Our Projects

Western Avenue Corridor


Ogden Junction

Topline Community Benefits

The Ogden Junction project will enhance freight and passenger rail and community connectivity, resulting in safety upgrades and improving aesthetics of viaduct passageways for pedestrians and cyclists traveling on local streets and sidewalks.

The improvements to the viaducts will maintain critical east-west connectivity between neighborhoods, enhancing the experience for motorized and non-motorized road and sidewalk users, facilitate connections to transit, improving aesthetics of the infrastructure, and supporting community efforts to bring development, jobs and housing to the neighborhood.

The project will contribute to air quality improvements from a significant reduction in emissions that would otherwise be present from rerouted and delayed trains.

Project Funding Needs

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Seeking construction funding (Phase III)

Project Location Map

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Project Area

North Limit W Carroll Ave.
South Limit W 19th St.
East Limit Western Ave.
West Limit S Troy St.

Project Overview & Impact

The area between Kedzie Interlocking (north end of project) and Ogden Junction (south end of project) currently is not signalized and actual train speed is often much less than the maximum authorized timetable speed of 15 mph. Without a signal system, 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. In addition, the trains are required to be able to stop within half the range of vision (restricted speed), but in many locations along this section, when a train occupies the adjacent track this range of vision is very limited. The slow train speeds result in poor train flow, delay, congestion, and limited capacity.

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Additionally, the freight trains operating daily in the WA1 Project area use radio control and navigate seven hand-thrown switches. A train experiences 15 to 30 minutes of delay for every switch the conductor is required to hand operate. Trains experience delays not only to operating their own switches but also waiting for other trains to navigate the project limits with manual switches. Currently, most trains spend up to one hour to traverse the limits of this project.

To address existing congestion and delays, slow speeds, and limited capacity resulting from the current layout of Ogden Junction and the lack of signaling between Kedzie Interlocking and Ogden Junction, the work at Ogden Junction will include:

  • The installation of a new bi-directional computerized Traffic Control System (TCS) on a 2-mile segment of the Union Pacific rail line along the CREATE Western Avenue Corridor.
  • The upgrade of approximately 7 hand-thrown switches to power switches.
  • The installation of control points at Taylor St., Ogden Avenue, and 16th Street and realign the main line tracks.
  • The structurally improvement of multiple bridges.

All of this work will be within the existing railroad right-of-way.

Signalization and realignment of the tracks will improve visibility, eliminate verbal hand-offs of trains between railroads, increase speeds from restricted speed to 25 mph, and allow simultaneous movements between the UP, CSX, and Norfolk Southern main lines. Ultimately, trains that currently take about an hour are expected to pass through this segment in as little as 10 minutes.

Project Benefits

Current infrastructure conditions make it difficult to maintain proper lighting, pedestrian accessibility, vegetation and aesthetics. Planned investments will improve safety for the public and railroad employees.

  • The Ogden Junction project will support community enhancement through brighter lighting, new sidewalks, roadway paving, landscaping and bridge support structure replacement.
  • Rail safety will be enhanced through maintaining train traffic on elevated structures, rather than detouring on other routes that have more street level crossings to navigate in surrounding communities.

Chicago, IL Community Areas: East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side, Near West Side, North Lawndale, West Town, including numerous federally designated Opportunity Zones

Communities along Metra UP-West in Cook, DuPage, and Kane Counties

This project is expected to create 260 full-time equivalent jobs between 2023 and 2028. Employment opportunities will be provided for local and union workers, as well as
disadvantaged and minority businesses.

  • The project includes a substantial goal for federally-designated Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), and all construction bid and railroad work will be performed by union members.
  • The project will focus on meaningful project-specific and general railroad employment opportunities for the local community that provides career development, including good-paying jobs.

Project improvements will positively impact environmental factors on the corridor, including:

  • Air quality – Improvements from this project will reduce the time that locomotives spend idling, starting, and stopping, as well as the frequency of at-grade crossings by trains. In turn, reducing rail and road emissions and greenhouse gases that impact human health and contribute to climate change.
  •  Energy – The street lighting under all of the affected viaduct structures will be replaced with modern, energy-efficient fixtures.

This corridor is shared by freight and passenger rail, with nearly 100 trains per day (39 freight, 59 passenger). While this corridor does not directly serve Metra passengers, the freight along this corridor does connect to passenger routes.

Upon completion, Metra Union Pacific-West Line trains, which operate through a portion of the project corridor, will experience fewer delays. At this location, Metra experiences 4,812 passenger hours of delay annually that would be mitigated by this project. The project improvements allow freight trains to enter and exit the tracks shared with Metra operations faster, reducing potential freight conflicts with Metra service and improving passenger service reliability.

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Project Status

Phase I Completed
Phase II Underway
Phase III Upcoming

Project Status Definitions:
– Phase I: Environmental & Preliminary Engineering
– Phase II: Final Design (Plans, Specifications & Estimates)
– Phase III: Construction

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