Our Projects

Project Fact Sheets

The CREATE Program will enhance the quality of life of Chicago-area residents by bringing critically needed rail improvements to communities throughout the region. The 70 projects include:

  • 25 new roadway overpasses or underpasses at locations where traffic (auto, pedestrian, bicycle, bus) currently crosses railroad tracks at grade level
  • 6 new rail overpasses or underpasses to separate passenger and freight train tracks
  • 36 freight rail projects including extensive upgrades of tracks, switches and signal systems
  • Viaduct improvement projects – improvements to existing viaducts in Chicago
  • Grade crossing safety enhancements – improvements to existing railroad grade crossings throughout the region
  • Common Operational Picture (COP) – integration of information from dispatch systems of all major railroads in the region into a single display

Most of the CREATE improvements are grouped along or near four rail corridors running through the Chicago region. Each project is named according to the corridor it lies along or its project category (grade separations and towers).

  • Western Avenue Corridor – WA projects
  • Beltway Corridor – B projects
  • East West Corridor – EW projects
  • Passenger Corridor – P projects
  • Grade Separations – GS projects
  • Towers – T projects

Beltway Corridor

B1

Prior to this project’s completion, freight trains had to pass through the Bensenville Yard to access IHB main line track. With this improvement, 12 daily through freight trains are able to bypass the Canadian Pacific Railroad Bensenville Yard on existing Metra tracks. This project reduces the number of freight trains within the yard and reduce delays at nearby at-grade crossings. The potential for delay to Metra trains due to conflict with slow moving freight trains entering the yard is reduced.

Completed: December 2020
B2
Bellwood
/
Berkeley
/
Elmhurst
/
Melrose Park

The project increased the number of simultaneous train movements and routing options possible for both passenger and freight traffic. freight trains now have an additional track for mobility during Metra rush hour and avoid standing delays of 3 to 4 hours, which were common during the rush hour periods when Metra has priority. Previously, Metra had access to both main tracks for operation in both directions during peak periods, and freight trains were held stationary while waiting for route availability. Conversely, when freight trains proceeded but were unable to clear the location in the time allowed, Metra trains often experienced delays.

Now, Metra trains can operate unimpeded on two main tracks, while freight trains utilize the third main line, and can operate around slow-moving freight trains entering or leaving Proviso Yard. Additionally, freight trains can traverse the area more freely. The new pedestrian underpasses at the Bellwood and Berkeley Metra stations facilitate safe and efficient movement of commuters from the parking lot to the center platform without crossing the tracks at grade.

Completed: September 2013
B3

Prior to the completion of this project, trains departing Proviso Yard on the original single track would block the IHB main lines, preventing other trains from moving through the area at the same time. The second connection on the new rail bridge allows trains to maintain active operation on the IHB at the same time trains are entering and departing Proviso Yard, which greatly increases capacity.

Completed: September 2009
B4/B5
LaGrange
/
La Grange Park
/
McCook

Prior to completing this project most trains spent up to 2 hours traversing the limits of this project due to the hand-thrown switches and restricted speeds. B4/B5 signal improvements and powering of hand thrown switches now allow trains to pass through this segment in as little as 20 minutes. Now trains can operate at speeds to 30 mph, a significant increase from a “restricted speed” (between 1 and 20 mph) prior to the project. Trains also now have greater flexibility for simultaneous and bidirectional train movements with the addition of two control points.

At the northern end of the project area trains enter and exit Proviso Yard. The signal improvements have provided more options to move trains in and out of the yard and pass around stationary trains waiting for route availability.

The signal system upgrades provide greater visibility for the train dispatcher, enabling him or her to know the exact locations of trains in the area. This enhances the dispatcher’s ability to route more trains through the territory, expanding overall capacity. Additionally, greater flexibility to keep trains moving reduces conflict with at-grade highway crossings at the south end of the project area in LaGrange and La Grange Park (47th and East/Eberly, Cossitt, Lincoln Ave, Shawmut, Harding Ave., and 31st Ave.)

B6

Improving the current connection has increased maximum speeds to 25 mph from 10 mph and increased capacity of this segment. Improved freight train movement has reduced conflict with passenger trains along the Heritage Corridor.

