Canadian National, Canadian Pacific settle Chicago interchange dispute

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WASHINGTON — Canadian National and Canadian Pacific have reached an interim agreement that settles their Chicago interchange dispute while the railroads await a formal Surface Transportation Board decision on the matter.

CP informed the board of the interim agreement in a filing last week. Under the terms of the deal, CN will deliver CP-bound interchange traffic to CP’s Bensenville Yard, while CP will deliver CN-bound traffic to CN via the Belt Railway of Chicago’s Clearing Yard.

CP and CN participated in oral arguments before the board on Aug. 6 after board-ordered mediation failed to settle the dispute.

CN and CP last year began discussing moving their interchange away from Spaulding in Bartlett, Ill. 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.

CN said interchanging at Spaulding caused congestion on its increasingly busy single-track main line.

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

CN will maintain its Spaulding trackage in service pending the board’s final decision.

“CN may classify some tracks previously used for interchange as inactive for inspection or maintenance purposes, but CN will not remove any tracks pending final Board decision, and CN assumes full responsibility for restoring tracks to active service within 30 calendar days if interchange reverts to Spaulding pursuant to the interim agreement or order of the Board,” the filing says.

The railroads exchange an average of about 80 cars per day in Chicago.
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