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Canadian Railroads > CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area


Date: 11/27/22 17:31
CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: 1218fantrip

As a disclaimer - in terms of starting a thread which describes the various routings, schedules, destinations, etc. for Canadian Pacific and Canadian National routings through the Chicago Metro area, I assume the "Canadian Railroads" forum is the most closely related form for this particular topic (especially since Chicago seems to sit "on the border" of "Eastern Railroads" and "Western Railroads" - thus "neutralizing" those two forums).  

In any event - given the somewhat complex nature of CN and CP routings through the Chicago area, I'd like to start a thread which more precisely identifies the various routings of trains of both railroads through the area. 

CN Routings:
Ever since CN acquired the EJ&E around 2009, it is clear (and obvious) that a lot of the CN's traffic coming southbound from Wisconsin (on the former Soo/WC) diverts to the former EJ&E in Mundelein and goes through Hoffman Estates, Bartlett, West Chicago, Aurora, Plainfield, Joliet, and Frankfort to where it meets up with the former north/south former Illinois Central mainline a few miles south of Markham Yard - where such traffic can either: (1) continue east on the EJ&E toward Gary, IN or further east into Michigan on the former GTW; (2) go north on the ex-IC toward Markham Yard; or (3) go south on the ex-IC toward southern IL, Memphis or New Orleans. Alternatively, a limited amount of traffic will continue south on the former Soo/WC down to Tower B12 with the junction of the former Milwaukee Road's west line toward Elgin, IL, and then either: (a) continue south to connect with the IHB; or (b) turn east on the former MILW Elgin Line (now owned by Metra and also used by the CP) toward Galewood, and then turn south on the BRC toward Clearing and other Eastern connections; or (c) in an extremely rare case, if ever post-2009, continue south on the former Soo/WC toward River Forest and Forest Park (where ownership of the track at Madison St. switches to CSX, formerly B&OCT) to go east along the Eisenhower Expressway (Interstate 290) to Cicero Ave., where traffic turns south on the BRC toward Clearing Yard).  

For the former Illinois Central Iowa Line - it appears that traffic routings have not markedly changed - freights coming from Dubuque, IA will proceed under the former EJ&E at Munger (Bartlett) and continue east to 21st/Canal (crossing the former Pennsy line into Union Station) and continuing to the northeast to the St. Charles Air Line - then to the former IC mainline south (near McCormick Place) toward Markham Yard and then either continuing south on the former IC mainline to southern Illinois/Memphis/New Orleans, or going east on the former EJ&E to Gary, IN or further east on the former GTW into Michigan/ON.  

CP Routings:
For CP trains coming into the Chicago area from Wisconsin on the former MILW, I understand that most traffic will divert to the southwest at Tower A-20 in Northbrook onto the joint CP/UP (former MILW/CNW) joint freight line and proceed to Bensenville at Tower B-17 (while some limited traffic of the CP and Wisconsin Southern will continue south toward Tower A-5 and then turn west on the former MILW Elgin line toward Galewood - CP freight will continue west toward Tower B-12 and Bensenville Yard, whereas Wisconsin Southern will do a "reverse move" at either Tower A-5 and/or at Cicero Ave. and then go south on the BRC toward Clearing Yard on the BRC).  

For CP traffic going east of Chicago out of Bensenville Yard - this is where things seem to get a little more complicated...

For CP traffic going east toward Ontario - CP trains can take the NS toward Detroit (per my understanding - east out of Bensenville Yard on the old MILW West line east past Tower B-12 and then past Galewoood Yard and then turning south on the BRC).  However, assuming an "NS" routing (rather than a "CSX" routing), once trains go to the East on the BRC near the intersection of Archer Ave/Cicero Ave (rather than going west into Clearing Yard), then when trains get to Pullman Junction, they can either turn toward the southeast and take the former NKP through Calumet Yard and then east on the former NKP mainline toward Ft. Wayne, IN (where they then turn northeast onto the former Wabash St. Louis-Detroit mainline (old "Wabash Cannonball" route) to go into Detroit and then through the Detroit River tunnels into Windsor, ON) or continue east through Pullman Jct. on the BRC to the former NYC/PC/Conrail main toward Elkhart, IN (and then join up with the former Wabash St. Louis-Detroit mainline near the Indiana/Ohio state line and proceed to Detroit/Detroit River Tunnels into Windsor, ON).

