Digest: Effort to restart Chicago-Rockford passenger service takes step forward

News Wire Digest second section for Sept. 25: Wisconsin town settles dispute with CN over auto, intermodal facility; Meeting, study to explore commuter rail service on California's Central Coast
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A Metra train arrives at the Big Timber station on the Milwaukee West line. A proposed Chicago-Rockford, Ill., passenger service would use the Milwaukee West line to Big Timber, where it would switch to Union Pacific tracks to reach Rockford. Metra is a potential operator of the service.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Friday morning rail news:

Project manager selected for Chicago-Rockford passenger effort
The long-running effort to restore passenger rail service between Chicago and Rockford has moved forward, with the Illinois Department of Transportation hiring engineering services firm WSP USA as the proposal’s project manager. The Rockford Register Star reports state Sen. Steve Stadelman announced the move in a press release, saying that Amtrak or Metra could operate the service, and that the state DOT has begun discussions with host railroad Union Pacific about infrastructure work necessary to host the service. The proposed service would use Metra’s Milwaukee District West line to Elgin, then use UP’s tracks to Rockford. The community was last served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Dubuque Black Hawk, which was discontinued in 1981.

Richmond, Wis., reaches settlement with CN over auto and intermodal facility
Richmond, Wis., has settled its dispute with Canadian National over CN’s plans to build a new auto handling and intermodal facility in the town of New Richmond, approximately 40 miles east-northeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul. RiverTowns.net reports that, under an order issued by Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, the town will receive $175,000 to close 105th Street to allow a connection from CN’s main line to the new 58-acre facility [see “California High Speed Rail, LA Metro announce agreement ...,” News Wire Digest, April 22, 2020]. The attorney representing the town told the news site the agreement was “not perfect” but “meets the needs of the town and its taxpayers. It preserves emergency access, minimizes mixing of heavy trucks and passenger vehicles, keeps heavy trucks from direct access to other town roads, and allows the town to not have to redirect budgeted road funds to engineering and legal fees.”

Study, meeting to explore prospects for commuter rail on California's Central Coast
An online meeting is set for Sept. 30 as part of a study considering the possibility of regional rail service on California’s Central Coast. New Times SLO reports the meeting is part of a rail feasibility study being conducted byt the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments and the Coast Rail Coordinating Council. The two agencies began work on the study in March, which seeks ways to increase and improve the region’s rail options — both by better coordinating rail and bus service, and considering the feasibility of rail service connecting communities in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties such as Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Maria.

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