Barrington Hills reaches agreement with CN

Canadian National Railway Co. has agreed to spend money in Barrington Hills, putting cameras at railroad crossings and doing engineering work at a dam at Flint Creek, among other projects.

Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud said Wednesday he doesn't think the agreement with CN will affect the continuing efforts of Barrington and nearby towns to fight the CN's purchase of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad, which is bringing increased freight rail traffic through the region.

"They never put our name on the TRAC website," Abboud said. "I don't know how much TRAC is really going to miss us."

TRAC, or The Regional Answer to Canadian National, is a group of communities that opposed the purchase on the grounds that increased rail traffic will harm them.

In Barrington Hills, Abboud said talks with CN began months ago and took place in public sessions. Besides the cameras and Flint Creek work, CN will use an environmentally-friendly lubricant on the tracks to reduce friction, which will also reduce noise.

While Abboud said a dollar amount wasn't included in the contract, he said the work at Flint Creek would reach the six-figure territory.

"I'm pretty satisfied in the way that CN has been working with the village, we really have not had any problems," Abboud said.

The agreement with Barrington Hills means CN now has mitigation agreements with 22 of the 33 towns in Illinois and Indiana along the EJ&E, which in effect silences 22 of their potential critics. The federal Surface Transportation Board approved the CN's purchase of the EJ&E in 2008.

Barrington Village President Karen Darch leads TRAC, which is continuing to protest and has asked the STB for another environmental review.

Darch said Wednesday that Barrington Hills' issues with CN differ from Barrington's. All of the EJ&E crossings in Barrington are at grade, which leads to larger traffic delays, she said.

"The decisions that they made (in Barrington Hills) doesn't really impact any other efforts that TRAC or the village continues to make," she said.

Darch said TRAC will remain opposed to the purchase, working ultimately toward the STB reversing their decision.