BNSF Railway and the Chicago CREATE partners have completed BNSF Connection project (WA4), which established a new direct connection between BNSF’s Corwith and Cicero Yards, as well as between the CN Freeport Subdivision and the Western Avenue Corridor along which BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX and Union Pacific operate. Prior to WA4, freight trains had to travel longer, more indirect routings to make these connections, including long and potentially hazardous reverse moves.
The scope of work involved constructing new track from 31st and California Ave. on the BNSF Chillicothe Subdivision along Western Ave. to 21st St. and California on the BNSF Chicago Subdivision; rehabilitating six bridges over city streets and over the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal; installing crossovers between the BNSF Chillicothe Subdivision and the CN Freeport Subdivision and between the new track and CSX Blue Island Subdivision; and installing Centralized Traffic Control signalization over the length of the project.
“These improvements directly benefit the Chicago communities of Douglas Park, South Lawndale, Little Village and Brighton Park by renewing old railroad viaduct structures and reducing train idling and the time it takes for trains to pass by,” CREATE officials noted. “The improvements also provide network benefits for freight and commuter train operations throughout the Chicago region by allowing trains going to and from many other lines to pass through this corridor with fewer delays.”
With WA4 done, half of the eight CREATE projects along the Western Avenue Corridor are now in service.
“As the nation’s rail hub, it’s important that Chicago maintains a world-class railroad system designed to meet the growing demands of both freight and passenger rail,” said BNSF Chicago Division General Manager Jason Jenkins. “Completing CREATE’s Western Avenue Corridor Project will support more fluid railroad operations.”