Causes major delays for passengers and freight shipments
The unprecedented level of rail congestion in Chicago is causing major delays for Amtrak passengers and freight shipments. Amtrak therefore is establishing a blue ribbon panel of rail and transportation leaders to identify infrastructure and operational improvements to address the rail traffic gridlock in Chicago.
The freight railroads which operate in Chicago and other stakeholders will be invited to participate in panel activities as they are considered being key to implementing recommended solutions.
Because Chicago is the hub of the U.S. rail network, and the key gateway between Eastand West rail traffic, gridlock in the Chicago area is causing major delays throughout the United States. The congestion problem is caused by a combination of rising demand on the East Coast for more intermodal freight and crude oil shipments which originate west of Chicago, underinvestment in critical rail infrastructure that produces public benefits and short term capital projects that create additional temporary bottlenecks.
The panel is charged with identifying and evaluating infrastructure investments and operational actions that will optimize Amtrak on-time performance and improve freight rail service. Its objectives are to minimize disruptions and delays, and accelerate the construction of infrastructure projects.
Chicago is Amtrak’s most important hub and many of its trains that operate to and from the city are suffering from poor on-time performance, dispatching issues and high levels of freight train interference. For example, delays of four hours or more for Amtrak trains operating between Chicago and Cleveland have become a near daily occurrence.
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