None of the Class 1 railroads that are being touted as the main clients for connection have signed on to the project. Most have said nothing. Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific have both stated publicly they’re not planning to use it. When WNIJ asked Union Pacific its current position, it responded that “it was not interested in moving forward with a discussion on the Great Lakes Basin Railroad's bypass project -- an exceedingly expensive idea with no publicly identified funding sources. We have repeatedly communicated this position to Great Lakes Basin's leadership team and associated organizations.”Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific already build blocks for each other at Elkhart or North Platte, and their dispatchers sometimes can get the cars through Chicago before the gangs strip them. Santa Fe could not be reached for comment.
And the one railroad that already operates north, east, south, and west of Chicago has its own bypass.
Just a few years ago the Canadian National railroad bought a rail line that forms a ring around the outskirts of the Chicago area, with the expressed intent of diverting some of its trains away from the congestion of the city and inner suburbs. It now connects to BNSF and other railroads. In a sign of its commitment to the ring line, when cities along the line complained of problems caused by the increase in trains, CN reluctantly agreed to provide a greater-than-usual share of the funding for several overpasses and other traffic mitigation projects to help gain approval for the route.Regular readers already know all this; perhaps a few public radio listeners will catch on.