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I imagine we'll all have to suffer the "I told you so" posts on the rail forums, from all the self proclaimed experts that said this was coming.If you say something will happen enough times, I guess it will come true eventually. Steel believe that if the application is approved by the STB as filed, it should allow closing in mid-2008.The acquisition, which will be financed with debt and cash-on-hand, is expected to be slightly accretive to CN's diluted earnings per share in the first year following STB approval.The combination of the two rail networks is straightforward and will allow EJ&E's existing traffic to be moved more efficiently and at lower cost.
Finally, the Board's decision also requires applicants to comply with mandatory labor protection, with their extensive voluntary environmental mitigation, and with the negotiated agreements that they have entered into with Amtrak and communities in Illinois and Indiana containing tailored mitigation that applicants have agreed to provide.
I am pleased that the Board agreed, in a bipartisan and unanimous manner, after an unprecedented public involvement process, to grant the relief that this merger will provide to the many Chicago neighborhoods that have been disproportionately burdened for many decades with severe rail traffic-related roadway congestion." In reaching its decision, the Board considered both the transportation-related aspects of the transaction and the potential environmental impacts.
In considering the transportation aspects, the Board found that the transaction will not result in a substantial lessening of competition, the creation of a monopoly, or a restraint of trade in freight surface transportation in any region of the United States.
There are no shippers served only by CN and EJ&E (2-to-1 shippers) who will lose direct rail competition as a result of the acquisition, nor will there be any other adverse impacts on competition. Mike Janke surprised EJ&E fans when he photographed the J's SW1001 #446 sitting outside WSOR's Horicon paint shop, in this all new yellow and red scheme. It had worked on the EJ&E in the old LT paint scheme for a number of years.
As in past transactions, CN is committed to keeping gateways open and honoring trackage rights agreements with all connecting carriers. Trafton, CN's Senior Vice-President, Southern Region, said: "This acquisition will bring EJ&E's experienced railroaders into the CN family and will bridge what has been the missing link to connect the Eastern, Western, and Southern regions of CN's network. The unit was recently refurbished by the EJ&E shops, and Edward Weisensel had also photographed #446 as it arrived to Horicon for paint.
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I'm sure we'll all hold out hope for a miracle, but past history shows us that the miracle rarely comes. EJ&E, a Class II railroad, operates over 198 main line miles of track encircling the City of Chicago from Waukegan, Ill., on the north, to Joliet, Ill., on the west, to Gary, Ind., on the southeast, and then to South Chicago. Hunter Harrison said: "This acquisition is good news for railroading in Chicago.