Bensenville / Bryn Mawr

Location

Bensenville Junction is at the west end of Canadian Pacific's ex-Milwaukee Bensenville Yard, and may be reached from downtown Chicago by taking the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) to York Road. Head north on York about three miles. Just past the Green Street stoplight is Railroad Street which runs along the south side of tracks leading from the yard. The junction is about two blocks east of York and alongside Railroad Street.

This location is easily reached from Franklin Park Junction. Just get back on Franklin Street and head west. Franklin becomes Green Street and runs along the south side of the yard for much of the way to Bensenville. Although CP has erected fences, some decent views of the yard are possible from the road. When you reach Bensenville, turn right on York Road and head north briefly to the tracks and Railroad Street.

Another way to get here is simply to take a Metra Milwaukee West Line commuter train to the Bensenville station and walk east a few blocks. The trains depart from Union Station in downtown Chicago.

The Railroads

The tracks alongside Railroad Street are the Metra Milwaukee West Line, carrying Metra commuter trains to Elgin where they terminate. West of Elgin, the tracks belonged to Iowa, Chicago & Eastern (controlled by Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern) until 2008. DM&E had purchased the route from I&M Rail Link in 2002, who in turn had bought it from CP in the mid 1990s. Ownership has now come full circle with CP's buyout of DM&E/IC&E. Entering from the northwest is CP's double track extension from Union Pacific's ex-C&NW "New Line". The New Line is a freight-only and begins in the north shore suburb of Northbrook, diverging to the southwest from UP's north-south Milwaukee freight line. At Techny, just north of the now closed Glenwood Naval Air Station, there is a connection from the Metra/CP ex-Milwaukee Road main line to the New Line. Most CP freights coming south from Wisconsin transfer there to the New Line, which continues southwest through Deval and then wraps around the west side of O'Hare Airport. CP trains use trackage rights on UP to a point about two miles north of here (see below for more on this location), where they access their own tracks to Bensenville Yard. In the above photo you are looking north. The foreground tracks are the Milwaukee West Line, and the curving tracks in the background are those leading off the New Line into the yard (UP trains on the New Line continue on south another three miles to Proviso Yard).

Traffic here is moderate through most of the day with heavy commuter traffic during rush hours. The only freight traffic on Metra is an occasional CP/ICE freight, but the New Line connection sees more frequent traffic--about 15 to 20 CP trains a day. Some switching moves at the west end of the yard are observable here as well. Tower B-17 is still in operation and controls the junction. It is staffed by CP operators.

The control point where CP splits off from UP's New Line is known as "Bryn Mawr." It is right alongside York Road, south of Devon Avenue and about two miles north of the Bensenville interlocking. South of Bryn Mawr, the CP and UP lines parallel each other for a ways, then UP curves east and then heads south again on a viaduct that passes over Bensenville Yard about a mile and a half east of the Tower B-17. Traffic at Bryn Mawr is easily seen from York Road, but the area is currently the scene of heavy construction. O'Hare is undergoing a long-term expansion of its runways and the UP route is being rerouted to the south of the present alignment. The new alignment is easily seen from York Road and Railroad Street.

Frequencies

Metra/CP: 161.520, 161.430
UP: 160.890, 161.040

Accessibility

Bensenville. Railroad Street is public property but this area is in transition because of the O'Hare expansion. Most buildings south of Railroad Street have been demolished as part of the expansion project. It's not clear whether Railroad Street will still be a public roadway when everything is finished, or even whether it will still exist. For now, however, Railroad Street is drivable, but there have been reports of Bensenville police chasing away people who were parked here.
Bryn Mawr. Heavy construction is underway in this area. The new UP alignment is the main project. It's probably best to avoid this location for now.

For more on the Metra Milwaukee West Line, see Franklin Park, Cragin and Western Avenue. See also Other North Side Junctions for Pacific Junction.

For more on the UP/CP New Line, see Deval. See also Techny at Other North / Northwest Suburban Junctions; see Spaulding on the same page for more on IC&E.

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