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Local News

Train stays too long in Plainfield, village trustee says

A Canadian National train carrying oil was stopped Tuesday on the Illinois Riverline railway west of downtown for at least six hours with engines running and no crew.
A Canadian National train carrying oil was stopped Tuesday on the Illinois Riverline railway west of downtown for at least six hours with engines running and no crew.

PLAINFIELD – A Canadian National train transporting oil was left Tuesday unattended with engines running for several hours on the Illinois Riverline railway in Plainfield, drawing the ire of village Trustee Jim Racich.

Racich, who has been vocal in recent board meetings about the danger of trains carrying chemicals stopping near downtown, said the train stopped about 5 or 6 a.m. The cars did not block any streets.

CN officials said the train moved out of the area in the afternoon.

"What scares me is it has oil at the middle of town," said Racich, who said he spent an an hour trying to get a hold of railway officials.

Police arrived about 11 a.m. and discovered no one responding in the train.

"We contacted CN," said Police Commander Ken Ruggles while the train was still stopped. "They said the crew had hit their time limit so they stopped on their property, not blocking any streets, and another crew is arriving."

Ruggles said no village ordinances were broken when the train stopped, and that crews often leave engines running while changing shifts because its time-consuming to restart them.

CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said CN trains often stop on the Riverline track as they wait for other trains along the EJ&E railway.

"The amount of time there can vary and depends on the traffic on that primary corridor any given day," Waldron said.

Waldron said CN has talked with Plainfield officials about a variety of topics, but there is nothing unsafe or improper about trains stopping on the Riverline as long as train crossings are clear.

He also said CN has policies and practices in place for securing unattended equipment and brakes while crews change or wait for other trains.

"We're in full compliance with all the applicable laws," Waldron said.

Racich said it was dangerous to leave a train unattended at all, especially with flammable chemicals.

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