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Tomorrow, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Union Pacific Railroad President and Chief Operating Officer Lance Fritz, Metra Chairman Martin Oberman, Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program representatives and local officials plan to meet in Bellwood, Ill., to mark the completion of major improvements along Metra's Union Pacific/West Line in the Chicago area and announce a new infrastructure investment in the region.Each day, about 1,300 freight and passenger trains travel in and around Chicago, the nation's busiest rail hub. The West Line, which runs from Chicago to Elburn, is one of the two busiest lines in the country, registering more than 120 trains and 30,000 passengers daily.At the event, the dignitaries are expected to discuss the impact CREATE program investments have made to date and a new investment that UP and the state are making to augment them. The funding agreement will target a project aimed at reducing freight- and commuter-rail delays in Chicago and its western suburbs.The 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 via a public-private partnership among Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, BNSF Railway Co., Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, Chicago Department of Transportation, Canadian Pacific, CN, CSX Transportation, Illinois DOT, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad, Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway and UP. The 20 projects completed to date already have reduced both freight- and passenger-rail delays by 30 percent, according to program organizers.
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