Completed: December 2009
B8
Bedford Park
/
Bridgeview
/
Summit

Increased speeds of freight trains through the project area. Prior to the $3.2 million project, passenger trains often experienced delays due to slow moving freight trains that could not clear the intersection of the Heritage Corridor and IHB rail lines, resulting from the antiquated signal system. The B8 project’s upgraded signalization has reduced cross traffic interference with Metra and Amtrak trains on the Heritage Corridor.

B9
Chicago
/
Bedford Park
/
Bridgeview Summit

Project B9’s new double-track connection will allow speeds of 25 mph and provides increased flexibility for dispatchers. Installation of additional yard tracks in Argo Yard will reduce the amount of time switching cars destined for local industry occupy the main tracks. Project B9 is located near Ingredion, Inc. (formerly Argo Corn Products), the largest industrial facility in the region, which handles up to 200 cars per day from three carriers (IHB, BRC, and CN). Once complete, Project B9 will allow access to the new main tracks around Clearing Yard (Project EW1) on the new East-West Corridor.

Increased freight speeds and improved fluidity on the IHB will allow trains to clear Canal Interlocking more quickly, reducing the potential for freight conflict with Amtrak and Metra trains and improving travel time, speed, and reliability.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Completed
Phase III: Underway
B12

Prior to completion of this project freight trains destined to Barr and Blue Island Yards to the east waited at this location for access to the yards, creating congestion on the main line tracks. The new third main line track now provides additional capacity for trains passing through the area to proceed around trains waiting for yard access.

B15

The improvements have enabled train speeds to increase in the area from 15 mph to 30 mph. Now trains can pass through this segment in as little as six minutes. Previously trains experienced 15 to 30 minutes of delay for every hand-operated switch navigated as well as delays waiting for other trains to navigate the project limits with manual switches. Most trains used to spend up to one hour to traverse the limits of this project.

Increased freight speeds and improved fluidity on the IHB allow trains to clear Dolton Interlocking more quickly, reducing the potential for freight conflict with Amtrak and improving travel time, speed, and reliability.

Completed: September 2012
B16

Previously the UP and CN tracks crossed each other but did not connect. Due to the lack of a connection, trains could not switch from one line to the other. The new connection allows trains to switch between the lines and provides increased flexibility for dispatchers routing trains throughout the Chicago Terminal District.

East-West Corridor

EW1
Chicago
/
Bedford Park
/
Bridgeview
/
Summit

Project EW1 will increase speed and efficiency of through trains traversing Clearing Yard. The new main track will enable trains to travel on the new route at 25 mph along the south side of the yard. Yard capacity improvements to an interlocking at the east end of Clearing Yard will allow for multiple simultaneous train movements.

The additional capacity of this new corridor will more evenly distribute trains throughout the regional rail network and reduce the burden on the congested existing corridors (Beltway and Western Avenue). In addition, the new corridor provides critical redundancy in the regional rail network by providing a new east-west route through the region. In the event of maintenance work or service disruptions along the existing corridors, this route will allow freight train flows to be maintained.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Not Started
EW2

This project will eliminate the most congested rail chokepoint in the Chicago Terminal, Belt Junction, where 30 Metra and 90 freight trains per day cross each other’s paths. The rail-rail flyover at 75th Street will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX). The construction of an additional main line for Metra operation and the rail-rail flyover connection will reduce congestion and freight conflicts and will connect Metra’s SouthWest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks, increasing capacity and improving reliability.

This project will allow SouthWest Service trains access to LaSalle Street Station instead of Union Station, which increases capacity for the SouthWest Service while also freeing capacity at Union Station for increased Amtrak service and proposed high-speed rail. This project also is expected to improve Amtrak Cardinal service performance by eliminating freight conflicts in the vicinity of 80th Street. The road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and improve safety.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Not Started
EW3

Trains traveling east on the BRC toward the NS Chicago Subdivision often must wait for cross traffic to clear, creating main line congestion. Trains traveling westward off the NS Chicago Subdivision are also delayed due to congestion on the BRC. The additional main line track will provide additional capacity for through movements around the trains waiting to access the NS Chicago Subdivision. Additional track and signal upgrades at Pullman Junction will allow greater flexibility and access to four existing main line tracks west of Pullman Junction.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Funded
EW4

This improvement has allowed train speeds to double, increasing from 10 to 20 miles per hour. The bottleneck at this location is now significantly alleviated as this segment can handle twice the number of trains, an increase from 23 to 46 freight trains per day. Amtrak trains running on the NS Chicago Subdivision are benefited by freight trains leaving the NS Chicago mainline to enter the BRC mainline at higher speeds, reducing the potential for conflict.

