Durbin discusses rail safety with EJ&E stakeholders

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Wednesday he met with Barrington Village President Karen Darch and stakeholders of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway (EJ&E) about rail safety as crude oil transit via rail is increasing.

The number of trains passing through Illinois towns and cities has increased as much as four times along the EJ&E line since the railway was acquired by Canadian National in 2008.

“The recent derailment in Galena — and too many other towns — should send policymakers a clear signal: we need to better secure oil traveling in outdated and unsafe tank cars,” Durbin said. “Increased oil traffic through communities, especially along the EJ&E, are causing too many lengthy blockages and are increasing the likelihood of potential fiery rail accidents. It’s one of my priorities to make sure that the rules and laws governing the safety of our rail system reflect the unique circumstances and viewpoints of local Illinois communities.”

Durbin said train blockages have caused delays for 5,267 crossings during the first part of 2014. Due to these developments, the Surface Transition Board answered the call for an extension of their oversight period until Jan. 2017.

Durbin said an underpass project that would be built at the U.S. Route 14 and EJ&E railway junction to alleviate traffic due to longer trains also was discussed at the meeting. Durbin was able to secure $2.8 million in TIGER II grant funding for the project.

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