Backing into Chicago Union Station

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dadonatrain

Service Attendant
Joined
Feb 17, 2022
Messages
206
Location
Easley, SC
Just curious. I looked at a blowup of the asm.transitdocs map of rail lines into Chicago’s Union Station ( which I commuted to and from many decades ago) and I’m asking which Amtrak routes back into the south platforms? From the map, it seems as if some do and not others.
 
I’m not sure about this, but I believe if they are “on time” most of them will, to be properly pointed for departure after servicing.
If running late, they may just head in, to facilitate connection’s, and turn later.
 
I believe that the trains that use the old Illinois Central tracks - the City of New Orleans, the Saluki and the Illini have to turn south and then back into Union station upon arrival. Upon departure they back out so that they can then turn east to head toward McCormack place and the old IC tracks.
 
I believe that the trains that use the old Illinois Central tracks - the City of New Orleans, the Saluki and the Illini have to turn south and then back into Union station upon arrival. Upon departure they back out so that they can then turn east to head toward McCormack place and the old IC tracks.
Not south but west. The Air Line joins the BNSF heading west. Arriving trains enter BNSF heading west coming in on the Air Line and then back into CUS. Departing trains depart reversing west onto BNSF and then head forward over the Air Line to join ex-IC.
 
The trains like the Empire Builder arriving on the North tracks of Union Station all head straight in. The ones that need turning do so after passing thru the station enroute to the service yard, or after they’re serviced…
 
Not south but west. The Air Line joins the BNSF heading west. Arriving trains enter BNSF heading west coming in on the Air Line and then back into CUS. Departing trains depart reversing west onto BNSF and then head forward over the Air Line to join ex-IC.
Unless something has changed very recently, the Air Line Bridge over the Chicago River is out of service and has been for a few years. The CONO, Illini, and Saluki now reverse via either the CN line towards St. Louis used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service or the NS line used by the East Coast and Michigan trains.
 
Unless something has changed very recently, the Air Line Bridge over the Chicago River is out of service and has been for a few years. The CONO, Illini, and Saluki now reverse via either the CN line towards St. Louis used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service or the NS line used by the East Coast and Michigan trains.
I was not aware of that. Thank you for the information. I surmise that it now uses the Freeport Subdivision to join the Chicago subdivision east of the Chicago River?
 
Unless something has changed very recently, the Air Line Bridge over the Chicago River is out of service and has been for a few years. The CONO, Illini, and Saluki now reverse via either the CN line towards St. Louis used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service or the NS line used by the East Coast and Michigan trains.
The Texas Eagle used to back into Union Station upon arrival .( as well as in Ft Worth due to the Infamous Tower 55/ Now abolished).

It also shared equipment with the CONO for awhile, I remember the announcements about the Sightseer Lounge being closed as we approached Chicago so it could be prepared for that evenings departure.
 
I was not aware of that. Thank you for the information. I surmise that it now uses the Freeport Subdivision to join the Chicago subdivision east of the Chicago River?
Yes, the Freeport Subdivision and NS Chicago Line are used interchangeably. My understanding was that the Air Line Bridge would eventually be restored, but that was a few years ago now so I'm not sure if that's likely in the near term.
 
Yes, the Freeport Subdivision and NS Chicago Line are used interchangeably. My understanding was that the Air Line Bridge would eventually be restored, but that was a few years ago now so I'm not sure if that's likely in the near term.
If CHIP funding at an adequate level happens then the out of service bridge next to the St, Charles Air Line Bridge is supposed to be repurposed for connecting an exit ramp from CUS to the Chicago Sub. Who know if and when that might happen. That I understand will eliminate the need for any backups.
 
If CHIP funding at an adequate level happens then the out of service bridge next to the St, Charles Air Line Bridge is supposed to be repurposed for connecting an exit ramp from CUS to the Chicago Sub. Who know if and when that might happen. That I understand will eliminate the need for any backups.
This was my understanding too. There are a lot of historical inconveniences/akwardnesses around the CUS approaches.
 
This is all,great! Just what I wanted to know.

My impetus for asking was I can watch the Railstream cam on the west line just past the 90degree bend south of the station and I was curious which trains I might see doing their wye as they arrive.

