Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

PUCO OKs Grade Crossing Work in 5 Counties

November 28, 2017

Grade crossing improvement projects have been approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in Fulton, Hardin, Medina, Portage and Stark counties.

In Fulton County, Norfolk Southern will upgrade light and gate circuitry, including new LED lights at the South Munson Road grade crossing in Swanton.

In Hardin County, the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern will install lights and gates at the Van Atta Road/Township Road 55 grade crossing in Liberty Township.

In Medina County, the Wheeling & Lake Erie  will reconstruct the crossing surface and install new lights and gates at the Garver Road/Township Road 177 grade crossing in Chatham Township.

In Portage County, the W&LE will reconstruct the crossing surface and install new lights and gates at the Seasons Road/Township Road 157 crossing in Franklin Township.

In Stark County, the W&LE will install lights and gates at the Riverland Avenue/Township Road 298 crossing in Bethlehem Township.

The Fulton, Hardin and Portage county projects are to be completed by Aug. 21, 2018, and paid for with federal funds.

The projects in Medina and Stark counties are to be completed by Nov. 21, 2018, with PUCO and the W&LE sharing the costs of those projects.


NS, CN Interchanging Through Freights

October 28, 2017

Norfolk Southern and Canadian National announced on Friday that they have launched a joint interline service initiative that interchanges manifest freights in Chicago.

The objective of the program is to cut the transit times by one to two days for carload traffic between western Canada and NS destinations in the eastern United States.

The service involves two eastbound and two westbound trains that will bypass traditional interchange points in Chicago, in favor of using the most efficient existing CN and NS routes.

In a news release, NS said that traffic is interchanging at its yard in Elkhart, Indiana, and thus avoiding extra handlings in the Chicago terminal.

The two carriers said they are continuing to explore adding additional traffic to interline services.

CUS Restoration Work Gets Underway

September 27, 2017

A $22 million project to renovate and restore the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station is underway.

Amtrak said the work includes repainting the hall into its original colors and restoring the skylight.

The 219-foot-long skylight that sits 115 feet above the Great Hall floor and over the years it has deteriorated due to water damage and flaws within the original design.

Natural light is expected to increase by about 50 percent by replacing the 2,052 pieces of glass in frames that had been made bigger over the years in a failed effort to prevent leaks in the skylight, Amtrak officials said.

Workers will construct an energy-efficient skylight above the historic skylight in order to maintain its historic appearance and overcome complications of an existing drainage system.

After the skylight and roof work is finished, the historic skylight and water-damaged plaster and stone will be restored.

A suspended work deck and swing stations are being used to minimize disruption to passengers.

A crane erected on Clinton Street is being used to move materials through the building and above the Great Hall.

The painting and plaster repairs have been divided into phases to further provide full public access to the Great Hall during the repairs.

Union Station opened in 1925 and was designed by Daniel Burnham and successor firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.

Goettsch Parkets is the architect on the project and Berglund Construction is the contractor for the restoration project, which is being funded by Amtrak.

STB Rejects Bid to Build Chicago Bypass

September 1, 2017

The proposed Chicago freight bypass has been stopped dead in its tracks.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board unanimously rejected the proposal of Great Lakes Basin Transportation Company to build the bypass railroad between northwest Indiana and southern Wisconsin.
The STB said it acted due to the lack of information about GLBT’s finances and operations.

“[Great Lakes’] current assets of $151 are so clearly deficient for purposes of constructing a 261-mile rail line that the Board will not proceed with this application given the impacts on stakeholders and the demands upon Board resources,” the STB said in its decision.

The Board’s action halts the environmental review process of the project as well as disallows GLBT from purchasing property and starting construction.

News reports indicated that the dismissal was without prejudice, meaning GLBT could seek STB approval later for the same or a similar project.

GLBT Founder Owns Most of the Company

June 14, 2017

It turns out that the founder of a company seeking to build a railroad bypass around Chicago owns most of the company.

A recent filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board disclosed that Frank Patton, the founder and chairman of Great Lakes Basin Transportation, owns 87.2 percent of the company.

Shareholder Jim Wilson owns 5 percent of the company with 22 other shareholders having smaller ownership shares.

GLBT had sought to shield its ownership structure from public view, but the STB rejected that earlier this year and ordered it to show who owns the company.

