Canadian Pacific

Canadian Pacific

CP's operations in and around Chicago are intertwined with those of Metra and Norfolk Southern, making for a rather complex picture.

C&M Subdivision

This former Milwaukee Road / Soo Line main runs to Milwaukee and the Twin Cities. The C&M Sub extends from Tower A-2 at Metra's Western Avenue station north to Milwaukee, passing through Pacific Junction (Tower A-5), Mayfair, Techny (Tower A-20) and Rondout.

Between Milwaukee and Rondout, the line is owned, maintained and dispatched by CP, but from Rondout to Tower A-2, Metra owns and maintains the infrastructure while all train movements continue to be dispatched by CP. Traffic is heavy with commuter trains between Towers A-2 and A-5, but about half of them (the Metra Milwaukee West and North Central trains) leave the C&M at A-5, and head west on the Elgin Sub (see below). From A-5 north to Techny (Tower A-20), the remaining Metra trains (Metra Milwaukee North service) are joined by a few CP freights. The majority of CP freights, however, access or leave the C&M at Tower A-20. Metra Milwaukee North Trains travel to Rondout where they diverge onto the Fox Lake Sub (again, see below). Finally, Amtrak's Hiawatha trains and the Empire Builder use the C&M to Milwaukee.

From Western Avenue to Union Station, traffic consists entirely of Metra and Amtrak trains. The tracks between A-2 and Lake Street are owned and dispatched by Metra. From Lake Street into the station, traffic is controlled by Amtrak's train directors at Union Station.

Elgin Subdivision

This line is a former Milwaukee Road / Soo Line property, and extends west from Tower A5 at Pacific Junction through Cragin, Franklin Park and Bensenville to Elgin. As with the C&M sub, the Elgin is owned and maintained by Metra but dispatched by CP. Beyond Elgin, the line runs west through Iowa to Kansas City and belongs to CP, who acquired it in 2008 through its purchase of the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern. Located west of the Franklin Park interlocking (still called "Tower B-12" though the tower has been moved and is no longer in operation) is CP's Bensenville Yard. CP freights running east from the yard either leave the Elgin sub at Franklin Park for the Indiana Harbor Belt or at Cragin for the Belt Railway main. A few continue east to Tower A-5 where they head north on the C&M Sub. Freights from other Class 1 roads can be seen operating on the Bensenville-Franklin Park-Cragin segment. West of the yard, traffic consists primarily of Milwaukee West commuter trains and a few CP freights. CN's Waukesha sub connects with CP and IHB at Franklin Park. No Amtrak trains operate on this sub.

Fox Lake Subdivision

This subdivision originates at Rondout, this sub is a former Milwaukee / Soo branch that extends through Prairie (Grayslake) Crossing to Fox Lake, As before, the infrastructure is owned and maintained by Metra but is dispatched by CP. Beyond Fox Lake into Wisconsin, the track is owned by Wisconsin Southern. Traffic consists mostly of Metra's Milwaukee North trains that leave the C&M sub at Rondout and terminate at Fox Lake. A Wisconsin Southern freight can be seen on most days, and an occasional CP local uses the route as well.

The C&M, Elgin and Fox Lake Subs illustrate the intricate relationship between CP and Metra. According to the CP timetable, Metra has jurisdiction over all their commuter trains, including schedules, train and engine crew assignments, and power and equipment distribution. However, the Metra trains are governed by CP rules, timetable and general orders. Tower A-2 is manned by Metra operators, but B-17 (Bensenville) tower is staffed by CP employees. Tower A-5 was closed in 2017 but is still used by Metra for other purposes. The towers do most of the routine dispatching in the Chicago area, but CP dispatchers in Minneapolis have ultimate authority.

Canadian Pacific trackage rights

CP has no route of its own between Chicago and Detroit/eastern Canada. Using Norfolk Southern trackage rights, CP trains from Detroit travel southwest on the ex-Wabash main to Butler, Indiana where via a northwest quadrant connection built in 2005, they access the NS's ex-Conrail Chicago Line. They then proceed due west to the Chicago area. CP has its own facilities and crew-change point at Elkhart, Indiana.

CP trackage rights in the Chicago area: Upon reaching northwest Indiana, CP trains headed for Indiana Harbor Belt's Gibson or Michigan Avenue yards leave the Chicago Line at Indiana Harbor (CP 502) and head south on IHB's Kankakee Line. The majority of CP trains, however, continue on the Chicago Line past CP 502 and access the Belt Railway at Rock Island Junction (CP 509). They then travel west on the Belt and either enter Clearing Yard or else head north on the Belt via the 67th Street wye, passing through 55th Street crossing and Hawthorne. At Cragin Junction they reach the Elgin Sub and proceed west through Franklin Park to Bensenville Yard.

Another major use of trackage rights can be found in Chicago's north suburbs. CP trains coming south from Milwaukee leave the C&M sub at Techny and access Union Pacific's Milwaukee Sub (often called the "New Line"), which runs southwest through Deval and then south around O'Hare Airport. At Bryn Mawr, CP trains leave the Milwaukee and head south on their own trackage to Tower B-17 at the west end of Bensenville. This short stretch of track is technically part of the C&M sub. Most CP freights use this route, but a few continue south on the C&M past Tower A-20 to Tower A-5 and take the Elgin sub to the east end of the yard.

Although its hump was closed around 2010, Bensenville Yard remains CP's major Chicago facility. CP's intermodal facility is also centered at Bensenville.


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