Zoom and click on map items for more information.

Map Options

1. For a larger version of the map above, click here.

    *This map features .kmz information created on September 13, 2016.


2. For a satellite view of the route, click here.

    *This map features .kmz information created on September 13, 2016.


3. View the route on Google Earth:

A. Download the .kmz file from Google Drive by clicking the Download symbol in the top toolbar and upload to My Places on Google Earth Online.


B. 1. Download the .kmz file and Download Google Earth Pro for Desktop, it works on Mac or PC and is free.

2. Open Google Earth Pro. Google Earth Pro requires a license key. If you do not have a key, use your email address and the key GEPFREE.

3.  To add the .kmz file, go to File > Open > select the .kmz file > and click open.

    *This route was created on September 13, 2016.


4. PDF Map:

Our Route

The Great Lakes Basin Railroad proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area. The purpose of the railroad is to improve capacity, velocity, reliability, revenue, safety, and the environment for expediting rail shipments around the Chicago rail hub and meeting the needs for future traffic growth. GLBT’s proposed rail line would start in northern Indiana, west of Pinola, IN at a junction with the Norfolk Southern headed south/southwest going east of Westville, IN, east of Valparaiso, IN, west of Wanatah, and South Wanatah, IN, north and west of Hebron, IN, crossing over Interstate 65, and north of Lowell, IN.  Crossing into Illinois going west towards Manteno,IL, crossing over Interstate 57, going west then southwest to cross the Kanakakee River, then turn west towards Gardner, IL to cross Interstate 55, turning northwest to cross the Illinois River east of Seneca, IL.  The railroad then turns north/northwest, crossing over Interstate 80, crossing the Fox River near Sheridan, IL and northwest around Paw Paw, IL, it continues north to Rochelle, IL, then northwest crossing over Interstate 39 and north to south of Rockford, IL.  At this point the railroad turns northwest and the mainline continues around the southwest side of Rockford, turning north along the west side of Rockford and into Wisconsin, then turns east going between Beloit and Janesville, WI crossing over Interstate 90, turning north going and continuing north to end with a connection to the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad east of Milton, WI.

The railroad will have two branch lines with one called the Kingsbury Subdivision starting with an interchange point in Kingsbury, IN with South Shore Freight and continuing on to connect with the mainline around Westville, IN.  The second branch is the CORR Subdivision, a short connection with the City of Rochelle Railroad on the southeast side of Rochelle, IL it will go over Interstate 39.

Our Approach

GLBT’s clean sheet approach to its proposed route takes into account the location of towns, residential areas, greenfield territory, and the locations where interchanges with other railroads will work after considering available alternatives. The major design precept was to avoid building the railroad through any towns. The route choice as presented takes into account our design precepts and 

environmental factors from the standpoint of making the least impact to the region while meeting the future needs of logistics in the United States. The route is designed to avoid major population centers. GLBT will work with the Surface Transportation Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis, which will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the project.


The GLBR route shown above would also involve four significant river crossings, all in the State of Illinois: Rock River in Ogle County; Fox River in LaSalle County; Illinois River in Grundy County; and Kankakee River in Kankakee County. The precise location, design and appearance of these bridges will depend on several factors, including environmental conditions.


It is important to understand that the map provided shows only the general location of GLBT's proposed route. The actual location of the railroad will depend on many factors, including geography, our intention to avoid cities, towns, and residential areas as much as possible, along with the location of rivers, creeks, wetlands, and other environmental features. GLBT anticipates that comments collected during the scoping process required under the National Environmental Policy Act will help identify places where the proposed route can be adjusted to account for these factors, and where it would be valuable to study the potential environmental effects of alternative alignments. Based on comments from the scoping period the newly designed preferred route is shown above. GLBT made changes to the route around Westville, IN, entrance into Kingsbury, IN Industrial Park, Lowell, IN, and around Rockford, IL to between Beloit and Janesville, WI, and Emerald Gove, WI.


In addition to Surface Transportation Board authority to construct and operate a new rail line, GLBT currently anticipates it may be required to obtain the following federal approvals for the GLBR project: permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and bridge permits under Section 9 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the General Bridge Act of 1946 from the U.S. Coast Guard.


GLBT will also work with the appropriate Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana state and local agencies, counties, municipalities, and other units of local government to inform them about the proposed new rail line and coordinate applicable regulatory processes.












To: Frank Patton


From: Steven I. Apfelbaum


Date: 28 March 2016


Re:  Great Lakes Basin Railroad - Flaw Analysis Data Screening process and Flexibility in Final Siting of Rail Corridor (AES Project Number:  16-0009)



Table 1 lists the data and information used in evaluating the existing conceptual routing of the GLBRR 200 foot wide corridor superimposed within an approximate ~ 5 mile wide route corridor. This larger route corridor width was created and evaluated so that should the exact location of the 200 foot wide corridor need to be refined during final routing and engineering design that there will be no surprises in placement of the GLBRR.


As with any siting of infrastructure projects, regulations dictated what natural resources must be avoided, and which may be impacted if impacts are unavoidable.  The process of drawing a line for a corridor on a map has this embedded evaluation and decision process. For example, while agricultural drainage ditches are considered “Waters of the USA” and regulated under Section 404 of the Federal Clean Water Act, we have placed the corridor in an attempt to minimize or avoid impacts to this and other types of natural resources in Table 1. We have also avoided cemeteries, known archeological resource areas, and as another example, have also attempted to not place the GLBRR in wetlands and floodplains. 


If in certain specific locations, moving the rail corridor closer to, or even impacting floodplains, wetlands or agricultural ditches becomes a necessary trade-off to avoid houses, or other natural resources or cultural resources, this is a process that would normally occur during the permitting process for a project such as this.


If the rail corridor must be moved to a location where a floodplain, agricultural ditch, or wetland is impacted, the remedy is to mitigate for these unavoidable impacts. Mitigation will require cooperation with regulatory agencies, and finding the right parcels where new wetlands, restored floodplains, or even new agricultural ditching can be design, engineered, permitted, constructed and monitored to receive agency approval that GLBRR has successfully met obligations under permits that would require this mitigation.


We have also attempted to avoid poor soils in siting the rail corridor. If we have to change a route to pass through or over poor soils, this can add significant cost to the construction and maintenance of a rail line. But, this can often be technically accomplished.


Keep in mind that Mitigation is costly and time-consumptive as it can take up to a year to negotiate with state and federal agencies the final approvals to obtain permits to do mitigation.


Table 1. Rail sighting criteria - Data to be used in Pre-NOI fatal flaw/challenging routing analysis.


1. Hydrologic Impact

a. Surface water

b. Hydric soils

c. Flood management functions, federal, state, county, municipal flood plain/flood ways

d. Federal and State regulated wetlands

e. Drainage ways - intermittent/perennial


2. Ecological/Habitat Impacts

a. Threatened and Endangered species of plants and animals

b. Protected habitat - state, federal, county wildlife areas

c. High Quality natural areas

d. Natural areas using public and non-publically available data sets.


3. Cultural impacts

a. Populated places: towns, cities, municipalities

b. Cemetery, airports, civil, post office, tower, churches, schools, towers, mines, parks

c. Cultural landmarks

d. Cultural National Register of Historic Places

e. Archeological sites  - Not available for public distribution


Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc.

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