Centralized controls urged for train traffic

October 19, 2015


Centralized controls urged for train traffic

Panel addresses Midwest rail delays

Building two major capital projects in Chicago and placing in the same room workers who direct the Windy City’s train traffic could ease recurring congestion that plagues the entire Midwestern railroad network, an Amtrak study team concluded in a recently released report.Website Insert Development Finance and Management copy

While the recommended improvements are all in the Chicago area, Amtrak’s Blue Ribbon Panel noted that train congestion there affects freight shipments from coast to coast and compromises plans for higher-speed passenger rail in the Midwest.

The latter includes the Detroit-Chicago corridor, upon which the federal government and state of Michigan are spending about $650 million to increase train speeds to up to 110 mph between Ypsilanti, Mich., and Porter, Ind.

But that corridor’s last 40 miles into Chicago use a Norfolk Southern Railroad line that is among North America’s busiest freight-train routes and prone to delays.

That same freight line is Toledo’s primary rail corridor to the west and is used by the four Amtrak trains that stop each day in the city. About a year ago, those trains were so consistently delayed that Amtrak substituted buses for trains west of Toledo to sidestep the problem.

“Any improvements along that corridor obviously benefit Toledo in a lot of different ways,” said Joe Cappel, vice president of business development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which owns Toledo’s train station and has promoted passenger and freight rail development.

David Patch, staff writer for The Blade of Toledo has the full story by clicking here.



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