Chicago Metro Area getting its first new freight railroad in over a century?

Privately-funded eight billion dollar Great Lakes Basin Railroad would be a beltway from La Porte, Indiana, to Milton, Wisconsin. Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc. is offering up to $20K/acre for land on the proposed route.

Interesting. Kind of a latter-day, modest equivalent to the interstate beltways, mainly built 1955-1975, which both responded to and encouraged the linking up of suburbs and exurbs, until many became “Edge Cities” – economic engines in their own right, not just residential neighborhoods.

Let’s just say interest from the Class I railroads is modest at best.

Don’t break out the champagne just yet. One of the principle railroads, Union Pacific, is getting cold feet.

UP is being hit by dropping coal and oil shipments. The enlarged Panama canal opening this summer may hit container carloads as well.