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Plainfield officials sense hope in CN’s commitment to expedite project

Relocation of hotbox sensor leads to elimination of train stoppages at village crossings

PLAINFIELD – Village officials are saying that Canadian National is stepping up its urgency in addressing issues with grade crossings and train stoppages.

After a question about the unfinished pedestrian grade crossing with the EJ&E railroad at 135th Street, Director of Public Works Allen Persons told residents at the monthly Coffee with the Mayor meeting Wednesday morning that Canadian National, or CN, is fast-tracking its remaining work on the crossing.

Persons suggested a Herald-News story written after last month’s Coffee with the Mayor meeting that mentioned the village’s frustration with CN urged the rail company to speed up its process.

“I was called promptly by Canadian National the following day or the same day the article came out and they said they are now expediting the process,” Persons said.

The village has long since completed its portion of work on the grade crossing. But it’s still not accessible because the part CN was required to complete has yet to pass the engineering phase.

The village also is seeing the effects of CN moving its hotbox wheel detector southeast from near Lockport Street to Renwick Road. The detector caused sometimes hourlong delays along many of the 17 grade crossings in the village at the same time.

Since the relocation, Plainfield has seen no train delays due to the hotbox issue, Police Chief John Konopek said.

“It appears the movement of the hotbox has solved the problem,” Konopek said.


One resident asked village officials about how use of drones, or unmanned aircraft often used as a hobby, is regulated in Plainfield.

Konopek said the police department is researching laws related to flying drones and the potential drones have in emergency response. Also, the village’s proximity to the Joliet Regional Airport, Lewis University Airport and other smaller airports already make much of Plainfield a no-drone zone.

Federal regulations prohibit flying drones within 5 miles of an airport unless first notifying the airport and control tower and getting permission to do so.

“We are not planning any ordinance on drones right now,” Konopek said, adding that the village isn’t going to be actively looking for people flying drones unless they’re interfering with emergency operations, causing a hazard, or being “a jack wagon” with the drone.

Representatives from other organizations in Plainfield made announcements at the meeting:

• The Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting the public to an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at 24109 W. Lockport St.

• Plainfield Township Fire District officials urges residents to “adopt a hydrant” and keep a 3-foot area around it clear of snow. Also, tell children to stay away from frozen ponds or follow pets out to frozen ponds.

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