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Company denies it's blocking Illinois rail deal

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

CHICAGO (AP) – Canadian National Railway Co. says it's willing to resume negotiations with Illinois on using its track to restore passenger service between Chicago and Dubuque, Iowa.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin accused the company of blocking the plan with unreasonable capital demands, as well as ignoring safety and congestion complaints along a major freight corridor outside Chicago.

Chief Executive Claude Mongeau wrote to Durbin Monday, saying the $235 million CN estimated was needed for track upgrades was comparable to what Illinois is spending on a similar stretch from Chicago to Rockford.

Mongeau also says CN has spent $60 million on safety and other mitigation projects along its Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway line. He says high numbers of blocked crossings were a result of the harsh winter and have improved.

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