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Rail News: Canadian National Railway - CN

CREATE partners alter program to suit CN's EJ&E acquisition

The Association of American Railroads, Federal Highway Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation and Chicago Department of Transportation recently agreed to modify the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program to meet CN’s needs.

The parties eliminated the full Central Corridor between CN’s Waukesha and Chicago subdivisions, as defined in the program’s feasibility plan and preliminary screening, because CN no longer requires the route after acquiring an alternate corridor through the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway transaction.

However, major portions of the Central Corridor’s southern half will be retained to provide a new direct route — over the NS Chicago Line — for Amtrak trains traveling from New Orleans and Carbondale to Chicago Union Station. The route portions will minimize impacts to Amtrak and freight trains already using the line, according to CREATE organizers, who are seeking federal stimulus dollars for the more than $1.5 billion program.

In addition, a “C5” project involving CN largely has been retained and will be known as the “WA7” project.

CREATE organizers are accepting public comments until Sept. 11 on an amendment to the final feasibility plan and preliminary screening that incorporates the changes.

Funded through a public/private partnership, the program calls for developing one passenger-rail and four freight-rail corridors to reduce train delays, relieve rail and highway congestion, shorten commuters' travel times, and improve Chicago’s environment and public safety. CREATE partners plan to build roadway underpasses or overpasses to separate vehicle/pedestrian and rail traffic; overpasses to separate freight- and passenger-rail tracks; and upgrade track, switches, signal systems and other infrastructure.

CREATE partners include Amtrak, BNSF Railway Co., the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and the Illinois and Chicago DOTs.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/20/2009