A $9.7 million crossover project that's part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program recently was completed in Blue Island, Ill., according to CSX Transportation.
CREATE project WA10 involved the installation of new crossovers along a two-mile segment of track, creation of bi-directional switching and signal modernization. About 130 railroad crew members and contractors worked on the project, which will reduce idling in Chicago neighborhoods, balance cargo movements between freight railroads and add capacity for projected global freight demand, CSX officials said in a press release.
The federal government provided $6.4 million; CSX, $3.2 million; and the state of Illinois, $92,000, for the project.
CSX has double-track mainlines running through Blue Island Junction, but prior to the project, had no connection between them. The lack of connectivity limited potential routes traversing the junction, where Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. and CSX corridors connect, and Belt Railway Co. of Chicago and Western Avenue corridors cross. The crossovers provide direct routes for trains to switch between the tracks in both directions at the junction.
"Both the motoring public and freight railroads are already seeing benefits from CREATE projects like this. We now can deploy trains in a measurably more efficient way through the Chicago area," said John Bradley, who manages CSX's Chicago Division.
The more than $3 billion CREATE program involves 70 projects designed to separate freight and passenger trains at six key junctions in the Chicago area, increase rail capacity, speed and reliability, and eliminate 25 grade crossings. The program is managed by a public-private partnership between Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, BNSF Railway Co., Belt Railway, Chicago and Illinois Departments of Transportation, Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX, Indiana Harbor Belt, Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
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