A key rail connection and capacity expansion project of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program is now operational in McCook, Ill. The $13.1-million federally- and privately-funded McCook Connection project (Project B6) provides additional connectivity between the Indiana Harbor Belt, CSX Transportation and BNSF rail lines. Trains that had to wait or travel at a maximum speed of 10 miles an hour are now able to proceed through the area at 25 miles per hour as they move onto mainline tracks near the United Parcel Service Willow Springs Distribution Center.
The connection will provide
additional capacity and congestion relief in the Northeastern Illinois region,
benefiting approximately 15 to 20 freight trains that travel through the
connection per day. Because of the increased speed on this connection to the
IHB, trains will be able to clear the adjacent IHB/CN crossing more
quickly, thus reducing potential freight conflicts with six weekday Metra
Heritage Corridor trains and 10 daily Amtrak trains to and from St. Louis
traveling on the CN tracks.
Approximately 70 workers
from CSXT, BNSF and private contractors worked on the project, which began
construction 12 months ago.
"I am pleased that our
strategic CREATE funding is creating jobs and infrastructure that will support
our state and national economy," said Representative Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.),
a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The McCook Connection is
the seventh CREATE Project to be completed. Six additional projects are
The CREATE program is a
first-of-its-kind partnership bringing together Illinois Department of
Transportation, the City of Chicago Department of Transportation and the Association
of American Railroads. CREATE comprises 71 critically needed rail and highway
infrastructure improvements in Northeastern Illinois, aimed at improving the
quality of life of Illinois residents, and increasing the efficiency of freight
and passenger rail service throughout the region and across the U.S.