Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by mkellerm
This question is only partially Metra related, but I was wondering about the status of the grade-separated crossings and/or connections that were proposed in the CREATE project. In particular, has there been any progress on (1) Brighton Park, (2) Englewood, or (3) Grand Crossing?

  by doepack
The answers to all three: No, no, and no. CN's decision to back out of the joint partnership that formed CREATE has a direct effect on items 1 and 3, because it means they won't be funding their portion of a Brighton Park crossover, or building a connection to NS (ex-PRR/Conrail) at Grand Crossing, even though they, like the other railroads, would stand to benefit from the improvements. I've read their objections to the plan, and while some have merit, this sudden change of heart still strikes me as being extremely short-sighted. One way or another, they're going to have to pay in the long run anyway...

As for Englewood crossing, NS is willing, but they're trying to get the feds to make Metra come up with a little more money; right now it's a 70/30 split, with NS coming up with the majority of the funds, which doesn't sit well with the suits at Norfolk. It's interesting to note that Metra's financial contribution to CREATE is the least among the remaining participating roads, yet they stand to reap the most of the major capacity gains. Metra has replied that much of its funds are tied up to costs related to the recent service expansions, plus increased maintenance and fuel costs, and are unable to share a bigger financial burden that CREATE would place on it.

So as you can see, CREATE's current situation is not unlike a bunch of kids thrown together for a joint classroom project that can't seem to get along. One kid is complaining that the others aren't doing their fair share, while another has decided they've had enough, and has left the project altogether. It's a wonder how things ever really get done around here...