Grade Separations

GS1

Daily, 9,850 vehicles and 185 CTA and Pace buses (#165, #307 and #386) pass through the 65th Street crossing, which is on a state-designated truck route. An additional 17,500 vehicles pass through the adjacent intersection on Harlem Avenue at 63rd Street. These grade crossings are located in close proximity to BRC’s Clearing Yard, one of the busiest in the City of Chicago. Every train passing through these grade crossings are either entering or exiting this yard, and must move at very slow speeds (10-25 mph) in this area. Trains may also be delayed due to servicing of rail customers along the same line.

This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The 65th Street grade crosing separation will eliminate delay to over 1,100 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of 644 daily motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

The crossing at 63rd St. is designated a “911 Critical Crossing.” This is a critical location for emergency services to access communities that have a high frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation at 65th Street and additional safety improvements at 63rd St. will improve emergency responder travel times throughout the area.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS2

Daily, 20,800 vehicles pass through the crossing. Midway Airport borders the southeast corner of 55th Street and Central Avenue.

This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crosing separation will eliminate delay to over 600 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of 6,700 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

This location is designated a “911 Critical Crossing.” This is a critical location for emergency services to access communities that have high frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation will eliminate this issue.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS3a

If a grade crossing is selected, rail and auto conflict will be eliminated.  If the alternative of improved roadway design and upgraded signalization is selected, new signage will direct motorists to use alternative routes to bypass a blocked crossing, thereby reducing traffic delays.  These improvements will increase the visibility of warning systems to prevent vehicle-rail collisions and improve safety.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS4

Daily, 19,400 vehicles pass through this crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to nearly 2,450 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of almost 18,700 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS6

Constructing a grade separation in this area would reduce roadway congestion and improve safety through the corridor from St. Charles Avenue to Lake Street. Over 5000 vehicles are delayed at this location daily, yeilding 42.300 annual motorist hours of delay that would be alleviated by this project. Access to a proposed relocated Metra station would also be improved. The project would enhance community development and redevelopment in this area.

A grade separation of the 25th Avenue and the railroad would improve the safety of the crossing; improve the efficiency of transit; stimulate economical development in the area; provide improved emergency response times, eliminate crashes between trains and vehicles and reduce crashes between vehicles on 25th Avenue. A crash analysis has found 136 crashes within the project limits in years 2005 – 2007.

Completed: December 2016
GS7

This project increased safety by eliminating the risk of a collision between trains and motorists, pedestrians or bicyclists. More than 140 trains pass through this location every day, and no longer block traffic on Belmont Road, which handles approximately 18,000 vehicles per day.  Because vehicles no longer sit idling and waiting for trains to cross, vehicular emissions are reduced, improving the quality of life for area residents.

Completed: October 2012
GS8a

Daily, 8,600 vehicles and 66 Pace buses (#331) pass through this crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to nearly 1,200 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of over 7,200 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS9

Daily, 18,600 vehicles and 259 CTA buses (#62) pass through the crossing. This project will improve air quality by reducing vehicle idling, reduce roadway congestion, and improve safety for all road users. The grade crosing separation will eliminate delay to more than 2,700 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of nearly 59,600 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

This location is designated a “911 Critical Crossing.” This is a critical location for emergency services to access communities that have a high frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation will eliminate this issue.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS10

Daily, a total of 31,000 vehicles pass through the two crossings. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to over 6,100 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of nearly 77,000 annual motorist hours of delay.  It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS11

This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. Daily, 11,500 vehicles pass through the crossing. The grade crosing separation will eliminate delay to nearly 1,700 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of more than 36,800 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

This location is designated a “911 Critical Crossing,” which means it is a critical location for emergency services to access communities with a high frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation will eliminate this issue.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Funded
GS12

Daily, 26,800 vehicles pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to over 3,700 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of almost 22,500 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS13

Daily, 17,400 vehicles pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this grade crossing. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to nearly 2,100 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of almost 16,000 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS14

The construction of a grade separation allows continuous access to the stadium and related development, as 71st Street between Roberts Road and Harlem Avenue is designated as one of two primary access routes feeding the stadium.
Given the location and geometry of the four tracks entering the nearby Bedford Park Yard, the speeds of the freight trains crossing 71st Street ranged from five to 10 mph. These slow speeds resulted in lengthy delays at 71st Street, often up to 10 minutes. During events at the stadium, nearly 1,600 vehicles use 71st Street for stadium ingress/egress.

