July 30, 2008 
Nation
 
Plan To Unsnarl Chicago Rail Hits Snags In Suburbs 
by David Schaper
 

“Those trains can sit there for hours every day or all weekend long, and finally they’ll move on. And then before long, another one will be sitting there,”
Railroad companies say it takes a freight train about two days to travel from the West Coast to Chicago – but the same train sometimes needs another two days just to get through the city.

In some neighborhoods in and around Chicago, freight train gridlock essentially paralyzes traffic and severs towns. In places like Franklin Park, a suburb just west of Chicago, railroad crossings are often blocked for long periods, sometimes even hours, with trains slowly rolling through or stopped on the rails.

“I tell people going across town to cross the tracks the first chance you get,” Franklin Park Mayor Dan Pritchett said, “because you may not get another chance for a long, long time.”

And if cars cannot get across the tracks for five, 10, 15 minutes or longer, neither can Franklin Park’s emergency vehicles.

“This town is forced to have not one, not two – we have three fire stations in a town of 19,000 because of the trains,” Pritchett said.

 

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