CREATE partners complete B1 project that will deliver improved freight and commuter train speeds

Dec. 23, 2020
The Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades project saw five crossovers installed and signaling upgrades to help speed the movement of Metra and Canadian Pacific trains through Franklin Park, Ill.

Metra trains and Canadian Pacific freight trains will see improved speeds through Franklin Park, Ill., with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Crossover Upgrades project, or B1, which is part of the multi-year Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program. 

The B1 project consisted of the installation of five crossovers and associated signaling on Metra’s tracks serving the Milwaukee District West Line and Canadian Pacific. The new rail infrastructure eliminates delays that had been impacting 12 freight trains and 58 Metra trains per day.

“The completion of this B1 project is a great milestone in Metra’s work to reduce potential commuter delays throughout the region,” said Bruce Marcheschi, Metra’s Chief Operating Officer. “The switching and signaling improvements here will save considerable time for both commuters and freight trains and we are happy to continue our work with the CREATE Program.”

Before the completion of this project, freight trains needed to pass through the Bensenville Yard to access the Indiana Harbor Belt main line track. With this improvement, freight trains that pass through the area can bypass the Bensenville Yard on existing Metra tracks. This project also automates freight train access points through digitized switching controls that improve freight train speed throughout the yard. Finally, this project reduces delays to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists at nearby at-grade crossings due to increased train speeds and reduced gate down times.

“Canadian Pacific is pleased to complete a project that will expedite the movement of people and goods in the Chicago region,” said CP Vice-President Operations, Southern Region. “We are committed to delivering for our customers and communities, and efficiencies gained in greater Chicago help to keep shipments moving through this important and interconnected terminal area.”

The CREATE Program is a multi-year effort between the U.S. Department of Transportation, state of Illinois, Cook County, city of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak and the nation’s freight railroads to improve train speeds in the Chicago region through better infrastructure. With the completion of this project, 31 of CREATE’s 70 projects are now in service.