For CP traffic going to the CSX, it is my understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) that those trains coming out of Bensenville Yard will turn south at Towre B-12 and go south on the IHB/B&OCT line toward the former B&O Barr Yard near Blue Island, IL and then go east from there.  The CP double-stack intermodal from Chicago east to Toronto/Montreal (CSX Q165/166) will go from the CP's intermodal yard at Shiller Park (former Soo Line yard) south along the former Soo to Tower B-12 and then cross the ex-MILW Elgin Line and then divert onto the IHB just south of Tower B-12 and then take the IHB/CSX south past Barr Yard and then east on the CSX (former B&O) to Ohio, then former NYC/PC/Conrail northeast into Cleveland OH (including former NYC belt line around the south/east of Cleveland) to the former NYC mainline near Collinwood, OH to Buffalo/Niagra Falls and then to CP on Canadian side of Niagra Falls (and continue to Toronto/Montreal).  

So - My Questions Are As Follows:
1.  To what extent are my understandings above correct/incorrect?
2. Which particular CN/CP trains take which of the following routings above (including train numbers/symbols and approximate times of day)? 
3.  Any other comments regarding the foregoing issues/understandings?

Thanks in advance for all of your collective feedback and information!  



Date: 11/29/22 13:53
Re: CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: SOO6617

I can't comment on CN's routings, but for CP Traffic to and from Ontario via Detroit goes via the Harbor (IHB) to avoid congestion on the west end of the NS' Water Level Route and uses the former Michigan Central branch from Gibson Yd. to Porter, IN. From there trains run to Elkhart Yd where crews are changed. From there trains continue east on the former NYC to the crossing with the former Wabash at Butler, IN where CP paid to have NS build a connecting track in the NW quadrant so that CP trains can head to Detroit. Train pairs on this route are currently 130/131 to/from Toronto Agincourt Yd, 137/234  from Toronto Agincourt Yd with autoracks for IHB at Gibson Yd, 230/231 are the manifests from Toronto Agincourt Yd. The Intermodal from Schiller Park to Montreal via CSX are 142/143 when on CP. From the west into Chicago are Intermodals 148/149 from Vancouver, BC Roberts Bank containerport via Minneapolis, MN. From St. Paul Yd are manifests pair 246/247, from Nahant, IA are 252/253, from Tracy, MN are 254/255 (4 days per wk), and a pair from St. Paul Yd to BRC at Clearing Yd 248/249.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/29/22 20:16 by SOO6617.



Date: 11/29/22 19:24
Re: CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: 1218fantrip

Thanks for the additional info!  I ride Metra's Milwaukee West line every weekday and see quite a bit of CP/NS power on the mainline between tower B-12 in Franklin Park and Cragin Junction where the BRC splits off to the south - any ideas where these trains are headed to and from?  Clearing Yard on BRC, Calumet Yard on NS (former NKP Yard on south side of Chicago) or Elkhart on NS (former NYC)?



Date: 11/29/22 20:36
Re: CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: SOO6617

CP does not go to Calumet Yd nor does it interchange with NS at Elkhart Yd. CP has a crew base at Elkhart Yd and CP crews run west to Bensenville or east to Detroit. In the past CP has interchanged with NS at Ashland Ave. Yd but I don't know if that still is true today. Otherwise the most likely train is the St. Paul Yd to Clearing Yd pair 248/249. NS power is common on any train between the West and Chicago except for the Vancouver Intermodals. Don't forget that my list didn't include the many bulk trains carrying things like Ethanol, Grain, and Potash. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/22 00:20 by SOO6617.



Date: 12/01/22 19:56
Re: CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: 1218fantrip

I can see how NS is going to be run through power on almost any other western RR - but I pretty much almost never see CSX power going east to Cragin (but see NS power all the time between B-12 and Cragin).  CSX power in and out of East end of Bensenville pretty much always goes south on IHB at Tower B-12.  



Date: 12/02/22 18:39
Re: CP and CN Trains and Routings in Chicago Metro Area
Author: nickatnight

There is a relatively new railcam in Griffith, Indiana (on YT) which shows the increase in CN traffic transiting south Chicago. 

Nickatnight



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