News & Reviews News Wire Franklin Park crossovers separate Canadian Pacific and Metra moves

Franklin Park crossovers separate Canadian Pacific and Metra moves

By Bob Johnston | November 17, 2021

| Last updated on April 3, 2024

Another CREATE project completed

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Officials stand in front of brick building with audience seated in chairs
With a commuter train announcing its arrival in the background, Metra, Canadian Pacific, and Cook County officials hold a media event Tuesday at Franklin Park, Ill., to celebrate the completion of the 31st CREATE project, crossovers and signaling to allow CP trains to utilize Metra tracks and bypass Bensenville yard. Bob Johnston

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. — It’s not the largest or most essential component of a decades-long, $4.6 billion dollar effort to unclog Chicago’s rail network called CREATE. But completion of the $14.5 million Metra/Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades Project is typical of incremental improvements that sporadic funding achieves.

Woman cuts ribbon with large scissors while others watch
Snip! Metra Board Chairwoman Romayne Brown performs the ribbon cutting with officials from Cook County and Canadian Pacific looking on. Bob Johnston

Six crossovers and associated signaling now allow Canadian Pacific trains to bypass the railroad’s Bensenville Yard on existing Metra tracks on their way to and from Indiana Harbor Belt trackage that leads through Chicago to eastern connections. At the same time, Metra Milwaukee District West trains on the route from Chicago’s Union Station to Big Timber, west of Elgin, Ill., gain flexibility at what had become a bottleneck for both the freight and passenger carrier.

Another crossover has been added between the IHB and Canadian National’s route to Wisconsin that crosses Metra at the B12 interlocking east of the Franklin Park station.

Officials from Canadian Pacific, Metra, and Cook County gathered Tuesday to call attention to the importance of “B1,” the 31st of 70 Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) completed projects.

“Conflicts [between freight and passenger trains] are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work hard to eliminate them,” Metra Chairman Romayne Brown told the crowd before she cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Since 2003, federal and local sources, freight railroads serving Chicago, and Amtrak have all contributed funding for CREATE planning and construction. This project was Metra’s turn. Its board recently approved 2022 capital expenditures of $261 million and an operating budget of $900 million, aided by almost $300

yellow locomtive beneath signal bridge
The new signal bridge in the foreground is part of the crossover project. An eastbound interchange move with UP power creeping toward Indiana Harbor Belt tracks at Franklin Park, Ill. Bob Johnston

million of federal Covid-19 relief funding for operations.

The most significant CREATE venture is still a work in progress: the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project on Chicago’s south side. By comparison, it has received $474 million from all sources so far, but two of the four major components have yet to be funded. President Biden’s signing this week of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could help fix that, but the Federal Railroad Administration must first develop guidelines that will decide how billions in spending will be prioritized.

7 thoughts on “Franklin Park crossovers separate Canadian Pacific and Metra moves

  1. Thanks, David, I had found that earlier. They mention the crossovers built and looking at another map I figured out where Metra trains come from from the east and where they have to cross the multiple tracks to get to stations on the other side of the tracks further west. I’m not as clear on the problem for the CP freights.

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