CN closes transaction to acquire Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway



    
         Acquisition will generate greater rail efficiencies, overall
                  environmental benefits for Chicago region
    

    CHICAGO, IL, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - CN (TSX: CNR)(NYSE:   CNI) last night
completed its acquisition of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet &
Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E). The closing follows the Jan. 23, 2009,
effective date of the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) Dec. 24, 2008,
decision approving the transaction.
    CN will now begin a measured, step-by-step integration of the acquired
EJ&E lines to ensure a safe, efficient combination of the two rail operations.
EJ&E operates over 198 main line miles of track encircling the City of Chicago
from Waukegan, Ill., on the north, to Joliet, Ill., on the west, to Gary,
Ind., on the southeast, and then to South Chicago. The Transtar subsidiary of
United States Steel will retain railroad assets, equipment, and employees that
support the Gary Works site in Northwest Indiana and the steelmaking
operations of U. S. Steel. These remaining operations will become the Gary
Railway.
    E. Hunter Harrison, president and chief executive officer of CN, said:
"With this closing, we can move forward to fulfill the promise of the EJ&E
acquisition, which will help drive new efficiencies and operating improvements
on CN's network. Streamlined rail operations, along with reduced congestion
resulting from the acquisition, are critically important to the Chicago
region's economy and its continued role as one of America's most important
transportation hubs."
    Harrison said CN remains fully committed to mitigating the environmental
impacts of the acquisition on communities along the EJ&E, as demonstrated by
CN's comprehensive voluntary mitigation plan, which was adopted by the STB in
its mitigation requirements, as well as the company's voluntary mitigation
agreements reached with 10 Illinois and Indiana communities.
    In connection with its undertakings to the STB, CN will be actively
engaged in ensuring compliance with the various monitoring and reporting
requirements included in the STB's decision approving the transaction,
including the appointment of a CN community liaison officer for municipalities
along the EJ&E that will be affected by the acquisition.  CN is committed to
keeping inner-arc communities and those along the EJ&E regularly updated on
key developments and milestones during the integration of the EJ&E into the CN
network and rerouting of CN trains.
    Gordon Trafton, senior vice-president, Southern Region, welcomed EJ&E
employees to the CN family.
    "We look forward to EJ&E employees joining CN's team of railroaders,"
Trafton said. "The acquisition will provide CN with a more efficient and
consistent connection between the Eastern, Western, and Southern regions of
CN's network. We will apply our proven business model in implementing this
acquisition using the careful, step-by-step approach we have employed in our
previous transactions to flawlessly integrate these operations."
    More information on the transaction, including a map of the areas served
by the EJ&E and CN, is available by clicking on the EJ&E Acquisition icon on
CN's website www.cn.ca

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This news release contains forward-looking statements. CN cautions that,
by their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk, uncertainties and
assumptions. Implicit in these statements, particularly in respect of
long-term growth opportunities, is the Company's assumption that such growth
opportunities are less affected by the current situation in the North American
and global economies. The Company cautions that its assumptions may not
materialize and that current economic conditions render such assumptions,
although reasonable at the time they were made, subject to greater
uncertainty. The current situation in financial markets is adding a
substantial amount of risk to the North American economy, which is already in
a recession, and to the global economy, which is significantly slowing down.
The Company cautions that its results could differ materially from those
expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Important factors
that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to, industry
competition, legislative and/or regulatory developments, compliance with
environmental laws and regulations, various events which could disrupt
operations, including natural events such as severe weather, droughts, floods
and earthquakes, the effects of adverse general economic and business
conditions, inflation, currency fluctuations, changes in fuel prices, labor
disruptions, environmental claims, investigations or proceedings, other types
of claims and litigation, and other risks detailed from time to time in
reports filed by CN with securities regulators in Canada and the United
States. Reference should be made to "Management's Discussion and Analysis" in
CN's annual and interim reports and Annual Information Form and Form 40-F
filed with Canadian and U.S. securities regulators, available on CN's website,
for a summary of major risks.

    CN - Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway
subsidiaries - spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert,
B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key
metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth,
Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and
Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more
information on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Media: Karen Phillips, Vice-President, North
American Government Affairs, (202) 347-7196; Investment Community: Robert
Noorigian, Vice-President, Investor Relations, (514) 399-0052


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