Primary Features



  • The GLBR project would be built on a 200-foot wide right of way along its 244 mile long mainline corridor. The branchlines to Kingsbury, IN and Rochelle, IL would be built on a 100 foot right of way for a total of 16 miles. The ROW will allow the construction of the railroad to meet capacity needs in the near term and allow for expansion as the economy and future demand requires, and along with access to points of interchange.

  • It is anticipated that GLBR would provide switching, servicing, and car and locomotive repair services to its railroad customers, as well as terminal services for which those customers may contract.

  • GLBR plans to build a terminal for its rail operations between Manteno and Sollitt, Illinois, which is bordered by the Canadian National Chicago Subdivision on the west and the Union Pacific/CSX Villa Grove Subdivision on the east.

  • Initially, most of the route would be configured with two main FRA Class 5 tracks permitting up to 70 mph operation with short stretches of 3 main tracks where capacity demand is higher. There is a single main track section in northern Illinois and Wisconsin, signaled with long sidings to manage traffic flow for the train volume in the area.  The branchlines to Kingsbury, IN and Rochelle, IL will be built with a single main track and the Kingsbury line will have some sidings to manage train movements.

  • The two main tracks, with Centralized Traffic Control signals and Positive Train Control, would allow for unconstrained movements of up to 110 trains per day.



  • Rail traffic moving between terminals and interchange points in Chicago can take up to 30 hours to transit through the Chicago terminal, whether moving as a unit train or a single carload.

  • The GLBR project is designed to reduce transit time to under 8 hours, depending on the specific interchange points and applicable speed restrictions on the train.

  • To illustrate the potential benefits of improved velocity, consider that a typical unit train currently spends 15 days in a load/empty cycle, including 60 hours (2.5 days) of round-trip transit time going through Chicago. By utilizing the GLBR route, transit time around Chicago would be reduced to 0.6 days. Over a one year period this velocity improvement would allow for 3 more load/empty cycles for each unit train.

  • The same velocity improvements can be applied to intermodal and carload trains by building designated by-pass trains around Chicago from classification yards, block swapping yards, and intermodal terminals in North America. This would be accomplished with existing terminals and yard operations.

  • If approximately 100 trains a day (out of the 500 freight trains operating in the Chicago area during a typical 24-hour period) utilize GLBR’s proposed rail line, the national freight velocity improvements would save hundreds of hours every day.




  • To keep GLBR’s network fluid, the GLBR route design would be based on:

    • ruling grades of 1% or less;

    • maximum degrees of curvature between 1 and 3 degrees, allowing trains to maintain higher speeds;

    • GLBR will flyover high traffic density rail lines eliminating train delays waiting for each other to cross;

    • numerous grade separations at significant highway and road crossings.

  • There are two branch lines on the route with these design parameters:

    • ruling grades of 1% or less;

    • maximum curvature of 6 degrees or less;

    • maximum operating speed of 49mph.

  • The design proposed by GLBT would minimize the impact from heavy rains to reduce flooding potential and would manage snowfall impacts through snow fencing, barriers, switch heaters, plowing, and a winter operations management plan.




  • GLBR’s competitive advantage would be created through increasing velocity, as stated above. By reducing transit time through the Chicago area by up to 72%, GLBR would significantly improve the utilization of locomotives, cars, and crews, permitting more efficient freight movement.

  • The reduced transit times created by the GLBR rail line would:

    • create more revenue opportunities for the Class 1 railroads,

    • reduce fleet costs for shippers providing their own equipment, and

    • give shippers an incentive to move more product by rail through northern Illinois instead of utilizing trucks or alternate gateways.

  • As mentioned above, 50 feet of the 200-foot GLBR right of way would be reserved for possible use by utilities as a new right of way to serve potential future population growth of the region. This is another potential source of revenue for GLBR.

  • In the long term, the GLBR rail line should facilitate economic growth throughout the region by offering new opportunities for development that could take advantage of the rail service provided by GLBR.




  • GLBR would improve railroad safety by diverting traffic presently moving through the densely populated Chicago terminal area over a newly constructed greenfield route that avoids major population centers.

  • The GLBR rail line would be equipped with modern safety features like Centralized Traffic Control and Positive Train Control.

  • The rail would be all new, manufactured with the latest rail casting methods to minimize defects, and equipped with electronic defect detectors to monitor trains as they traverse the network.

  • Running repairs could be accomplished at the GLBR Manteno shop facilities.

  • GLBR would train area first responders and contractors to handle rail incidents and provide them with appropriate shipment data and support.

  • GLBR also would work with Federal, state, and local security and police agencies to ensure shipment security.

  • By eliminating at-grade railroad crossings, GLBR would eliminate the risk of collisions at such crossings.

  • By minimizing highway-railroad grade crossings, GLBR would minimize both the potential for train-vehicle collisions and potential conflicts with the movement of public safety vehicles and school buses.

  • The avoidance of major population centers would minimize potential exposure to spills, releases, and other risks from derailments, while also limiting air, noise, and vibration impacts on settled areas.




  • Increasing the velocity of rail shipments presently traversing the Chicago terminal will reduce the number of locomotives idling for hours at today’s interchange points, creating environmental benefits.

  • Alleviating train congestion in Chicago will also reduce commuter and passenger train conflicts that presently result in passenger delays, and cut idle time for vehicles at railroad-highway grade crossings.

  • As indicated above, the GLBR line will facilitate the movement of freight by train instead of truck, which generally would reduce the environmental effects of those freight movements.

  • GLBR is designing the railroad as a complete Quiet Zone with no horn blowing at road crossings along the entire network.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc.

    ©2015-2017 by Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc.