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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

CREATE partners complete BNSF Western Avenue Corridor project

The project involved adding new tracks and creating a new direct connection between BNSF's Corwith and Cicero yards.
Photo – CREATE program


A BNSF Railway Co. project designed to eliminate train delays in the Chicago region was completed this month as part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (CREATE), the Class I and other program partners announced yesterday.

Known as WA4, the project involved adding new tracks and creating a new direct connection between BNSF's Corwith and Cicero yards. The project also provided new connections between the CN Freeport Subdivision and the Western Avenue Corridor along which BNSF, Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX and Union Pacific Railroad operate, according to a CREATE press release.

“Completing CREATE’s Western Avenue Corridor project will support more fluid railroad operations," said BNSF Chicago Division General Manager Jason Jenkins.

The project's location extended form California Avenue to Western Avenue, and 21st Street to 35th Street in Chicago. Specifically, the scope of work called for construction of new track from 31st and California Avenue on the BNSF Chillicothe Subdivision along Western Avenue to 21st Street and California on the BNSF Chicago Subdivision.

Additionally, the project involved the rehabilitation of six bridges over city streets and over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal; installation of crossover switches between the BNSF Chillicothe and the CN Freeport subdivisions; installation of crossovers between the new track and CSX Blue Island Subdivision; and installation of centralized traffic control signals over the length of the project.

Prior to the project, a direct connection didn't exist between the BNSF Chicago and BNSF Chillicothe subdivisions.

The project directly benefits the Chicago communities of Douglas Park, South Lawndale, Little Village and Brighton Park by renewing old railroad viaduct structures and reducing train idling and the time it takes for trains to pass, CREATE officials said.

Moreover, the improvements benefit freight- and commuter-train operations throughout the region by allowing trains going to and from other lines to pass through the corridor with less delay, they said.