Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CREATE: B1 - Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades

The Milwaukee Road had four tracks going past the Franklin Park station. When it went bankrupt, Metra bought the northern two tracks and we can see in this satellite image that they continue on to Chicago. Canadian Pacific bought the remaining tracks which includes Bensenville Yard and the southern two tracks past the station. As we can see from the satellite image, those two tracks turn south onto the Indiana Harbor Belt.

If you trace the two southern tracks westward, you have to go all the way through the yard to find a connection with the top two mainline tracks.

The B1 Project will add five crossovers and the associated signalling between Scott and Ruby so the 12 freight trains a day that go to the IHB can stay on the mainline (Metra) tracks until they are past the yard. "The schedule calls for completing construction of the project in 2019." [rtands]

The claimed benefits are:
This project will reduce the number of freight trains within the yard and reduce delays at nearby at-grade crossings. The potential for delay to Metra trains due to conflict with slow moving freight trains entering the yard will be reduced. [B1]
The first benefit (getting through trains out of the yard) means that CP, rather than federal tax payers, should be paying a significant share of the costs. The other two benefits do benefit the public. But they assume that a freight train can travel on that curve at the connector to IHB significantly faster than it can travel through the yard. I have yet to see a train go fast on the IHB. I should get videos now of trains travelling past Ruby Street to record their speeds so that I can compare it to their speeds after the project is done.

Oh by the way, this project also includes: "Install another crossover between the IHB and CN tracks" [B1] In this case [rtands] provides more information: "In addition, another crossover will be installed between the IHB and Canadian National tracks between Chestnut Avenue and Grand Avenue." That would allow CP trains to run on CN tracks through the residential area of River Forest. Since CN bought the EJ&E, CN hasn't used this former SOO/Wisconsin Central track in years. Supposedly CN is keeping that track intact for "emergency alternative routing." I notice that the Benefits Section of the project description avoids describing the benefit of this crossover. Is money being spent on that crossover for emergency routing or are the residents of River Forest going to have their property values reduced after 2019 because of train noise? (I just discovered that Google road map doesn't even show this route.) Looking at a street crossing, I don't think the crossing gates meet the requirements for a quite zone. So this area will be like Macomb, IL, where the horn is always blowing as a train goes through town. (A daughter used to live in Macomb.)

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