It’s Like The 606, Only With an Active Train Line Right Next to You


The City of Chicago is chugging ahead with another rails-to-trails plan. This one involves two miles of the elevated CSX viaduct just north of West Roosevelt Road between South Kostner Avenue and South California Avenue.

A section of the CSX embankment that may become The Altenheim Line rails-to-trails project. (Via Apple Maps)

“But wait,” your Chicago mind map says, “That isn’t abandoned. I’ve seen trains running on it.” You are correct, prophetic daemon. The City’s vision for this project includes sharing the viaduct with an active freight line. What could possibly go wrong?

To be sure, the designers and engineers who put this thing together will go to great lengths to make sure rollerbladers and rolling stock are safely separated. And it’s not like people get creamed by South Shore Electric trains every day, and they run right down the streets of Michigan City without any barrier. But still, it’s enough to make the worrier in us worry.

The idea is that the new trail, called The Altenheim Line, will run along the unused portion of the elevated structure where CSX has already pulled up its tracks. It looks like the City has about a hundred feet of width to play with. But expect that to be reduced by safety buffers and such.

If you missed the first public meeting about this back in August, you’re in luck. There’s another one tomorrow, October 7, 2021. Show up at DRW College Prep at 931 South Homan Avenue at 5pm. You can use this link to do the whole thing online, but you’ll miss the ability to take some coolio snaps of the original Sears Tower across the street.