Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The GLBT Project

Don't worry, it's not what you think!  Evidently there is a serious proposal in the works to build a completely new railroad line around Chicago, which would pass close to IRM.  The company behind this proposal is called "Great Lakes Basin Transportation", hence the acronym, which I had thought was already taken.  You can see a summary of this proposal here, with links to further information.  The line would extend from near Milton, Wisc. down through Boone County and around Chicago to LaPorte.  It would cross Route 20 and the UP Belvidere branch near Garden Prairie, about ten miles from IRM, and there would be an interchange at that point.  What impact this would have on the Museum is hard to say.  Gerry Dettloff mentioned this to me the other day, and at first I thought he was joking.  But I guess not.  Now I may quickly regret this, but serious comments about the railroad and its impact will be allowed.  


Patrick Cunningham, FAI said...

Minuses: A lot of capital expense. The railroad would either have some high costs for trackage rights or they will be looking for some handouts. It also seems like beltway interchanges result in long waits for trains to take the main. I live near Congress Park and watch BNSF trains sit on the Harbor Belt interchange track for hours some days. I suspect that is due to congestion in Cicero, but it pains me to see capital assets sitting there burning diesel and going nowhere. If the routing could really expedite traffic around Chicago and cut dwell time, it might just work. Dispatching and prioritizing traffic will be a critical aspect of the success. There'd also need to be sufficient room for locomotive servicing and crew change points. I was sort of expecting to see a four track main, but that doesn't seem to be the case. http://greatlakesbasinraileis.com/documents/route_points_of_interchange.pdf They also will be generating revenue as a utility ROW. A last cost factor is grade separation. This gets really expensive if they have to build a bunch of flyovers, but if it just adds a bunch of diamonds, it just moves Chicago congestion to this routing.

Pluses: It crosses most of the Chicago-bound railroads. It also crosses fairly close to several of the big intermodal terminals. I'm not sure how many containers are carted between the big intermodal terminals, but it would be interesting to see a source of traffic that would enable containers to be exchanged by rail rather than by truck. It also runs fairly close to the proposed Peotone Airport (and the proposed Illiana Tollway), which could result in that airport becoming a cargo trans-shipment hub -- truly intermodal. They have anticipated this with the Manteno Railport.

No real opportunity for passenger rail, although it could result in the potential for a truly cross-country Amtrak routing, with a station near the Peotone Airport and high speed rail into Chicago (the only way Peotone could ever attract passenger aircraft).

It's an interesting idea, but will need a lot of private capital to get going.

Chris said...

Couple days early to see this.

Good luck guys! Don't make me pay for it.

Randall Hicks said...

While passing through the area, I noticed that lawn signs have started to spring up, saying "Block GLB Railroad". I'm not surprised that there is organized local opposition. Now if I could just get some bumper stickers for my CA&E cars....