Daily, 26,800 vehicles pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to over 3,700 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of almost 22,500 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Completed: November 2013
GS15a

Daily, 27,400 vehicles pass through the new grade separation. Additionally, Pace route 358 with 37 daily buses crosses the area. Prior to the completion of the grade separation, total daily vehicle delay was estimated at more than 240 hours. The grade separation eliminated delays for vehicles at this crossing as well as the potential of vehicle-train crashes.

A Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant is located within the northwest quadrant of the 130th Street and Torrence Avenue intersection. The grade separation is located next to the Ford New Car Shipping Center and the separation was a critical improvement needed in order to attract and retain this employer. All new cars must be driven from the assembly plant to the Shipping Center across the grade separation. Previously, freight trains could block the road into the facility for up to 20 minutes. When a freight train obstructed the road, two aspects of Ford’s operations were affected: 1) Employees could not enter the employee parking lot, and to access another entrance they needed to drive a 10-mile loop; 2) Finished cars driven off the assembly line were delayed in their arrival to Ford’s nearby Shipping Yard where they are driven onto rail cars or trucks to be shipped throughout the U.S and the world. This grade separation eliminated these issues and supported the approximately 4,000 jobs at that site. The grade separation and realignment of the roadways is also expected to attract other industries to relocate to the Calumet area.

This location is designated a “911 Critical Crossing,” which is a critical location for emergency services to access communities that have a high frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation eliminated this issue.

GS16

Daily, 32,600 vehicles and 31 Pace buses pass through the crossing. Separation of the roadway from the rail line reduces roadway congestion and improves safety at this location on Irving Park Road (IL-19) – a primary arterial road. This grade separation is located at the southwestern edge of O’Hare Airport, and is adjacent to and was coordinated with construction of the grade separation of the Union Pacific Railroad over Irving Park Road (an O’Hare Modernization Program project).

This separation also significantly improves railroad operations by enabling the CPRR to run trains unimpeded at all times. Currently the CPRR averages 25 trains per day. During peak weekday Metra commuter service CPRR does not run trains across IL Route 19.

Completed: October 2017
GS17

Daily, 8,200 vehicles and 100 Pace buses (#349) pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this grade crossing. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to over 1,500 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of almost 33,700 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS18

Daily, nearly 28,200 vehicles and 14 Pace buses (#302 and #307) pass through the crossing. Harlem Avenue (IL-43) is a primary arterial roadway and this project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to nearly 5,000 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of over 29,700 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains. Since this is also proximate to a Metra commuter station, it will improve mobility and safety for commuter access to and from the station, both pedestrian and vehicular.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS19

This project will eliminate the most congested rail chokepoint in the Chicago Terminal, Belt Junction, where 30 Metra and 90 freight trains per day cross each other’s paths. The rail-rail flyover at 75th Street will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX). The construction of an additional main line for Metra operation and the rail-rail flyover connection will reduce congestion and freight conflicts and will connect Metra’s SouthWest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks, increasing capacity and improving reliability.
This project will allow SouthWest Service trains access to LaSalle Street Station instead of Union Station, which increases capacity for the SouthWest Service while also freeing capacity at Union Station for increased Amtrak service and proposed high-speed rail. This project also is expected to improve Amtrak Cardinal service performance by eliminating freight conflicts in the vicinity of 80th Street. The road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and improve safety.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS20
Chicago/Evergreen Park

Daily, 27,200 vehicles and 190 CTA buses (#87) pass through the crossing. Over 3,000 vehicles are delayed at this location daily, yielding nearly 41,000 annual motorist hours of delay that would be alleviated by this project. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS21a

Daily, 24,000 vehicles and more than 700 CTA and Pace buses (95W, 108, 112, 352, 359, and 381) pass through the crossing and face delay when trains cross the roadway. This is also a state designated truck route serving approximately 2,800 trucks daily. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

This crossing is designated a City of Chicago “911 Critical Crossing.” This is a critical location for emergency services to access communities that have high a frequency of train movements or delays. The grade separation will eliminate this issue.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS22

Daily, 10,000 vehicles pass through the crossing. 115th Street is a primary arterial roadway and this project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to over 1,200 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of over 9,600 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS23a

