WBEZ | rail http://www.wbez.org/tags/rail Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago diners, side of extra crispy stories http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-05/chicago-diners-side-extra-crispy-stories-107167 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/116574941&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><a href="http://zeega.com/119065" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Diner%20Cover%20Image%20with%20click.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Take a tour of our area's oldest diners by clicking the photo. Turn up the volume, too!" /></a></p><p>The Slinger. The Jumpball. The Garbage Plate. The Deuces Wild RIP.</p><p>If you&rsquo;re a regular at Chicago-area diners, you may know that these are the names of some legendary signature specials. And if you don&rsquo;t yet, you&rsquo;re in for a treat because Curious Citizen <a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/440">Rachel Kimura asked</a> us:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rachel%20kimura.jpg" style="float: right; height: 150px; width: 200px;" title="Our question asker Rachel Kimura enjoying some diner fare. (Courtesy Rachel Kimura)" /></p><p>&quot;Where are the area&#39;s oldest diners and what are their stories?&quot;</p><p>Rachel elaborated: &quot;I love going to diners where it is evident that the waitresses and cooks have been around forever and probably have many stories to tell. I love that diners are a place where families, blue-collar workers, elderly couples, and hung-over twenty somethings can eat together.&quot;</p><p>Me too, Rachel. When Curious City creator and producer Jennifer Brandel asked if I&rsquo;d investigate the question, I said (paraphrasing), Heck yeah.</p><p>I wrote, &ldquo;I&#39;m a lifelong fan of diners, thanks to the only grandfather I ever knew, the late, great Frank Hugh. I remember three of his diners vividly. One was an actual old railroad dining car parked just west of my great-grandfather&#39;s laundry on Grand Avenue.&rdquo;</p><p>OK, so back to Rachel&rsquo;s question(s): Old? Check. Thanks to domu&rsquo;s terrific list of <a href="http://www.domu.com/blog/vintage-chicago-restaurants-part-two">vintage Chicago restaurants</a>.</p><p>But how do we define a diner? As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-03/which-we-call-diner-106205">I wrote previously</a>, our friends at <em>Chicagoist </em>happened to have listed their favorite diners recently. With all due respect, not all their favorites are diners &mdash; at least not in my book.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Photo%201%20vintage%20.JPG" style="height: 250px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="The waffle combo meal from Chicago's Cozy Corner Restaurant. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p>After a <a href="http://instagram.com/p/XFlMGAxRm6/">Waffle Combo Meal</a> with two eggs over easy, ham, hash browns and coffee at Cozy Corner Restaurant and Pancake House in Chicago (the Kelvyn Park location, not the 1977 original Logan Square location) I came to a decision. How will we define a diner?</p><p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_know_it_when_I_see_it">I know it when I see it.</a></p><p><strong>A detour, for the sake of comparison</strong></p><p>But first, I had to go off to Asia for work, which actually helped further define our diner parameters.</p><p>In Shanghai, I went on a futile search for the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_cuisine#.22Four_Heavenly_Kings.22">Four Heavenly Kings</a>:&nbsp;<em>dabing&nbsp;</em>(Chinese pancake), <em>youtiao</em> (Chinese fry bread), steamed sticky rice ball and soy milk. This was once the most common breakfast order on land first settled in the 5th century, in the most populous city in the world. But, I was told repeatedly, it&rsquo;s old fashioned street food that they didn&rsquo;t have. Would I like tea or caffè latte instead?</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Photo%203%20singapore%20lchu.jpg" style="height: 150px; width: 225px; float: right;" title="Kaya toast with soft cooked eggs, and coffee in Singapore. (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></p><p>In Singapore I made my way to the original <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/thick-and-thin-historic-kaya-toast-singapore-106603">1919 location of Killiney Kopitiam</a>, the oldest coffee shop in the Southeast Asian city-state-island country. Their specialty is a thick crust version of the national breakfast: kaya toast with soft cooked eggs, and coffee.</p><p>So after a global diner race against a ticking clock, I further refined our diner parameters: They would be diners on an endangered species list. And perhaps they could represent us on the <a href="http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/?pg=00003">UNESCO intangible cultural heritage</a> list. Some are more &ldquo;endangered&rdquo; than others, and one is, in fact, extinct.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Pullman%20Brandel.