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CHICAGO-Canadian National Railway Co. is in the process of trying to acquire the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. (EJ&E). The possible acquisition has many suburban communities up in arms with concerns of increased train traffic. However, market experts predict that the acquisition would likely have little effect on the commercial real estate market. “I think it probably is not going to have a significant impact on industrial or commercial real estate,” says Tim Cahill, VP of industrial practice for UGL Equis.

The Canadian National Railway is expected to acquire the EJ&E for $300 million and spend an additional $100 million for upgrades and new connections, according to a statement on the proposed acquisition by Canadian National, of which representatives did not return a phone call seeking comment. The EJ&E is currently owned by the United States Steel Corp. The acquisition is awaiting approval from the Surface Transportation Board.

While the acquisition of the EJ&E may not have much of an impact on commercial real estate directly, the acquisition would “sustain Chicago as a hub for rail,” Cahill says. The acquisition is expected to reduce travel times for freight in the Chicagoland area. Freight trains should actually cause less pollution than if the materials were hauled with semi trailers, Cahill says. “One train can take 280 trucks off the road,” he says.

The acquisition would also give Canadian National access to Joliet, IL. CenterPoint Properties is currently developing CenterPoint Intermodal Center in Joliet. Representatives from CenterPoint declined to comment on how the acquisition could affect the intermodal center under development.

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