Northern Ilinois Railroads

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This Stream is located near DeKalb, Illinois between the Union Pacific Geneva Subdivision (Former C&NW Main line) and the BNSF Aurora Subdivision. The stream receiver is located at the 1250 ft elevation level, excellent quality radio communications can be heard, including some distant dispatcher traffic along the Mississippi River. The map below displays the approximate listening area.

Here’s what you are listening to: (Stereo Feed - Utilizing two Motorola GM300 radios)

Left Channel:                                                                                            Right Channel:
Canadian National - Freeport Subdivision –                                            BNSF - Aurora Subdivision - AAR 70 - 161.16000

AAR 72 – 161.19000 / AAR 43 – 160.75500                                          BNSF - Barstow Subdivision - AAR 87 - 161.41500
                                                                                                                BNSF - Mendota Subdivision - AAR 85 - 161.38500

Canadian Pacific - IC&E Chicago Subdivision -

AAR 65 – 161.08500 / AAR 84 – 161.37000 /                                        Union Pacific - Geneva Subdivision (East) – AAR 52 – 160.89000
AAR 88 - 161.43000                                                                                 Union Pacific - Geneva Subdivision (West) – AAR 62 – 161.04000
                                                                                                                  Union Pacific - Peoria Subdivision – AAR 77 – 161.26500

BNSF Aurora Subdivision

Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Aurora Subdivision is part of the Northern Transcon connecting Chicago, Illinois to Seattle, Washington. This segment begins in Aurora, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, and heads west to the St. Croix Subdivision in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This mainline through Illinois is mostly single track, with sidings located about every 5-10 miles and double track for several miles through Rochelle, to accommodate passing trains. At Savanna the line becomes double track to the Twin Cities, except for a couple of short segiments in Wisconsin. This mainline is crossed by several other railroads along the way including the; UP Troy Grove Subdivision west of Waterman, the UP Geneva Subdivision in Rochelle, which also is the home of the Rochelle Railroad park and double track diamond, the CP-IC&E Chicago Subdivision in Savanna, the CN Freeport Subdivision at East Dubuque, and the CP Tomah Subdivision.  

BNSF Mendota SubdivisionThe BNSF Mendota Subdivision is a main line formerly the CB&Q Railroad. Beginning at the Aurora Subdivision and the Eola Yard, also fed from the Chicago Subdivision, this line heads southwest from Chicago to Galesburg, Illinois. It hosts about 40 freight trains a day, Amtrak Southwest Chief #3 and 4, California Zephyr #5 and 6, Illinois Zephyr #383 and 380, and Carl Sandburg #381 and 382. The sub crosses the Union Pacific Troy Grove Sub in Earlville, and interchanges with the Illinois Railroad in Zearing, and a different part of the Illinois Railroad in Montgomery.
Amtrak Mendota Subdivision

UP Geneva SubdivisionUnion Pacific’s Geneva Subdivision is the former Chicago & Northwestern main line across northern Illinois. Beginning basically in Chicago at Metra’s Ogilvie Transportation Center, it spans west to Clinton, Iowa where it becomes the Clinton Subdivision. The entire CTC main line is double track with triple track from Chicago to West Chicago seeing approximately 80 freight trains per day. There are several large rail yards along this route including Global 1 in Chicago, Global 2 at Proviso which also serves as a hump yard, and Global 3 located on the west side of Rochelle. Historic coaling towers span the main line at DeKalb and Nelson. Several smaller subdivisions originate from this main line including the; Belvidere Subdivision at West Chicago, the Troy Grove Subdivision at DeKalb, and the Peoria Subdivision at Nelson. Also at West Chicago the UP connects with Canadian National’s EJ&E line. The interlocking is controlled by a manned tower (JB Tower) which the UP routes a few trains per day on the EJ&E to Joliet/Global 4. There are two separate UP dispatchers controlling train movement along this route. Omaha dispatcher 11 controls the sub from Chicago to Elburn, including movements on the Belvidere sub. And dispatcher 12 oversees the remainder of the route from Elburn to Clinton, including the Troy Grove sub. Train traffic on the Peoria sub is controlled by the Peoria sub dispatcher. Defect detectors can be normally heard from MP46, 64, 78 and 95. This line is also referred to as the Metra UP West line handling passengers from Chicago to Elburn. Metra has coach yards located at Elburn, West Chicago and Western Avenue. Occasionally Metra’s commuter control dispatcher is heard directing passenger traffic.

