GENEVA – Union Pacific’s plan to add a third rail to the UP/Metra West Line from Kress Road in West Chicago to Peck Road in Geneva will begin next summer, officials stated at the Nov. 6 Geneva City Council meeting.
Adrian Guerrero, director of public affairs for Union Pacific, said the railroad’s real estate team is working with adjacent property owners to acquire land for the project.
Once all the surveys and appraisals are completed, the railroad will be making offers to property owners early next year with construction to begin by summer, Guerrero said. Construction is expected to last 24 months, he said.
The railroad has three commuter lines – north, northwest and west, which is the Geneva line, Guerrero said. All but two segments have three tracks, one of which is on the Geneva line, and the lack of a third track causes freight trains to be backed up to make way for commuter trains, he said.
“You see … 60 Metra trains a day and then over 50 trains [of Union Pacific] freight [trains] a day on this line,” Guerrero said. He went on to explain further that there are two major bottlenecks on the line where freight trains on a daily basis are "backed up across Iowa."
“Because of the two bottlenecks we are essentially … withholding our freight traffic, our core franchise, from operating six hours of the day,” Guerrero said.
Freight lines are stopped three hours for the morning rush, from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and three hours for the evening rush, from 4 to 7 p.m., Guerrero said.
The project was done in four phases: safety improvements, station improvements, grade separations in other communities and stations, with the fourth and last phase now to add the third rail between West Chicago and Geneva, Guerrero said.
Guerrero's presentation is available through the city's website, www.geneva.il.us