Mediation fails to settle CN-CP Chicago interchange dispute

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WASHINGTON — Canadian National and Canadian Pacific have asked federal regulators to step in after they failed to settle their Chicago interchange dispute through a mediation period that ended on Thursday.

In a July 3 letter to the Surface Transportation Board, CP requested a preliminary injunction that would order CN to maintain the interchange at Spaulding in Bartlett, Ill., until the railroads could settle their dispute.

In a July 12 letter notifying regulators that mediation was unsuccessful, CN asked the board to establish an interim agreement that shifts interchange to the Belt Railway of Chicago’s Clearing Yard.

CN also asked the board to set a schedule for proceedings where the railroads could present evidence that could help regulators determine which railroad will have to pay BRC for interchange-related switching fees.

CN and CP began discussing an interchange move last year. Talks failed, however, and CN aimed to cancel the current interchange agreement on May 11, then move the interchange from Spaulding, not far from CP’s Bensenville Yard, to CN’s Kirk Yard in Gary, Ind.

CP objected, and the board ordered the railways to maintain the Spaulding interchange while the dispute headed to mediation.

CN says interchanging with CP at Spaulding ties up its increasingly busy single-track main line and blocks area grade crossings. Moving the interchange, CN says, would reduce delays to the average of two dozen trains per day that operate over its Chicago-Winnipeg, Manitoba, main.

In a July 12 email to CP, CN proposed shifting the interchange to Clearing and said it would accept the terms CP established in a May 6 letter to the STB: CN will pick up the switching fees for cars it delivers to Clearing while regulators sort out who should ultimately pay the tab.

The railroads exchange about 83 cars per day in Chicago.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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