Daily, 5,100 vehicles pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to approximately 1,300 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of over 26,000 annual motorist hours of delay. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS24

Daily, 10,100 vehicles and 70 Pace buses (#331) pass through the crossing. This project will reduce roadway congestion and improve safety at this location. The grade crossing separation will eliminate delay to approximately 2,200 vehicles daily, resulting in alleviation of over 16,000 annual motorist hours of delay. Since freight switching moves pass over this crossing, these delays can be significant for motorists. It will also eliminate the potential for collisions between vehicles and trains.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
GS25

Daily, 33,600 vehicles cross the tracks on Roosevelt. This project reduced vehicle delays and improved safety at the location where Roosevelt Road, a primary arterial road and state designated truck route, previously crossed the UPRR at a very skew angle. Approximately 3,800 vehicles were previously delayed at this location daily. This project eliminated 18,490 annual motorist hours of delay. By grade separating the roadways from the railroad tracks, the potential for crashes due to the long, skewed at-grade crossing has been eliminated.

Passenger Corridor

P1

The Englewood flyover eliminated conflict between 78 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that previously crossed at grade through the Englewood interlocking daily. The project relieved a significant source of delay for Amtrak trains from Michigan and points east, as well as for NS freight trains. By eliminating many of these delays, the project reduced locomotive engine idling, resulting in reduced emissions and improved air quality.

P1’s completion was needed before two adjacent CREATE projects could add additional trains to the lines at the Englewood Flyover location. The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project, including CREATE projects EW2, P2, P3 and GS19, will divert Metra SouthWest Service trains to the Rock Island District south of Englewood. The Grand Crossing Project (CREATE Project P4) will divert 6 daily Amtrak trains to the NS Chicago Line east of Englewood. Without the Englewood Flyover in place first, implementation of these other projects would have greatly increased delays at the Englewood interlocking.

P2

This project will eliminate the most congested rail chokepoint in the Chicago Terminal, Belt Junction, where 30 Metra and 90 freight trains per day cross each other’s paths. The rail-rail flyover at 75th Street will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX). The construction of an additional main line for Metra operation and the rail-rail flyover connection will reduce congestion and freight conflicts and will connect Metra’s SouthWest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks, increasing capacity and improving reliability.

This project will allow SouthWest Service trains access to LaSalle Street Station instead of Union Station, which increases capacity for the SouthWest Service while also freeing capacity at Union Station for increased Amtrak service and proposed high-speed rail. This project also is expected to improve Amtrak Cardinal service performance by eliminating freight conflicts in the vicinity of 80th Street. The road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and improve safety.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Not Started
P3

This project will eliminate the most congested rail chokepoint in the Chicago Terminal, Belt Junction, where 30 Metra and 90 freight trains per day cross each other’s paths. The rail-rail flyover at 75th Street will eliminate conflict between 30 SouthWest Service Metra trains and 35 freight trains operating on the Western Avenue Corridor (CSX). The construction of an additional main line for Metra operation and the rail-rail flyover connection will reduce congestion and freight conflicts and will connect Metra’s SouthWest Service with the existing Rock Island District tracks, increasing capacity and improving reliability.

This project will allow SouthWest Service trains access to LaSalle Street Station instead of Union Station, which increases capacity for the SouthWest Service while also freeing capacity at Union Station for increased Amtrak service and proposed high-speed rail. This project also is expected to improve Amtrak Cardinal service performance by eliminating freight conflicts in the vicinity of 80th Street. The road-rail grade crossing separation at 71st Street will reduce neighborhood traffic delay and improve safety.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Completed
Phase III: Underway
P4

This project will allow the 6 current Amtrak trains serving Champaign, Carbondale and points south to reroute from the CN Lakefront and St. Charles Airline route to the Norfolk Southern Chicago Line. This routing will eliminate the time-consuming back-up move at 16th Street near Halsted, which the current track configuration requires for these Amtrak trains to access Chicago Union Station. The re-route will reduce travel times by approximatelly 10-15 minutes each way. The project will also increase capacity on a congested section of the Norfolk Southern mainline that currently serves 14 daily Amtrak trains between Chicago and points east. This project will also allow for the space currently occupied by the St. Charles Airline in Chicago and the CN mainline tracks along the Lakefront north of Grand Crossing to be used to serve future public needs.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
P5

This project will alleviate delay and conflict between freight, intercity passenger, and commuter rail where these services intersect at the Brighton Park crossing, one of the busiest rail crossings in the U.S. The project will eliminate delays between two CREATE Corridors (the Western Avenue and Passenger Corridors). The project will increase freight train speeds from 30 mph to 45 mph. Metra and Amtrak delay due to freight conflict will be alleviated with the Brighton Park Flyover.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
P6

The purpose of the project is to improve safety and reliability, reduce congestion and delays for freight and passenger/commuter service and provide adequate capacity for passenger/commuter and freight rail traffic by minimizing passenger/freight and freight/freight train conflicts at CP Canal.

