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CN Ordered To Pay For Railroad Upgrades

Railroad Crossing

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strong>AURORA, Ill. (CBS/WBBM) – Canadian National Railway has lost its latest round in court over its controversial 2008 purchase of the former Elgin, Joliet and Eastern freight railroad.

As WBBM Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports, CN purchased EJ&E in 2008 for about $300 million.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports

The latest ruling Tuesday by a federal Appeals Court says CN must pay the majority of the costs for grade separations on the EJ&E line, in Lynwood and at Ogden Avenue in Aurora.

CN says it will abide by the ruling, even though its chief executive officer says in a statement that he is disappointed.

The railroad challenged the authority of the Surface Transportation Board to attach conditions to its purchase of the EJ&E, specifically the estimated $68 million for the two new underpasses. They will now be built at the sites, which currently have grade crossings.

After CN bought the line, the railroad was already paying $60 million for other safety improvements.

The improvement seeks to divert freight traffic from being bogged down in near west, northwest and southwest suburbs. Communities along the line object to the diversion of all the freight trains.

Critics of Montreal-based CN were pleased with the ruling, with Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner calling it “a substantial win.” Weisner said the rulingsends the message that railroads may not “walk away from the harms” they might cause.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports the Illinois Department of Transportation estimates 33,000 cars pass over the grade crossing at Ogden Avenue and Frontenac Street daily, and the number is expected to jump to 38,000 by 2040.

CN has 16 trains a day running through the crossing. With the purchase of EJ&E, that number is expected to increase to 40 a day by 2015.

CN bought EJ&E, which cuts a 198-mile arc through the suburbs, as a reliever for its five lines radiating from Chicago.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)