Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

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Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

Unread postby Saturnalia » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:44 pm

This is actually a more realistic paper railroad, an idea that has been floated before. It's based on a project to make the CSS&SB Ry a dedicated passenger main from New Buffalo to Chicago Union Station. Now obviously I'm not expert or anything, but I have found it interesting to dabble with this and imagine what might be possible with enough will and ca$h.

This premise is that as Chicago gets more and more congested, it will make the most sense to just separate passenger and freight as soon as possible, to minimize delays all-around. Since the east end trains all nicely meet at the same points, and the CSS is already a dedicated passenger ROW, it would make sense to upgrade that single corridor and get everything separated.

Now IDGAS about cost here. It'd probably be close to a Billion dollar project, once you make some of the connections and redo a lot in downtown Chicago. But I think if it was actually done, it could help a relieve a LOT of congestion in Chicagoland.

So politically/financially possible? I don't know. I'm just looking at the physics of it. What's there now, and what could change to make it happen. A hypothesis.

More to some soon.
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Re: Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

Unread postby Saturnalia » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:58 pm

The first and by far most expensive part of the project is the downtown Chicago connector from the Metra Electric to Chicago Union Station. It involves laying a mile of new track, and re-configuring a busy interlocking.

An overview:
SCAL Project 1.png

Yellow is new track; Green is re-configured track; Blue is the existing St. Charles Airline.


SCAL Project 2.png

The project begins at the south throat of Chicago Union Station. Some of the interlocking may have to be replaced, in order for Amtrak trains to get over to the connector. But, not every track at CUS would need access - Metra already uses the western tracks exclusively, and would not need eastern route access.

From there the double-tracked connector would swing away from the existing alignment, and require changes/relocation of this substation.


SCAL Project 3.png

Next, a new lift bridge over the Chicago River. This is expensive but required. The tracks then head south.
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Re: Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

Unread postby Saturnalia » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:05 pm

SCAL Project 4.png

After re-curving south, the new road would pass under an existing bridge of Roosevelt Road. This large open area is all that remains of Dearborn Station. The tracks would climb from Roosevelt towards 16th St, unimpeded.

SCAL Project 5.png

16th St Interlocking is the 2nd biggest project on the new bypass. Major realignment would occur here, including a new bridge over Clark St. Thankfully, it appears as if a new bridge could be built to the north of the old one thanks to an old kink in alignment. The old bridge could be removed along with the tower, and tracks straightened out for higher speeds. The end result would be a rather efficient interlocking. Another thing to be looked at would be the lowering of the Metra line from LaSalle St Station, though I don't know if that is possible.

SCAL Project 6.png

The bypass would then follow the St. Charles Airline, joining the Metra Electric and South Shore Alignment southward, which is already a dedicated, sealed corridor for passenger trains, setup with express tracks and maintained to 65 miles per hour.

More to come...
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Re: Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:47 pm

For 13.5 miles, the Bypass would use the existing alignment of the Chicago South Shore and Metra Electric District. The line is already 4 tracks. With some signalling upgrades and crossover modifications, the corridor is sealed and would be good for 70 mph through trains.

SCAL Project 7.png



Next, the CSS leaves the Metra Electric and goes off on its own line. This junction would need trackage and signalling upgrades to more efficiently handle more traffic, with the current crossover moves being somewhat cumbersome.

SCAL Project 8.png


Then, there are 17 miles of double-track CSS running through the SE side to Gary

SCAL Project 9.png
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Re: Chicago South Shore Passenger Bypass

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:53 pm

The first major reconstruction project on the CSS is the single-track between Gary and Miller. This 4.2 mile segment would require a handful of grade crossing upgrades, as well as two new bridges, one over the CSX Garrett Sub, the other over Miller Rd.

SCAL Project 10.png


Then, there are another 6.4 miles of double track between Miller and Burns Harbor, requiring little in the way of upgrades.

SCAL Project 11.png


In Burns Harbor, the connection between the NS Chicago Line would have to be rebuilt to handle at least limited-speed traffic.

SCAL Project 11b.png
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