Chicago/Milwaukee Commuter Rail Extension
(Chapters 1-3)

1. Meetings:....

2. Rail Types include:

    Commuter & Inner City Rail

    Heavy Rail (rapid transit, subway, "El")

    Light rail (street car)

3. Lake Bluff to Milwaukee

The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad (C&NW) operated inter- city passenger trains between Chicago and Milwaukee until 1971. South of Kenosha there is Automatic Train Stop (ATS) double track. North of Kenosha, it is now single track. The railroad pulled out the second track, the signal system and there is no ATS system. C&NW uses Direct Traffic Control (DTC). This is dark territory which limits trains to a maximum 59 mph. Freight trains can operate at 49 mph. The incentive for railroads to tear out tracks is to reduce real estate taxes.

The Union Pacific's freight route (14 trains per day) runs parallel to and west of US 41 (New Line). The North line (Kenosha subdivision) handles one freight train per day plus an irregular number of unit coal trains (usually 2 more) per day, also "way freights" which service small shippers. The only portion of the Kenosha sub that handles freight is between Lake Bluff and St. Francis. Wisconsin Electric owns an electrical power generation plant at mile post 72.6 in Oak Creek on the Kenosha line which gets .8 trains per day. Commonwealth Edison's plant at Waukegan receives coal trains.

The "Northeast train dispatcher" controls the entire railroad (New Line and Kenosha Line) between Chicago and Milwaukee. The NE dispatcher controls the junctions (interlockings) at Lake Bluff and St. Francis (south Milwaukee). Under him is the block operator in a tower. There are no block (tower) operators between Clybourn and St. Francis. Towers are at Lake, Clinton and CY (just south of Clybourn Station). When telegraph was used, two letter abbreviations were used to save time in transmission. The CY operator controls both the Soo Line and the Union Pacific (UP) lines which cross perpendicular to one another at CY. He controls the Clybourn junction between the North and Northwest Lines and the Centralized.

Traffic Control (CTC) between Rogers Park (actually at "RP" just north of Rogers Park) and Winnetka (actually the crossover named "WK" just north of Winnetka). The Soo Line at CY used to go past Wrigley Field and over Wilson Avenue next to Truman College. The tower operator at interlockings is usually from the "junior" railroad (the second to be constructed).

Just north of Lake Bluff's commuter station, an east-west spur track (the Lake Line) intersects with the Kenosha Line. This spur connects the Kenosha subdivision and the New Line. Each travels in a north-south direction. At Lake Bluff, the switches and signals are interlocked. An "interlocking" is a junction or railroad crossing at grade where switches are controlled electronically by a dispatcher from a remote location. Interlocking switches are not controlled by a "hand throw" from the train crew. Years ago there was a tower at Lake Bluff with a man visually watching over the switches controlling the intersecting tracks. Now this interlocking is remotely controlled from Chicago. The Lake sub is a two mile east-west track connecting the New Line to the Kenosha line at Lake Bluff. The interlocking allows freight trains from the Proviso Yards (Melrose Park/Northlake) to travel north on the New Line (along US 41) then to go north on the Kenosha line.

The interlocking at the west end of the Lake Line is next to Sheridan Road in Lake Forest. The designation for this interlocking is "KO."

The old station in North Chicago was inconvenient for Abbott Labs. Abbott had a one car platform for commuters until it donated land one block away for the new current station. North of Kenosha, a company could donate land for a passenger platform if it is interested in commuter service for its employees. The Joliet, Elgin RR bridge over the UP North Line between the Waukegan and North Chicago is too low. Double stacked containers can't go under it.

In Waukegan, the UP coach yard....

North of Kenosha is jointed rail on the one remaining set of tracks. South of the state line is continuous welded rail (CWR) on both sets of tracks. To extend passenger service north of Kenosha, a second main line could be constructed or sidings created along with installation of a sophisticated signal system. There is room to reinstall the second track except for a short distance in Milwaukee where a new way is being built over the railroad right of way.

In general, bridges over creeks, rivers and roads are still in place. The second track is not always on the bridge, but the bridges are still there. One exception is the area north of the "wye" at St. Francis in the extreme south portion of Milwaukee. This is where the Kenosha Line and the New Line merge together. 100 yards north of the merger, the two lines veer away from each other. The National avenue Spur continues north to Milwaukee and the "New" Line goes west to bypass Milwaukee on its way to the freight yards in Butler west of Milwaukee.

A siding where two trains come together from opposite directions on one track to pass is called a "meet point"....

When passenger service existed north of Kenosha....

In Racine, the old C&NW Racine station is privately owned and no longer available....

Boaters come to Racine from Illinois due to the new Marina. The marina changed Racine which was a manufacturing city. It brought hundreds of high income boat owners from outside the city. They wanted entertainment. Racine is now a summer resort and entertainment city. Case, Jacobson Manufacturing, Johnson Wax, Insinkerator, Western Publishing. Labor goes between Kenosha and Racine. Some Racine residents work in Chicago. Trains into Racine would increase its bus traffic and reduce the subsidy needed to run that system. In 1991, C&NW officials said....

North of Kenosha is dark territory controlled by Direct Traffic Control (DTC). The locomotive engineer is controlled by radio commands from a dispatcher. Sidings aren't needed between Kenosha and Chicago because this is all double track.

From Kenosha to St. Francis is Class 3 track with no signals. From St. Francis to downtown Milwaukee is FRA accepted track with no signals. Under Class 3, the freight train maximum is 40 mph and the passenger train maximum is 60 mph. This could be upgraded if UP were to bring in a tamper. Oak Creek Power Plant is one mile north of Racine/Milwaukee line.


Oak Creek





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