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Quigley’s “Mike on the Move” Highlights Illinois’ Short Line Rail

Jun 30, 2016
Press Release

CHICAGO — Yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), took his “Mike on the Move” transportation initiative to Elk Grove Village, Illinois to ride Chicago’s Terminal Short Line Railroad. His visit highlighted the importance of the short line rail industry to small and mid-sized communities and local businesses, as well as the need for funding to keep these rails functioning safely.

“After railroad deregulation in the eighties, short line rail was the main method of transportation for small communities, especially in Illinois. Today, these rails still function as a key contributor in the economies of small towns, therefore they need funding to continue running effectively and safely,” said Rep. Quigley. “I want to thank Chicago Terminal Railroad for allowing me to visit today and get a firsthand look at the operation and the importance of maintaining our transportation infrastructure for our communities and local businesses.”

During his visit, Rep. Quigley met with Chicago Terminal Railroad officials including Ed Ellis, President; Steven Gregory, Vice President of Marketing; Don Pingel, Senior Manager of Operating Practices and Tim Fuhrer, General Manager. Additional meeting participants included Linda Bauer Darr, President, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; Ron Hynes, Executive Director of Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI); and Ashley Wieland, Washington Representative for American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA). They discussed the history and current operations of the Chicago Terminal Railroad and Iowa Pacific Holdings, which operates the Chicago Terminal Railroad. The group discussed ways to leverage more federal and state funding for short line railroads, as well as the safety initiatives, such as the Short Line Safety Institute. Afterwards, Rep. Quigley took a tour of the rail yard and drove in a locomotive cab to see the inner workings of the short line railroad.

“Congressman Quigley is committed to providing support for Chicago’s transportation operations, including short lines such as the Terminal Short Line in Chicago, Illinois that provide local businesses with access to the larger rail network.  In addition to financial support for infrastructure improvements, Congressman Quigley has been instrumental in the development and support of the Short Line Safety Institute, which will address the human side of safety – safety culture, with a commitment to ensuring that all short line railroads, such as the one we toured today, have the tools they need to perform at a superior level of safety,” said Ron Hynes, Executive Director of the Short Line Safety Institute.

Rep. Quigley (sitting) learns how to drive a locomotive on the short line rail from a Chicago Terminal Railroad engineer.

From left to right: Philip J. Van, Trainmaster, Chicago Terminal Railroad; Linda Bauer Darr, President, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association; Ron Hynes, Executive Director of Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI); Rep. Mike Quigley; Ed Ellis, President; Tim Fuhrer, General Manager; Steve Gregory, Executive Vice President of Marketing;​ and Don Pingel, Senior Manager of Operating Practices, Iowa Pacific Holdings/Chicago Terminal Railroad

Rep. Quigley’s “Mike on the Move” initiative emphasizes how the federal government can support transportation and infrastructure investments. Previous “Mike on the Move” events highlighted CTA Red and Purple Line renovation sites, the 606 bike and pedestrian trail during construction and shortly after it opened, Chicago’s Metra system’s century old switching tower and Amerail passenger car rehabilitation project, innovative bike and pedestrian trails around the city, large road construction projects, and Chicago’s notorious rail congestion.

As Illinois’ only member on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley has pushed for a long-term surface transportation bill and prioritized Chicago-area infrastructure investments as a member of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD). He has helped secure $35 million in Core Capacity grants to benefit CTA and over $100 million for projects to ease flooding in Cook County. Rep. Quigley also fought for increased funding for the TIGER grant program to benefit both highways and pedestrian projects.