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State

Sen. Durbin wants feds to look at Ill. rail delays

SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin wants federal rail officials to look at delays along the Amtrak route from Carbondale to Chicago and blocked rail crossings in the Chicago suburbs.

Durbin on Thursday asked the federal Surface Transportation Board to observe what he says are problems with Canadian National in Illinois. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that Durbin says Canadian National trains block suburban rail crossings and blames the railroad for Amtrak delays from Carbondale to Chicago.

Amtrak supports Durbin and says the delays inconvenience riders and affects its business. Durbin's office says there were more than 5,250 crossings blocked for more than 10 minutes during the first quarter 2014.

A Canadian National spokesman says Amtrak on-time performance and blocked crossing have both improved since winter.

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