• Chicago Subdivision: West Hinsdale interlocking

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by chirailfan
This post is also posted in the Chicagoland Commuter & Transit -> Construction and Projects thread.

Took a drive through the Hinsdale area along the BNSF Chicago Sub earlier this evening. While crossing the tracks at Monroe Street (east end of West Hinsdale interlocking) I noticed the crossovers were reconfigured. West Hinsdale is not a universal interlocking. If you're going west, mains 1 and 3 have crossovers that go to center main 2. Going east, a train can come off main 2 and go to either mains 1 or 3. About 1.5 miles to the east of West Hinsdale is another set of partial crossovers at Highlands. At that point, going west a train can come off main 2 and go to mains 1 or 3. Going east, a train can enter main 2 from mains 1 or 3.

The configuration of the crossovers was changed at West Hinsdale. Eastbound train traffic can now enter main 2 from mains 1 or 3. Westbound traffic can now enter mains 1 or 3 from main 2. I wonder if West Hinsdale is being converted into a full universal interlocking location. The area where the plant sits contains a part time train station and an at grade secondary road that crosses the tracks at the station.
  by Engineer Spike
Traditionally the express trains served groups of stations. The crossovers were configured to allow for trains to run express, then hit the required stations on tracks 1 and 3. If I read your post correctly, then it appears that they reversed the directions that the crossovers faced?

I read somewhere that the bridge for the Tri State is being rebuilt. Maybe the traffic patterns must be reconfigured for the project. One other thought is that the express train station groups are being changed. Changes in ridership may have made more or less stations in the group, for example some expresses only stop at 59 and Naperville, others at Lisle, and the 3 DG stations....... I’ve been away too long to remember how the stations between Westmont and La Grange were served.
  by chirailfan
The Highlands crossovers were also reconfigured. Going east, track 2 can switch onto tracks 1 and 3. Going west, tracks 1 and 3 can go to track 2. Hinsdale was also the first or last stop for some express trains. Those trains would also make stops at West Hinsdale (now temporarily closed for platform replacement), Clarendon Hills, Westmont, and Fairview.

When the schedule was revised for PTC several years ago, Naperville and Route 59 were broken up on afternoon express trains to relieve crowding. From June 2018 when the schedule was revised for PTC until earlier this spring when service was reduced due to the pandemic, Naperville was the second of three stops. Lisle and Aurora were the other two stops. For Route 59, it is the last stop with Downers Grove and Belmont the prior two stops. I have read changing the stopping patterns for these express trains have actually equaled out passenger distribution.

Never would I have thought that an 11 car train making two stops at two of the busiest outlying stations in the system would not be enough.