Slow train blocks Hawthorn Woods crossing for hours

Updated 11/14/2017 3:54 PM

A Canadian National Railway freight train blocked a Hawthorn Woods railroad crossing for several hours Monday night, causing traffic backups during the evening rush hour.

Hawthorn Woods police received complaints about the train starting about 4:45 p.m. Initially it appeared a Canadian National gate at the Old McHenry Road crossing was stuck in the down position, but actually a freight train was movingly slowly through the area, Hawthorn Woods police Sgt. John Tennant said.

The train eventually stopped, blocking the crossing.

The crossing is between Quentin and Midlothian roads, which are busy commuter arteries in central Lake County.

Hawthorn Woods police did what they could to help redirect traffic, Tennant said, but the situation resulted in long lines of immobile motorists.

A replacement Canadian National crew arrived on the scene about 7 p.m. and got the train moving again. The crossing reopened about 7:30 p.m.

The train may have slowed and stopped because of railroad traffic further down the line, police said. At that time of day, Metra trains are occupying track space, too.

Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said the company works hard every day to keep the trains moving "without blocking crossings and interrupting commuter trains."

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