I believe that the trains that use the old Illinois Central tracks - the City of New Orleans, the Saluki and the Illini have to turn south and then back into Union station upon arrival. Upon departure they back out so that they can then turn east to head toward McCormack place and the old IC tracks.
This was what I thought too when I looked at the openrailwaymap blowup. Thx
 
St Charles airline bridge Google map reference:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8614226,-87.6345766,613m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

Zooom IN-OUT for more less detail location

This would have been possibly the connecting link ? between the Lasalle Terminal and Amtrak Metra
The bridge is permanently in the raised in-operative condition - the tracks on the east side of the
Chicago river are for the most part removed
 
St Charles airline bridge Google map reference:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8614226,-87.6345766,613m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

Zooom IN-OUT for more less detail location

This would have been possibly the connecting link ? between the Lasalle Terminal and Amtrak Metra
The bridge is permanently in the raised in-operative condition - the tracks on the east side of the
Chicago river are for the most part removed
That section of the air line was taken out of service to allow construction of the new Wells/Wentworth connector. Sometime during construction a contractor damaged an underground bridge cable. It likely won’t be put into service at a bare minimum until Metra completes its rebuild of the 16th St interlocking.
 
St Charles airline bridge Google map reference:

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8614226,-87.6345766,613m/data=!3m1!1e3?entry=ttu

Zooom IN-OUT for more less detail location

This would have been possibly the connecting link ? between the Lasalle Terminal and Amtrak Metra
The bridge is permanently in the raised in-operative condition - the tracks on the east side of the
Chicago river are for the most part removed
Interestingly they appear to have done some sub surface restoration work both on one of the OOU St. Charles Air Line tracks east of the river and also on the second track roadway of the Freeport Sub. So they would appear to have plans to restore stuff at some point.
 
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Was the St. Charles Air Line used for anything else besides Amtrak in recent years? Who currently owns it and who pays for maintenance/restoration?

I know Amtrak has a proposition to build a direct connection west/north south/east between the Air Line and the CUS throat in order to get its trains off the busy NS Chicago Line. Did they buy the Air Line in anticipation of that?
 
Not south but west. The Air Line joins the BNSF heading west. Arriving trains enter BNSF heading west coming in on the Air Line and then back into CUS. Departing trains depart reversing west onto BNSF and then head forward over the Air Line to join ex-IC.
…..
Unless something has changed very recently, the Air Line Bridge over the Chicago River is out of service and has been for a few years. The CONO, Illini, and Saluki now reverse via either the CN line towards St. Louis used by the Texas Eagle and Lincoln Service or the NS line used by the East Coast and Michigan trains.
…..
Yes, the Freeport Subdivision and NS Chicago Line are used interchangeably. My understanding was that the Air Line Bridge would eventually be restored, but that was a few years ago now so I'm not sure if that's likely in the near term.

Yes, and over the previous 4 calendar decades, I’ve ridden the CoNO into and out of CUS along all 3 paths, one time or another.

Back in 1990 well before the dissolution of Conrail, on departure we backed out of CUS, across the 21 St. lift-bridge and onto the former Pennsy main (now NS Chicago Line), and clear of the interlocking. We then pulled forward, along the interchange at the SE quadrant and northeast onto the former ICRR (CN) Freeport Sub, to 16th St. Tower, to South Wye Jct., and finally south onto the IC (CN) Chicago Sub main. That probably was the last time I recall backing out of the station on departure.

Back then South Wye Jct. still had been fully intact, from the days when the IC still used the Wye from IC’s Central Station for trains to Rockford and Dubuque and/or beyond — IC’s “Hawkeye” and “Land O’ Corn”. The northwest leg of that Wye has long been removed and currently is occupied by Mark Twain Park.
 
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Was the St. Charles Air Line used for anything else besides Amtrak in recent years? Who currently owns it and who pays for maintenance/restoration?

I know Amtrak has a proposition to build a direct connection west/north south/east between the Air Line and the CUS throat in order to get its trains off the busy NS Chicago Line. Did they buy the Air Line in anticipation of that?
CN uses it for freight - oil tank cars, timber, etc.
 

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