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="Chef Daniel Traynor sits aboard a refurbished Pullman car before setting off to New Orleans. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p><strong>1920s to 1950s <a href="http://www.travelpullman.com/">Pullman Rail Journeys</a></strong></p><p>But before we tell some of the stories of the area&rsquo;s oldest diners, we need to visit the origin story. Luckily history had pulled into the station. At Chicago&rsquo;s Amtrak yard we visited some of the original Pullman train cars, which date between the &lsquo;20s and &lsquo;50s. There, we spoke with executive chef Daniel Traynor and head steward Jason Makor as they prepared to depart for New Orleans. George Pullman established his eponymous company in 1862. Traynor has researched <a href="http://www.semgonline.com/coach/coupe/coupe_se01.pdf">Pullman culinary history</a> and explained that every line had a signature French toast. Pullman bread, the dense, crumbed white bread still baked in a lidded metal pan, was invented to fit in tight train galleys. Makor to this day recreates the meticulous table settings; in particular, he uses doilies for every compartmentalized dish, as Pullman himself dictated until his death in 1897. Traynor explained that dining cars once connected farmers, local food producers, diners, and chefs. These dining cars also contributed to a long-term trend; the cars were self-contained, meaning they could operate as free-standing restaurants. So when dining cars went out of commission, some became the diners we know today.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/franks%20for%20web.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="The expanded Franks Diner in Kenosha. Built in the 1920s to look like a train car, but never intended for the rails. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /><strong>1926 <a href="http://franksdinerkenosha.com/">Franks Diner</a> in Kenosha, Wisconsin</strong></p><p>Husband and wife owners Julie Rittmiller and Kevin Ervin clarified a common misconception about Franks: It is not, in fact, a repurposed railroad diner car. In 1926 Greek immigrant Anthony Franks bought the brand new restaurant from Jerry O&#39;Mahony Inc., &quot;Lunch Car Builders,&quot; in Bayonne, N.J. It was shipped on rail flat car (hence its design), and it was filled with dishware and flatware, too. Julie showed us the original bread box which will be refurbished and displayed. She said the diner is haunted by an unknown female ghost who &mdash; late one night &mdash; blew open a storeroom door. This, it turned out, was helpful, mostly because Julie&rsquo;s hands happened to be full at the time. Franks special: the Garbage Plate.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Moon%27s%20Brandel.jpg" style="height: 234px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="The vintage wrap-around counter inside Moon's Sandwich Shop on the West Side. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /><strong>1933 <a href="http://moons.homestead.com/">Moon&rsquo;s Sandwich Shop</a>, Chicago</strong></p><p>Let&rsquo;s address the elephant in the room. Moon&rsquo;s opened in 1933 and was named for its former moonshiner owners. In its current building since 1947, you may notice most everyone in the room &mdash; in front of the counter, as well as behind it &mdash; is African-American. Except perhaps for a few longtime regulars and owner Jim Radek, who&rsquo;s a cross between Bruce Willis and Al Pacino. Radek, a former regular due to his work as a neighborhood police officer, told us the harrowing tale of one rough day. Nearly two dozen locals chased a guy into Moon&rsquo;s, or rather to its threshold. Radek told them they couldn&rsquo;t continue the pursuit because Moon&rsquo;s was a sanctuary. Like church. And so it was and remains to this day. Moon&rsquo;s special: the Jumpball.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Diner%20Grill%20web%20brandel.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="A quiet morning at the Diner Grill on Chicago's North Side. The building used to be an operational train car. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /><strong>1937 <a href="https://plus.google.com/114677185144883756604/about?gl=us&amp;hl=en">Diner Grill</a>, Chicago</strong></p><p>Open 24 hours a day since 1937 (&ldquo;March 15 8AM,&rdquo; to be precise, according to the original framed black and white photo behind the counter). Managers Ricardo Hernandez (days) and Kenny Coster (nights) have been working the grill for 12 and 11 years, respectively. The restaurant is an old trolley car and sits at the end of its former trolley line. The busiest hours are between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Ricardo once worked the night shift himself and says he doesn&rsquo;t know how Kenny still does it. Kenny says he&rsquo;s had to talk would-be pole dancers down during their night of revelry. While passing out is not encouraged, they do let diners sleep it off, presumably if they can stay perched on the stools. Diner Grill&rsquo;s special: the Slinger.