Abels & Annes

Fewer trains blocking area roads could reduce traffic accidents, Chicago car accident laywers say

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There are fewer instances of trains blocking Chicago streets, Canadian National Railway told regulators Tuesday, but acknowledged more work needs to be done after its purchase of Chicago area-tracks from Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway.

The company said it had 11 instances of trains blocking Chicago-area streets for 10 minutes or longer in May, compared to 14 in April and 50 in March when it first acquired the tracks that arc westward around Chicago through Illinois and Indiana suburbs, according to a report Tuesday in the Journal of Commerce.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes monitor the local railway industry and its impact on motorists’ safety. In addition to the deadly Rockford, IL, train crash last week, which was also operated by Canadian National Railway, instances of trains blocking area roads for an extended length of time can lead to car accidents.

Rear-end collisions are common. Motorists also can become understandably frustrated with the delay and attempt to drive around down-track gates, leading to the potential for accident and injury once the train begins moving again. And, when train blockages at intersections become a common occurrence, motorists can sometimes try to get through ahead of an oncoming train.

The Canadian railroad company also reported the duration of the delays is declining — from several instances of roadway traffic being stalled for hours because of stopped trains in March, to two lengthy delays in April and one last month.

That train stretched more than a mile long with 106 loaded railcars and blocked a road at Joliet, Ill., for an hour, after stalling on an uphill climb as it headed out of town.

The company reports corrective action for each blockage in an attempt to pacify suburban complaints, where the acquisition is being contested in federal court. It also admitted the problem has been alleviated somewhat by a down economy and fewer freight loads and train trips.

Canadian National Railway also said it has made safety presentations at several area schools, and has posted 225 “no trespassing” signs on its railroad property from Gary, Ind., to West Chicago.

If you or someone you love has been in an accident with a train or a Chicago car accident you believe was caused by a train, talking to an experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer can help protect your rights. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABLES. There is no fee unless you win.