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October 13, 2016 10:00 AM, EDT

Feds Want More Info on Proposed Great Lakes Basin Freight Railroad

Miles Davis/Flickr

The federal Surface Transportation Board wants to know how many trains would run on the proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad and also wants more details on its planned connection to the South Shore Freight Railroad.

Those are among questions the federal agency sent to Great Lakes Basin Transportation as it continues to work on a draft environmental impact statement for the project.

The proposed Great Lakes Basin Railroad from the LaPorte, Indiana, area to southeast Wisconsin, would circle Chicago to serve as a freight rail bypass around the congested city.

RELATED: Controversial proposal for $8 billion private freight rail to bypass congested Chicago

In letters dated Sept. 9 and Oct. 11, STB’s Office of Environmental Analysis detailed eight additional topics on which it wants more information than was provided in the railroad’s plans.

The federal government’s Sept. 9 request asked for “the average number of trains per day forecasted for each segment for the first year of operations” and for a “reasonably foreseeable timeframe” after that. It also asked for the average speed at which trains would travel, and the average length of trains.

That information is due Nov. 10.

On Oct. 11, among the information requested by STB was “the end-to-end travel time and corresponding rail length above which the project would not be commercially feasible”; details on a “railport” planned for the Manteno, Illinois, area; an “explanation of the relevance of the Kingsbury branch connection to South Shore Freight; and identification of “anchor points” along the route that are necessary for the feasibility of the project.

That information is due Nov. 30.

The Great Lakes Basin Railroad would run nearly 280 miles from the LaPorte area around Chicago to Milton, Wisconsin. More information is available at greatlakesbasinraileis.com on both the railroad and the federal approval process.