Thursday, October 9, 2014

16th Street Train Tracks To Provide Express Route to McCormick Place from O'Hare?

Public transit is near and dear to our heart.  It's something that makes Chicago a world class city and differentiates our metropolis from some of those sprawling, newfangled "western" cities.  Anyway, upon reading the Tribune today, we see that some Alderman are pushing for a new study to improve access to and from O'Hare and the downtown core (among other things):
Five aldermen well-versed in Chicago's transportation issues on Wednesday called for yet another study to examine the feasibility and cost of launching high-quality airport express train service for O'Hare International Airport, Union Station and McCormick Place. 
The proposal for the speedy, upscale service to be operated by Metra or Amtrak — or possibly under a public-private partnership — follows yearslong studies by the CTA and the city's transportation and aviation departments, as well as a separate state analysis that called on the expertise of the University of Illinois.

This isn't a new concept, but what might be interesting to some of us Sloopsters is that there is focus on McCormick Place and potentially looking at the 16th street:
One of the benefits, the resolution said, would be direct South Side Metra service to O'Hare, using an elevated freight line along 16th Street from the lakefront to Halsted Street and connecting ramps.  
The Department of Aviation, meanwhile, should conduct a new round of solicitations requesting information from train operators around the world, as well as financiers, on the feasibility of establishing the express train service to McCormick Place, running along tracks owned by Metra and the Canadian National Railway, the resolution said.
That's an interesting thought.  While we've heard various articles talk about the tracks at 16th (aka St. Charles Airline) this is the first we've heard about it being discussed as a route to O'Hare.

While this probably isn't going anywhere fast (the trains on this track...cue sarcastic drum run), it's still something worth keeping our eye on.

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