Currently, all trains traveling through CP Canal in any of the four directions must physically occupy the same space in the crossing. A flyover structure would improve safety and reliability by allowing trains crossing CP Canal to travel over or under another train, which eliminates the need for passenger/commuter and/or freight trains to occupy the same space.

There are numerous times during the day when passenger/commuter and/or freight trains must slow or physically stop when approaching CP Canal to wait for a train on one of the crossing tracks to clear. A flyover structure at CP Canal would provide an alternative for trains to get through this area without these delays. This project will alleviate nearly 3,000 annual Metra commuter passenger hours of delay due to freight conflict at this location.

Providing a means to eliminate the conflicts between crossing trains at CP Canal would reduce delays and allow for increased freight and passenger service within the overall regional rail network. This would benefit existing trains delayed by the at-grade crossing and permit future growth in both passenger and freight service, which is anticipated to occur within the region and along these lines in particular.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
P7
Chicago Ridge

This project will eliminate freight/Metra rail conflicts and delay at the Chicago Ridge Contol Point in Chicago Ridge, IL. The flyover will eliminate delays between the CREATE Beltway Corridor and Passenger Corridors. Commuter train speeds will be able to increase from 50 mph to 79 mph upon completion of the infrastucture improvement. A potential new highway-rail grade separation at Ridgeland Avenue may eliminate traffic delays at this rail crossing. Metra passengers may benefit from an upgraded Chicago Ridge Metra station.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started

Western Avenue Corridor

WA1
Chicago

These enhancements improve visibility and provide for electronic switch and signal requests that will enable trains to be managed by a single UP dispatcher who would be in charge of all operations within the project limits. Verbal hand-offs of trains between railroads will thus be eliminated. The new signalization and alignment of track will allow speeds to be increased from restricted speed to 25 mph.

The area between Kedzie Interlocking (north end of project) and Ogden Junction (south end of project) currently is not signalized. Train hand-offs, or switching a train from one railroad to another, are currently made verbally between the various railroad yardmasters and dispatchers, resulting in slow train movements. Actual train speed is often much less than the maximum authorized timetable speed of 15 mph, because without a signal system the train speed is limited to being able to stop within half the range of vision (restricted speed).

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Not Started
WA2

New computerized signaling will alleviate a number of issues in the WA2 corridor. The corridor currently has limited operational flexibility due to an inefficient signal and switching system and high volumes of trains making many different types of movements. These conditions result in low operating speeds, limited operational flexibility, congestion, and delay. Currently, most trains spend at least 2 hours to traverse the limits of this project. With the completion of this project trains are expected to pass through this segment in as little as 20 minutes.

The WA2 corridor also is currently controlled by a single-direction Automated Block Signal (ABS) system. ABS is a series of signals that govern blocks of track between the signals, which are automatically activated by the presence of a train. ABS also detects the status of the following signal, so trains must proceed at slower speeds as they approach the signal. Operational speeds and flexibility are limited due to the use of ABS and single-direction travel. The current permitted speed on the main tracks through the area ranges from 10 to 40 miles per hour, but actual speeds are sometimes much lower due to congestion on the tracks. Trains needing access to one of the four yards in the area travel at slower speeds as they approach or leave the yard.

Operations are significantly hindered by multiple hand-thrown switches, which require trains to stop to allow the conductors to exit the train, manually align the switch, and walk back to the train to resume movement. Dispatchers tend to dispatch trains through the corridor based on switch alignment, which reduces the speed, capacity and fluidity of the corridor. Trains experience 15 to 30 minutes of delay for every switch the conductor is required to hand operate. Trains experience delays not only due to operating their own switches but also waiting for other trains to navigate the project limits with manual switches.

The signal system upgrades mitigate these issues by providing greater visibility to the train dispatcher, enabling knowledge of exact train locations. This enhances the dispatcher’s ability to route more trains through the territory, expanding overall capacity. Operations into and out of the four intermodal yards, each of which handles five or more intermodal trains per day, will be improved.

