Engineering team effort moves track

More than 35 Engineering employees completed a major undertaking Sept. 4.

A crossing at 67th Street just east of Cicero Avenue near Mariano Azuela Elementary School was replaced and realigned. During the two-week project, track was moved as much as 32 feet; it is now tangent. Removing the curve will extend the useful life of the track structure and crossing. 

Director of Engineering Track & Structures Scott Schiemann said the project required considerable planning and praised the craft, including Maintenance of Way and Signal, for their strong execution and collaboration. 

“I’m super proud,” he said. “It was a joint effort.” 

The crossing — which includes double main line and the Y track, which leads to the yard — was known for suffering gate failures and slowing traffic due to defects. He said it’s now safer for the public and trains. Roadmaster Tony Balich agreed.

“We really helped out the community,” he said. “It makes you feel good to get results.”

Balich characterized the scope of the work as impressive and praised the team for strong communication during the project. 

Signal installed new track cable and loop detectors as well as new radar equipment used to detect traffic. Signal Supervisor John Ramirez said the radar equipment is being trialed to determine effectiveness; it isn’t clear how well it will perform in Chicago’s climate.

“It’s great to see Engineering coming together and knocking out a project like this,” he said, adding they did a good job.  

Ramirez praised the team for having thorough job briefings and beating the heat by staying hydrated. He thanked BRC Police for visiting the team to distribute water and sports drinks. 

Employees complete a painstaking job. 
The new, straightened crossing