Glenview Poised to Spend $400,000 to Fight Hiawatha Expansion

Despite being an Amtrak stop, Glenview, Illinois, is planning to spend up to $400,000 against a plan that would result in the expansion of Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee.

The effort is not a fight against the expansion per se, but the construction of a siding along the route of the trains, which is also used by Metra commuter trains and Canadian Pacific freight trains.

The departments of transportation of Illinois and Wisconsin have proposed increasing the frequency of service between Chicago and Milwaukee by three additional roundtrips.

As part of that effort, a holding track would be constructed to allow CP freight trains to clear the main while waiting for permission to get onto Union Pacific tracks as part of the journey to a CP yard in Bensonsville.

Glenview expects to spend the funding for lobbying, research, and potential litigation against the plan, with the first $50,000 to go to a public relations firm for work including “development/refinement of core messages and themes” and media relations.

Some Glenview residents have argued that the siding would increase freight traffic and result in freight trains waiting for long periods of time in residential neighborhoods.

In a 2017 letter, now-retired Metra CEO Don Orseno disputed some of those concerns.

“It is well documented that the fluctuations in freight traffic are driven by fluctuations in economic activity, not by the given capacity of a given rail line,” he wrote.

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One Response to “Glenview Poised to Spend $400,000 to Fight Hiawatha Expansion”

  1. Ron P Says:

    Amtrak can add capacity on the existing service, but the price to be paid, the quid pro quo, for increasing round trip service on the Hiawatha is greatly expanded freight traffic. This connection has been slow to creep out from the shadows where it has been festering, so thanks to the author for exposing it. Hunter Harrison’s “precision scheduled railroading” has already made a significant impact on the residents and environmentally sensitive ecosystems in the vicinity of the proposed holding tracks in Glenview and Lake Forest. We don’t need to expand that intrusion any further.

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