Canadian National closes deal for U.S. rail line

NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway CNR.TO closed a deal on Saturday to buy the principal lines of Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co from United States Steel Corp X.N, the two companies said on Sunday.

Canadian National agreed in 2007 to purchase the EJ&E from U.S. Steel as part of a plan to route more freight trains around Chicago, where they face lengthy delays in the congested rail hub.

But some suburban communities around Chicago fought the $300 million purchase, arguing increased train traffic through their towns would cause safety problems and lower property values.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board approved the deal in December after a lengthy environmental review and last month a U.S. court refused to stay the purchase. [ID:nN24268824]

Canadian National Chief Executive Hunter Harrison said in a statement the company was committed to mitigating the environmental impact of the acquisition on communities along the EJ&E, which operates more than 198 main line miles of track.

U.S. Steel's Transtar unit will retain railroad assets, equipment and employees that support the Gary Works site in Northwest Indiana and steelmaking operations of the company. These remaining operations will become the Gary Railway. (Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Anshuman Daga) (For more M&A news and our DealZone blog, go to