Together with CREATE Project WA1, this signalization project at the connection between CSX and UP will enable quicker interchanges of trains between CSX and UP. Metra Heritage Corridor riders experience significant delay due to freight train interference, which would be partially mitigated by this project.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Completed
Phase III: Underway
WA3

This project increased train speeds and added capacity along the NS main lines in the project area. Previously, most trains spent up to one hour to traverse the limits of this project given the hand-thrown switches. With the completion of this project, trains pass through this 5.2-mile segment in as little as 10 minutes. Improved signalization relieves chronic congestion of Metra, Amtrak, and freight trains at Control Point 518 south of Union Station.

WA4
Chicago

Currently a direct connection does not exist between the BSNF Chicago and BNSF Chillicothe Subdivisions. This project will construct a new direct connection to allow movements between BNSF’s Corwith and Cicero Yards, eliminating the safety and delay issues of long reverse moves that currently take place. This project will also build new connections from the CN Freeport Subdivision to the CREATE Western Avenue Corridor.

WA5

The new signal system that replaced Corwith Tower provides significant benefits to trains moving in and out of BNSF’s Corwith Yard. The yard is located at the easternmost point for BNSF’s transcontinental route from Los Angeles to Chicago, the busiest intermodal route in the nation. The improved signals, upgraded track, and reconfigured Corwith Interlocking increase fluidity and reliability in and out of the yard. The improvements have improved switch reliability, which was a particular issue during cold weather, and which also improves Amtrak and Metra reliability on the adjacent Heritage Corridor.

WA7

This new connection between the CN Joliet Subdivision and the CREATE Western Avenue Corridor will provide a new east-west route allowing greater flexibility for dispatchers to route trains through the Chicago Terminal. Traffic traveling north from locations such as intermodal facilities in Joliet will be able to proceed more directly to intermodal yards in the city, increasing the potential for steel-wheel interchanges of trains and cargo versus transporting containers via truck using local streets and highways.

Phase I: Underway
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
WA10
Blue Island

Previously, CSX had double-track main lines running roughly parallel through the Blue Island Junction with no connection between them. The absence of a connection between the two CSX tracks at this location severely limited the possible routes traversing the Blue Island Junction. This junction is a major regional intersection where the Indiana Harbor Belt and CSX corridors connect and the Belt and Western Avenue Corridors cross.

These new crossovers provide direct routes for trains to switch between the tracks in both directions at Blue Island Junction. Previously, to transfer trains from Barr Yard to Clearing Yard, trains had to take a circuitous route. The completed improvements provide CSX a new, more direct route from CSX trackage to the BRC line. With the new connection completed by Project WA 10, two to three hours of transfer time for trains moving between Barr and Clearing Yards has been eliminated for three CSX trains per day.

The completed project also enhances the capability to move intermodal trains to the Bedford Park Yard because it completes a new route, which did not exist previously. The improvements have enabled 8 to 10 intermodal trains per day to reach to Bedford Park more quickly. The project also removed traffic from the congested Belt and Western Avenue Corridors.

Completed: September 2013
WA11
Chicago
/
Dolton
/
Riverdale

The project will increase freight train speeds for multiple routes from 15 mph to 30 mph, including routes accessing CSX Barr Yard, UP Yard Center, UP Dolton Intermodal Yard, a CSX mainline route, and all mainline connections between IHB, CSX, and UP. The increased speeds will enable this location to handle increased freight train throughput. Due to increased freight train speeds the potential for delay to Amtrak trains will be reduced.

Phase I: Completed
Phase II: Underway
Phase III: Funded

Tower

T1
Chicago

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Completed: February 2005
T2
Blue Island

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Completed: August 2014
T3
Lake Forest

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
T4
Chicago

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
T5
Bensenville

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
T6
East Chicago, IN

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

T7
Chicago

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
T8
Chicago

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Completed: January 2010
T9
Blue Island

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Phase I: Not Started
Phase II: Not Started
Phase III: Not Started
T10
Chicago

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

Completed: January 2010
T11
East Chicago, IN

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.

T12
Des Plaines

Reduces the signal systems’ failure rate due to antiquated infrastructure. Increases reliability of train operations at key crossings throughout the region. Reduces Amtrak and Metra delay due to periodic signal failures, which require hand flagging of the interlocking.