Amtrak-Hiawatha Proposal


Plans under review to increase Amtrak’s Hiawatha service from seven to 10 round trips daily between Chicago and Milwaukee would impact the Village of Glenview at multiple locations.

Village officials have a number of concerns ​​​​about the proposals, which are currently going through the environmental and needs assessments process by the Federal Railroad Administration, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and other agencies.

Adding the three additional daily train runs would impact not only the tracks Amtrak shares with Metra east of Harlem Road/Lehigh Avenue, but also the Union Pacific tracks through west Glenview that cross West Lake Avenue, Shermer Road and Willow Road.

The proposed changes would impact Glenview by blocking traffic six additional times in the afternoon and evening that's trying to cross Metra’s Milwaukee District North tracks, which may increase traffic back-ups and noise on Glenview Road and Dewes Street.

Specific neighborhood concerns include (see map):

  1. A new switch and universal crossover would be installed for Metra’s Milwaukee District North tracks south of Dewes Street. Trains switching tracks could be noisy and disturb the predominantly residential area.
  2. To accommodate the additional Amtrak trains on the Metra tracks and alleviate existing service delays, freight trains would be held on the Union Pacific tracks in west Glenview. That would require that an additional 2-mile holding track be constructed adjacent to the existing tracks from about West Lake Avenue to past Willow Road. The new holding track would allow a freight train to be parked until it is assured clear passage on the Union Pacific tracks to the Canadian Pacific’s Bensenville freight yard. The new single track would be supported by a 10-foot- to 20-foot-tall retaining wall, require modifications to the West Lake Avenue at-grade crossing, and require a new bridge be built next to the recently-constructed replacement Shermer Road railroad viaduct.

Representatives of the railroads have been discussing the improvements desired to accommodate the increase to 10 round trips daily of Amtrak’s Hiawatha service since 2012. The Village of Glenview was informed in February 2015 of the location and specific infrastructure improvements, and immediately expressed concern.

A draft Chicago-Milwaukee Environmental Assessment was released October 6, 2016 indicating that no significant environmental impacts are anticipated to occur as a result of the proposed expansion plans.

Read the assessment here

According to the agencies' original timetable, the Federal Railroad Administration was expected render its decision in early 2017, but the process has been extended due to requests for additional analyses (see updates below). Once the Environmental Assessment is officially submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, if a "Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)" is the result, the agencies could then pursue federal funds to implement the project.

The Village will continue to monitor the progress of the proposals and provide information on this web page. If you would like to be emailed updates when the Village receives them, please submit your email to:


The Village is closely monitoring the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railways.

Between 2014-19, the Village, with strong support from the community, vigorously opposed an effort to install a holding track in Glenview. A holding track serves to park freight traffic to allow the passage of passenger railcars. The Illinois Department of Transportation, along with state and local officials, ultimately agreed with the Village, determining a holding track was not a viable solution with significant environmental, health and public safety impacts.

The topic re-emerged recently not as a condition of the merger, but as a condition from Metra if the merger were approved. The Surface Transportation Board is currently reviewing the matter, and the Village has transmitted a public comment stating our direct opposition of the holding track.​

A copy of the Village’s transmittal can be read here​.

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