US Army Corps of Engineers

Railroad Tracks Planned From Elgin to Hoffman Estates Rattles Neighbors

Outrage is mounting in the northwest suburbs over a proposed railroad expansion.

People living along one set of Canadian National trains tracks are upset hearing that a railroad wants to build a second set closer to their homes. The second set of tracks would run for four miles between Hoffman Estates and Elgin. Neighbors who live there told NBC 5 they have major safety concerns.

Fifteen to 20 times a day, people living in Hoffman Estates say they see trains travel these tracks.

The tracks butt up to Tammy Bruno’s backyard pool on Mallard Lane.

"It’s a huge safety issue because of the toxic chemicals that they carry," she said.

That’s why Bruno and her neighbors were devastated to receive this letter about the railroad’s plans to expand.

Kathy Neary also lives along the tracks.

"I threw it away I thought it was junk mail until my neighbor called me," Neary said.

The letter from the Army Corps of Engineers spells out the railroad’s request to build a second set of tracks in it's right of way. For a 4.27 mile stretch from shoe factory road to Spaulding Road.

But instead of expanding to the east where there’s a forest preserve, the railroad is proposing putting the new tracks on the west side. Alain Breillatt is another community member that would be impacted by the tracks.

"It brings us yet another 20-30 feet closer to our homes and we’re less than 200 feet away from the tracks as it is, the way the homes are situated and as you’ll see some are much closer than that," Breillatt said.

For construction to start on the second set of tracks, the railroad needs a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers because of wetlands and several creeks in the area.

“I hope their permit is denied and myself and a lot of neighbors are opposing this,” Neary said.

The corps is giving neighbors, like Margaret Lortie, until March 29 to send in their concerns possibly triggering a public hearing.

"I would like a forum so we can express our views and our concerns so that everything is on the table when these decisions are being made," Lortie said.

The Army Corps of Engineers says neighbors should send in any complaints they have, not just environmental concerns, because that could trigger a public interest review as well.

A spokesperson for Canadian National Railroad told NBC 5 “they will work with the community regarding their construction concerns.”

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