12.5.18

IS SITTING IN TRAFFIC THAT MUCH FUN?

The city fathers of Glenview engage in rent-seeking, the better to impede the free movement of long-distance commuters along the Hiawatha line.
The Glenview Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to allocate $400,000 to opposition efforts against a planned project on the Amtrak Hiawatha line.

The money will go toward communications, research, lobbying, potential litigation and a contingency fund, according to a staff report.

The Federal Railroad Administration and the Illinois and Wisconsin departments of transportation have proposed increasing service on the Amtrak Hiawatha line, which runs from Chicago to Milwaukee and stops in Glenview, from seven to 10 round trips, said Jeff Brady, director of community development.

In October 2016, the three agencies released a draft environmental assessment that recommends building a two-mile freight train holding track along the existing Metra train tracks that would run from Glenview to Northbrook and building a new crossover switch on Metra tracks south of Dewes Street, Brady said.

About two weeks after the draft environmental assessment was released, the Glenview Board of Trustees passed a resolution opposing the findings in the assessment. The village cited three concerns: the alleged need to increase Hiawatha service by three round trips, short-term solutions proposed to accommodate rail traffic and environmental impacts.
In part, Passenger Rail advocates are paying the price for the downsizing of The Milwaukee Road. My working timetable for 26 April 1964 shows eight Milwaukee round trips, authorized 90 mph between Mayfair and Lake, and a 75 car eastbound siding at Tower A-20, approximately where this new holding track would go, as well as now-removed 150 car sidings on both sides of the track at Caledonia (long gone) and Lake (the east end of the westbound sidings is where the Milwaukee Airport station is).  Services were even faster in the 1950s.

Go back far enough, The Milwaukee Road are operating a dozen Milwaukee round trips.  Travellers have additional choices to the east, using the North Shore Line and Chicago and North Western.  The Amtrakers each day will adversely affect Glenview property values?  Please.

Perhaps it is time to consider moving the north suburban Amtrak stop from Glenview to Lake Forest, or perhaps to establish one stop at Deerfield, where a number of rush-hour Metra commuter trains turn back, and a second stop at Gurnee, for Six Flags and the outlet mall.

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