The Surface Transportation Board have rejected Great Lakes Basin Transportation's application for authority to build a railroad.  "GLBT has failed to provide the Board with accurate financial information upon which the Board can rely to make a determination on the transportation merits of the project as required by 49 U.S.C. § 10901."

I'm not surprised.

The Board did not terminate the application with extreme prejudice.
With its decision, the board not only rejected Great Lakes' request for permission to purchase property and start construction, but also ended the environmental review process, and dismissed all objections to the proposed bypass railroad as moot.

However, a source close to the matter says the application was rejected "without prejudice" meaning that Great Lakes could re-apply in the future for the same or a similar project.

"Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc. is assessing its options with respect to the STB's decision today and will have no further comment on the decision," says Michael Blaszak, an attorney for the company.
The objections remain in the hands of the relevant interested parties, should the company try again.

The ruling did not have to get to the traffic forecast, which might be fine should the application be put on hold indefinitely.

A few miles from Cold Spring Shops headquarters is mute testimony to the difficulties of building a railroad to bypass Chicago.

At one time, there was an interlocking called DeKalb Junction here.  Yeah, I had to walk through a lot of underbrush, including the bramble bushes that proliferate this time of year, to get there.

The Milwaukee Road's Chicago Milwaukee and Gary occupies the space at left: imagine you are looking all the way to Puget Sound.  In the other direction, the railroad ran all the way to Terre Haute and the coal fields of Southern Indiana: thus The Milwaukee Road could move coal from its own mines to engine terminals and coaling towers everywhere on its system, plus it could expedite freight to eastern trunk lines by interchanging somewhere in Indiana rather than in Chicago.

The space to the right used to host two railroads.

Chicago Great Western, which might better have not been built (yeah, I'm going to take stick from Crooked Great Weedy fans for that: bring it!), ran a branch from Sycamore into DeKalb to get on in the action at the barbed wire mills and furniture factories.

That branch was immediately alongside a Chicago and North Western branch that ultimately connected Spring Valley, in the Illinois River Valley, to Belvidere, where it connected with the original Galena and Chicago Union lines to Freeport and to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.  Thus, like The Milwaukee Road, the Chicago and North Western System could move coal from online mines to engine terminals everywhere, as well as freight from the Upper Peninsula, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and Minnesota to eastern connections outside Chicago, either using the Spring Valley to the coal mining district near La Salle, or by making a right turn at DeKalb, a left turn at Nelson, and handing off to several of the eastern trunk lines at Peoria.  (If you've stayed with me this long, dear reader, now you understand why a major classification yard at Peoria is a feature of more than a few model railroads in the neighborhood: it's plausible and consumes less space than a Chicago yard.)

Thus: two railroads, both with the opportunity to expedite traffic off their own lines to eastern connections whilst avoiding the clutter of Chicago: all gone.  What chance did a railroad start-up, having to solicit bridge traffic for and from connecting lines, ever have?

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