CREATE signalization modernization completed

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

A signalization modernization project that falls under the CREATE (Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency) program and funded through TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery) grants has been completed.

The Indiana Harbor Belt Blue Island-Riverdale-Dolton Signal Modernization Project (CREATE Project B15) allows for doubling of train speed in the project area, from 15 mph to 30 mph.

Located between the control points on either side of IHB’s Blue Island Yard (between the intersection of Western Ave. and 140th Street in Blue Island, Ill., and the intersection of 140th St. and Indiana Ave. in Dolton, Ill.) the project involved installation of a new bi-directional computerized Traffic Control System (TCS) on a three-mile segment of IHB main line track along the norths ide of Blue Island Yard. It provides two new control points, which included installation of a series of crossovers at CP School Street and a turnout at CP Ashland. Additional crossovers were added to CP Harvey. The project also included installation of electric lock switches and replacement of approximately five hand-thrown switches with power-operated switches. <p< With the improvements, Amtrak trains and freight trains operating on the IHB main line are expected to pass through in as little as six minutes. Trains used to experience 15 to 30 minutes of delay for every hand-operated switch they navigated as well as when waiting for other trains to navigate the project limits with manual switches. Most trains spent up to one hour to traverse the limits of this project. Increased freight speeds and improved fluidity on the IHB will allow trains to clear Dolton Interlocking more quickly, reducing the potential for freight conflict with Amtrak trains to and from Indianapolis and improving passenger and freight travel time, speed, and reliability.

Daily passenger trains affected are two Amtrak Cardinal/Hoosier State trains to Indianapolis. Blue Island Yard handles 40 inbound and outbound freight trains per day, and an additional 14 CSX, NS, BNSF, or Iowa Interstate freight trains bypass the yard daily.

“The CREATE partners thank the members of the congressional delegation, civic organizations and businesses that supported our TIGER grant application,” said IHB General Superintendent Joseph Spano. “It feels good to show them that their support means something. This project will make a difference in the communities and the efficiency of rail operations.”

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