“The whole way this was handled was disgraceful,” Genoa Mayor Mark Vicary said. “We just found out about this [Thursday] night. It's a travesty, and it was taken away from us in the darkness of the night.”Did anybody in Genoa work with people at CNR to encourage the railroad to work more cooperatively with the Illinois Department of Transportation? With CNR attempting to assimilate Illinois Central and Elgin Joliet and Eastern, in part to move more agricultural products, ethanol, and possibly Alberta oil around Chicago, not through it, a little willingness to help provide additional trackage and some passenger platforms might have gone a long way.
The Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce was sending letters to members last week encouraging them to reach out to Quinn to voice their support for the city stop.That passage doesn't say "no local communication with CNR." Neither does it give unambiguous evidence of local communication with CNR.
“We had no idea this was something that was going to happen,” said Cortney Strohacker, the chamber's executive director. “We were looking forward to the economic development opportunities it would bring, and were looking forward to not only having Amtrak available for us, but for others who wanted to come to Genoa.”
The service was originally planned to run on Canadian National Railway tracks, but after years of failed negotiations with the Montreal-based company, officials were able to finalize an agreement to switch to a new route that used tracks owned by Metra and the Union Pacific Railroad.
Guy Tridgell, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation, said because negotiations with Canadian National were unsuccessful, officials went with their second option.
"Our preferred choice all along was to go to Genoa using Canadian National Railway [tracks], but we were unable to reach an agreement on that,” Tridgell said. “Negotiations were not as fruitful as we had hoped, and in order to get this important service to Rockford, we decided on another option.”