 miles of track in northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana, consisting primarily of an arc of roughly 190 miles around Chicago, IL, extending from Waukegan, IL, southwards to Joliet, IL, then eastward to Gary, IN, and then northwest to South Chicago along Lake Michigan. EJ&E provides rail service to approximately 100 customers, including steel mills, coal utilities, plastics and chemical producers, steel processors, distribution centers, and scrap processors. Applicants' proposed acquisition of the EJ&E would shift rail traffic currently moving over CN's rail lines inside the EJ&E arc in Chicago to the EJ&E, which traverses the suburbs generally to the west and south of Chicago. Rail traffic on CNR lines inside the EJ&E arc would generally decrease. The decreases in rail traffic would be offset by increases in the number of trains operating on the EJ&E rail line outside of Chicago (approximately 15-27 more trains would operate on various segments of the EJ&E). Applicants also proposed to construct six new rail connections and approximately 19 miles of new sidings/ double tracking. Applicants give three primary reasons for seeking approval of the proposed acquisition: Improved rail operations in the Chicago area; availability to EJ&E's Kirk Yard in Gary, Indiana, and other smaller facilities in Joliet, Illinois, and Whiting, Indiana; and improved service to companies dealing in steel, chemicals, and petrochemicals, as well as Chicago area utilities. To thoroughly assess the potential environmental impacts that may result from the proposed acquisition, the Board, through its Section of Environmental Analysis (SEA), will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The purpose of this Notice is to give all interested persons the opportunity to actively participate in the forthcoming environmental review, the first step of which is ``scoping.'' Scoping is an open process for determining the range of issues that should be examined and assessed in the EIS. In addition to announcing that the Board will prepare an EIS for this proceeding, this Notice also announces the availability of a draft scope of study, requests comments on the draft scope of study, and presents the schedule of Open-House meetings to be held in the project area.
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