The proposed rail bypass would extend from northwest Indiana to southern Wisconsin.

The STB is not expected to approve or reject GLBT’s application for authority to build the line until later this year.

South Shore Derailment Snarls Service

June 7, 2017

A derailment in Chicago forced the South Shore Line to temporary suspend service on Tuesday afternoon.

The accident occurred at low speed when Train No. 18 derailed as it was entering Millennium Station.

With westbound trains unable to enter the station, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore, cancelled service. Metra Electric District trains were honoring South Shore tickets.

NICTD said it was “mobilizing as many trains as possible to minimize this disruption,” but expected long delays for the Tuesday evening commute.

STB Wants More Information Chicago Bypass

June 6, 2017

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board is seeking additional information from Great Lakes Basin Transportation pertaining to the proposed Chicago bypass route that it wants to build.

The Board ruled that GLBT’s application is incomplete and rejected the company’s effort to designate its list of its 10 principal stockholders and their respective holdings as confidential.

GLBT was given until June 22 to provide additional information including a more complete list of the counties and cities in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin that the rail line would serve.

The proposed freight-only route would extend for 261 miles between Northwest Indiana to southern Wisconsin.

GLBT had argued that its list of shareholders contained proprietary and commercially sensitive information, and confidential personal information. If that information was disclosed, GLBT said, it could have an adverse impact on GLBT and its principals.

In its filing with the STB, GLBT has said that the rail line, if built, will be grade separated from intersecting railroad lines and major highways, but would interchange with the six Class 1 railroads serving Chicago along with six regional railroads at 26 interchange points.

NKP 765 Trip Tickets Nearly Sold Out

June 2, 2017

Tickets for the June 17 and 18 excursions in Chicago behind Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 are almost sold out.

The restored Berkshire steam engine will pull trips from Joliet, Illinois, to Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station over tracks owned by Metra and once used by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the locomotive, said that half of the trips are sold out.

These include both Saturday trips. Earlier this week there were about 100 tickets left for the Sunday trips.

CSX, CP May Launch Run-Through Trains

May 29, 2017

CSX and Canadian Pacific are reportedly discussing ways to eliminate traffic congestion in Chicago, including creating run-through trains.

 “We’ve had some discussions with CSX operationally as well as commercially,” CP CEO Keith Creel said last week at an investor conference.
Noting that the talks are in the early stages, Creel said that the goal is to reduce transit time and improve service reliability.

CP currently relies on Norfolk Southern to move CP trains between Chicago and Detroit because CP does not have its own route from the east.

Stack trains cannot use the Windsor Tunnel beneath the Detroit River and CP has used CSX in recent years to move double stacked container between Chicago and Buffalo.

This puts CP at  competitive disadvantage against its chief rival Canadian National, which reaches Chicago over the former Grand Trunk Western and when can get through Chicago on the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern, which CN acquired in 2009.

CSX and CP interchange about 400 cars per day in Chicago, making CSX CP’s largest interchange partner railroad there.

Creel told the investor conference that 100 of those cars could be sent deep into CSX territory as a run-through train to avoid handling in Chicago. CSX could build trains destined for points on CP.

Chicago Bypass Bid Filed with STB

May 3, 2017

The proposal to build a freight railroad bypass around Chicago is now before the Surface Transportation Board.

Great Lake Basin Transportation filed an application on Monday, one day after the April 30 deadline set by the STB.

The application describes the bypass as a 244-mile line from Rock County, Wisconsin, to Porter County, Indiana, with 17 miles of branch line, a toll highway running parallel to the rail route, and a new international airport south of downtown Chicago.

Cost of the project was put at $2.8 billion with a 2021 completion date. Funding would come from private sources.

Great Lakes said the route will have 26 interchange points with Class I and regional railroads.

In its application, Great Lakes said the bypass “would help alleviate endemic rail traffic delays and congestion in the Chicago area by providing a new railroad linking every major rail line that enters the city.”

It claims that transit times through Chicago could be reduced from 30 hours to eight hours, with an estimated 45 to 72 trains a day. The bypass would be able to accommodate 80 percent to 90 percent growth in traffic by 2040.

Little support for the bypass has been expressed thus far from Class 1 railroads serving Chicago. NIMBY opposition has also been strong along the proposed route.