We have been following the development of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad, which might be a way to expedite movements of Bakken and Canadian crude oil around, not through, Chicago, or which might be yet another ploy to unite Canadian Pacific with Norfolk Southern, something neither Norfolk Southern nor, more importantly, the Surface Transportation Board, is having anything of.

But Illinois neighbors, particularly in Boone and Ogle counties, remain skeptical of the project and resistant to having their farms taken for the route.  At least one experienced rail professional shares my doubts about a section of track through southern Wisconsin, which connects to a lightly trafficked line in the wrong place, and Union Pacific are on record as not participating in the project.

Interestingly, a number of the local opponents of the project have been raising suggestions that existing railroad routes, whether in use or abandoned, be used in preference to building new.  Perhaps some of those opponents, upon doing their homework, will discover that some of those routes originally existed as Chicago bypasses, and they failed as such account light traffic or difficulties dividing the revenues.  That second problem will be present with Great Lakes becoming a third claimant.

A Surface Transportation Board public meeting will take place next week Tuesday morning in Belvidere, and Cold Spring Shops might be present as an observer.

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