Durbin Meets with Canadian National CEO to Discuss Mitigation and Amtrak On Time Performance

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin today met with the new CEO of Canadian National (CN), Claude Mongeau, to discuss the company’s mitigation efforts along the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway (EJ&E) and improving Amtrak on time performance.  On December 24, the Surface Transportation Board approved CN’s acquisition of the EJ&E Railway despite strong opposition from local communities in Illinois that will experience dramatic increases in freight traffic.

“With a historic investment in high speed rail, Amtrak is on the brink of a renaissance that requires a serious commitment from the companies which own and maintain the track where passenger trains operate,” said Durbin.  “In the past, Canadian National has signaled a willingness to work toward a better on time performance for Amtrak trains.  I am hopeful that will produce results in the near future.  Additionally, I encouraged Mr. Mongeau today to continue working with Illinois communities that will be impacted by increased freight traffic along the EJ&E.”
CN now has voluntary mitigation agreements with 21 municipalities of the 33 communities situated on the EJ&E in Illinois and Indiana.  The biggest outstanding issue stemming from the Surface Transportation Board approval of the EJ&E is the mandated grade-separations in Aurora and Lynwood which CN is challenging in court.   Senator Durbin urged CN to comply with the STB order that requires CN to pay for 67% of the grad separations in Aurora and 78% in Lynwood of the grade separations. 

One significant obstacle stands in the way of the continued success of Amtrak in Illinois -- on-time performance.  The delays not only continually make passengers late and frustrated, they also cost Amtrak money.  Durbin urged CN to help improve the on-time-performance of Amtrak lines along the CN-owned Chicago to Carbondale corridor.

With the recent announcement of $1.2 billion in Recovery Act funding to establish high speed rail in Illinois, full participation from CN is essential.  The Chicago to Joliet portion of the Illinois high speed rail corridor to St. Louis is owned and operated by CN. 
Claude Mongeau was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of CN on January 1.  He leads CN's strategic planning process and he is responsible for the overall financial management of CN, as well as the Information Technology function.  He joined CN in May 1994 and has held the positions of vice-president, Strategic and Financial Planning, and assistant vice-president Corporate Development.  In 1997, Mongeau has been named one of Canada's top 40 executives under 40 years of age by the Financial Post Magazine.