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Brad Huff

Schematic Diagram of Rail Improvements – Chicago, Illinois

75th Street Rail Corridor – Chicago, Illinois

Telling a complex story in one graphic

The Chicago terminal is a critical junction in the national railroad network. One-quarter of the nation’s freight rail traffic and half of all intermodal trains travel through Chicago. In 2003, the State of Illinois, Cook County, and City of Chicago formed a unique public-private partnership with the freight and passenger railroads operating in the area. Through the CREATE program, the partnership is investing in critically needed improvements to increase the efficiency of the region’s passenger and freight rail network. It is a project of national significance.

The 75th Street rail corridor is the most complex and congested segment of railroad not just in Chicago, but perhaps all of North America. It includes Belt Junction, a five-to-two bottleneck which significantly impacts both passenger and freight rail traffic everyday. The 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project (CIP) calls for complex rail improvements to remove chokepoints, bottlenecks, and at-grade conflicts in the area. It would significantly improve rail movement through Chicago.

As part of an INFRA grant application for the project, I transformed the proposed improvements into understandable schematic graphics. Due to the complex nature of the 75th Street corridor, it was imperative to simply communicate the project’s significance to federal reviewers unfamiliar with the Chicago terminal and the CREATE program.

The final INFRA grant application is available online.

schematic diagram of the 75th street corridor improvement program rail improvements
Schematic diagram of rail improvements for the 75th Street CIP. Click the image for a high resolution pdf.
perspective view of proposed improvements to the Forest Hill and Belt junctions
A perspective view of proposed improvements to the Forest Hill and Belt junctions
schematic diagram of the 75th street corridor improvement program rail improvements
One-quarter of freight trains and half of all intermodal trains travel through Chicago