UP Troy Grove Subdivision

The Union Pacific Troy Grove subdivision is a branch line which serves several customers in DeKalb and northern La Salle counties. The UP Troy Grove sub branches off the UP Geneva Sub main line on the east side of DeKalb, and heads southwest to Troy Grove, IL, roughly 35 miles to the southwest. The line crosses the BNSF Aurora sub west of Waterman, IL, and crosses the BNSF Mendota sub in Earlville, IL. Generally, the train originates from West Chicago, and runs Sunday through Friday. The UP always uses GP15's as head end power. The line is dark territory, thus track warrants are issued as trains go on and off the line at DeKalb. It services Nestle in DeKalb, as well as industry at the wye; however, the main customer is the silica sand mine, located in the community the line is named for.


CP Chicago Subdivision
Canadian Pacific's Iowa, Chicago & Eastern's Chicago Sub is the former Milwaukee Road main line across northern Illinois, sometimes referred to as the D&I for a predecessor road. It begins to the east at the village of Pingree Grove, just west of Elgin. East of that location is the double-track Metra-owned trackage to Bensenville, site of CP's Chicago-area yard. There are long sidings at Genoa, Davis Junction, Adeline (just west of Leaf River), and Kittredge (just east of Lanark). Any of these can be used for trains to meet.

As of November 2012, there are two daily trains in each direction: 272 & 273 which operate between Chicago (BRC) and Nahant Yard in Davenport, IA; and 470 & 471, which operate between Huron, SD and Chicago (Bensenville). The line also sees frequent ethanol trains, averaging one in each direction each day. These train numbers are in the 600's, such as 632/633, 640/641, and 644/645. The feed is an excellent way to hear trains getting track warrants on this single-track ABS-signaled line, or trains passing defect detectors at MP 53, 73, 98, and 125. There are remote control switches at Pingree Grove and Genoa that train crews will dial up as they approach to ensure proper switch position.

At Davis Junction, a branch extends northward to Rockford, Beloit, and Janesville and sees a daily local. This train originates in South Beloit and usually works Davis Junction in mid-morning until noontime or so. The Illinois Railway owns this north-south segment from Flagg Center (near Rochelle) to Rockford and operates a nightly local. The branch has poor track and is limited to 10 MPH.

There is not much online business but the daily trains often stop at Davis Junction to exchange cars for the Rockford branch, on either wye track or an interchange track west of the diamond referred to as the Hill Track. Agricultural customers at Byron and Leaf River are the most regular customers on the line which are served by the daily trains or a Savanna-based local. There is a four-mile branch at Byron that uses a short portion of the former Chicago Great Western main to cross the Rock River to access Comed's nuclear power plant south of town. This plant receives loads very infrequently.


CN Freeport Subdivision

The Canadian National Freeport Subdivision is the former Illinois Central and Chicago Central & Pacific Railroad. Beginning in Chicago it crosses northern Illinois to a small rail yard in Freeport, Illinois. This line has a combination of ABS and CTC. There are several sidings along this single track line which allow for trains to pass. There is one daily train in each direction: M337 & M338 which operate between Chicago and Dubuque. The line also sees occasional ethanol and grain trains, and a daily local based out of Freeport. Defect detectors are located at MP38 and 71. The dispatcher responsible for this line is referred to as the “RTC.” Between 1974 and 1981, Amtrak operated the "Black Hawk" over this route as far west as Dubuque; however no passenger service has operated over this route since then. Proposals exist to restore passenger service in the near future.