union stations

you should have gone to a rail fan for advise on this

first what you said is mostly true about most union stations except you ignored the big lake next to Chicago

first all trains going east from Chicago have to go south otherwise they would drown their passengers in the lake, very bad for repeat customers

as for going a bit west first it was done for two reason, to avoid the massive rail crossing mess going from Chicago’s south side to gary At each one a chance you could or did wait 15 minutes to hours to cross, that would be the grand trunk pass though Griffen. the two others B+O and the Pennsylvania they took their route along Western ave because their mainlines went southeast of Chicago to the east

this is how it works in the real world New York Central and the Pennsylvania both went NYC to Chicago with their best name trains. the NYC trains went much faster than the Pennsy but they got to Chicago at the same time because the Pennsy took the short route but had to cross the mountains and valleys slowly due to a lot of ups and downs and curves. where as the NYC took the long flat water level route. On the NYC two hours out on your trip you were a hundred miles further form Chicago than when you started

Chicago never hard one union station because like today it really does not make sense, first the track and yards for these station still cover hundreds of acres in Chicago today
they were bigger back in the day when hundreds more trains came here. consolidating them would have a great transportation point but a economic dead zone of square miles

secondly all the trains went to the same places minutes apart, and they left Chicago like els every few minutes. a different station keep you customers from other railroads for example if you bought a ticket to STPaul at union station you had to pick the Burlington or Milwaukee both had pullman and coach trains going there
you split the market but two blocks north the Chicago +Northwestern had the St Paul customers all to themselves if you went into their station

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