UP aims to begin triple-tracking near Geneva, Ill., in spring 2020

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Metra Train No. 25 arrives at Geneva, Ill., on May 7, 2019. Union Pacific hopes to begin triple-tracking this section of main line in the spring of 2020.
TRAINS: David Lassen

GENEVA, Ill. — Union Pacific is aiming to begin the triple-tracking of a section of its main line through Geneva in the spring of 2020, a railroad representative told Geneva’s aldermen this week.

The long-discussed project would address a little more of eight miles of double track centered around Geneva, closing one of two remaining gaps in the otherwise triple-track mainline between Elburn, Ill., and downtown Chicago used by both Union Pacific freight trains and Metra’s Union Pacific West commuter line. Work is already in progress on the other section, between River Forest, Ill., and UP’s Proviso Yard.

The Daily Herald reports that Liisa Stark, Union Pacific’s assistant vice president of public affairs, told alderman that the railroad needs to purchase a few parcels of land and receive a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before proceeding. It would then put the project out to bid, and anticipates 18 to 24 months of construction. The project is estimated to cost $188 million. Alderman gave preliminary approval to sell some land and allow construction easements on additional property to the railroad at a cost of more than $646,000.

Because of Metra operations, there is a curfew on freight traffic through the area from 6-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. most days, leading to major congestion, Stark explained.   

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