Norfolk Southern plans rail yard expansion

CHICAGO (CBS) — A large rail yard on Chicago’s South Side could soon grow even larger.

It is one of the main centers of Norfolk Southern.

The company recently made headlines due to a toxic chemical spill in East Palestine, Ohio. Now, as the company works to rebuild trust and build out its Englewood location, some residents said they are furious about the expansion.

CBS 2’s Shardaa Gray listened to their concerns and spoke personally with the company’s CEO.

“They can do whatever, as long as I keep living here, I’ll stay here.”

Gerald Myers Jr., seventy-three, plans to stand his ground. He has lived in his house since he was two years old. Myers said he received a letter from the Norfolk Southern Railway five years ago.

“The letter asked me if I wanted to sell my property and I said, ‘thanks for asking, but no.'”

The company is taking over several streets and alleys on the south side to continue the expansion of its rail yard.

Norfolk Southern Railway said it has been in the Englewood neighborhood for 150 years. In 2013, phases of expansion of rail yard 47 began. In February of this year, they obtained approval to expand additional parking for trucks.

Some council members toured the 47th Street rail yard.

“What you see all around us here is economic growth and good paying union jobs,” said Alan Shaw, president and CEO of Norfolk Southern.

“Norfolk Southern has not done the right thing for the Englewood community.”

Councilwoman Jeanette Taylor (20), whose neighborhood is included in the expansion, is furious about it, saying she was in her neighborhood when the company moved in with a family.

“Which they took for eminent domain during COVID, when the courthouse was supposed to be closed. So Norfolk Southern is the monster they are turning out to be.”

CBS 2 asked CEO Alan Shaw for his response to some who are not in favor of the expansion.

“We invest in the communities we serve. We hire locally,” Shaw said.

But Lorraine Moore, an Englewood resident, said she has seen the effects of the expansion.

“We have relatives who have been displaced by this movement, by this expansion. They tried to hold their ground; there is no such thing for black people in this community,” Moore said.