Grand Crossing logo at left, IDOT logo at right The Grand Crossing Rail Project logo Illinois Department of Transportation logo and link

About the Project

What is CREATE?

The Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program is a first-of its-kind partnership between the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), State of Illinois, City of Chicago, Metra, Amtrak, and the nation's freight railroads. A program of national significance, CREATE was developed to increase the efficiency of the region's rail infrastructure.

What is the Grand Crossing Rail Project?

Every day, six Amtrak trains on the Illini, Saluki, and City of New Orleans lines pass through Chicago's South Side, coming from Champaign, Carbondale, Memphis, and New Orleans. The route they currently travel is congested and does not provide direct access into Union Station, causing delays for rail passengers.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is working with FHWA, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to find solutions to these issues. The Grand Crossing Rail Project will examine alternate, less congested routes that would enable Amtrak trains to travel directly into Union Station. This will reduce delays and congestion on Chicago's South Side.

What are the project's potential benefits?

  • Alleviate rail congestion on Chicago's South Side
  • Enhance public safety
  • Promote economic development
  • Improve regional air quality
  • Reduce noise from idling or slow-moving trains
  • Improve Amtrak service while maintaining adequate freight capacity
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