Chicago is where six of North America's major railways meet, which is one reason officials from Canadian Pacific (CP) think the solution to the city's rail congestion would be a coast-to-coast railway combination, such as one created by it proposed merger with Norfolk Southern Corp.
Because of its location, Chicago is the busiest rail freight hub in North America. In the winter of 2013-2014, cold temperatures and record snowfalls caused some of Chicago's railways to temporarily cease interchange operations -- in some cases for as long as two days.
"We have a responsibility to our customers not to forget that gridlock in Chicago crippled the industry in the winter of 2014 and threatened to cripple the economy," Keith Creel, CP's president and chief operating officer, said. "We need to work together as an industry to keep Chicago fluid and the economy growing, and innovation is the key."
No matter the situation, Creel argued that customers who rely on rail shipping have to be able to depend on rail companies.
"Our economy runs year round and shippers must be able to get their goods to market in a timely fashion, regardless of the date or the amount of snow on the ground," Creel said. "Optionality, agility, efficiency and service are at the heart of our proposal."
CP has made three offers to merge with Norfolk Southern, all of which have been rejected by the company.