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" chicago.="" class="image-original_image" close="" deuces="" diner="" downtown="" from="" house="" in="" louisa="" now="" ohio="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ohio%20House%20Chu.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: left;" the="" title="The signature " wbez="" /><strong>1960 <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Ohio-House-Coffee-Shop/155051834659236?fref=ts">Ohio House Coffee Shop</a>, Chicago</strong></p><p>While the coffee shop dated back 53 years, owner Cathy Roquemore was there about 30. Cathy served the last Deuces Wild on Sunday, April 28, 2013. After more than three decades behind the counter, she was given 30 days to vacate. Cathy started out as an employee &mdash; the only employee, actually. The former owner, a drinking buddy of her husband&rsquo;s, came to her house and said, &ldquo;Cathy, I need you!&rdquo; She bought the place herself when her husband died. She said she was going to take a two-week break then decide what to do next. Regulars can find Cathy, former waitress Kim Jurgensen, and each other on their Facebook page, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-the-Ohio-House-Coffee-Shop/155051834659236?fref=ts">Save the Ohio House Coffee Shop</a>. Ohio House Coffee Shop special: Deuces Wild RIP.</p><p>A big thanks to Chicago&rsquo;s most notable diner owners and managers who also took the time to chat:</p><ul><li>1923 <a href="http://www.loumitchellsrestaurant.com/">Lou Mitchell</a>&rsquo;s manager Heleen Thanas</li><li>1938 <a href="http://palacegrillonmadison.com/">Palace Grill</a> owner <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/kitchen-close-ups/palace-grill-skid-row-diner-chicago-fixture-103836">George Lemperis</a></li><li>1939 <a href="http://www.whitepalacegrill.com/">White Palace Grill</a> owner George Liakopoulos</li><li>1947 <a href="http://thesilverpalmrestaurant.com/History.html">Silver Palm</a> owner David Gevercer</li></ul><p>When I started investigating Rachel&rsquo;s diner question, I&rsquo;d written, &ldquo;I will be carrying my own personal bottle of real maple syrup, and my own thermally insulated whipped cream.&rdquo;</p><p>I didn&rsquo;t. Because that wouldn&rsquo;t have been nice. And one of the rules at diners: Be nice or leave. Pass me the pancake syrup, because I&rsquo;d like to stay and hear some more stories.</p><p><em>Follow Louisa Chu <a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu">@louisachu.</a></em></p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the company that&nbsp;Anthony Franks bought his restaurant from. The company&#39;s name is&nbsp;Jerry O&#39;Mahony Inc., &quot;Lunch Car Builders,&quot; of Bayonne, N.J.</em></p></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 18:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-05/chicago-diners-side-extra-crispy-stories-107167 Englewood residents fight for environmental safeguards during rail yard expansion http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-residents-fight-environmental-safeguards-during-rail-yard-expansion-105823 <p><p>Residents in Chicago&rsquo;s Englewood neighborhood are demanding that railway company Norfolk Southern include environmental protections into its expansion plans for its South Side rail yard.</p><p>The company has already bought and demolished some Englewood homes over the past several years to fulfill its expansion plans. Now Norfolk Southern is on track to purchase 104 acres of city land. The yard is set to expand southward, from Garfield Boulevard to 61st Street. &nbsp;</p><p>John Paul Jones, the head of the nonprofit Sustainable Englewood, said residents aren&rsquo;t trying to block the rail yard expansion.</p><p>&ldquo;But for Englewood it could be a dramatic impact on our quality of life but also our well-being because of a host of environmental harms such a project would bring,&rdquo; Jones said.</p><p>Residents worry about health impacts of truck traffic, which would increase because the yard is location where freight is transferred from rail to trucks and vice versa. Residents are particularly concerned about increased diesel-related air pollution, as the Englewood neighborhood already has some of the highest asthma rates in the city.</p><p>Jones&rsquo; group wants a community benefits agreement from Norfolk Southern, connected to the sale of the city-owned property. Sustainable Englewood is asking for: monitoring and mitigating diesel pollution; creation of green space and placement of buffer zones around homes. The hope is to lessen noise and air pollution.</p><p>Brian Urbaszewski of Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago said filters should be go on diesel engine trucks, to eliminate 90 percent of the soot that comes out of tailpipes.</p><p>At Tuesday&rsquo;s city council housing and real estate committee meeting, a hearing for the sale of city land to Norfolk Southern was delayed. A Norfolk Southern spokesman said the company is meeting with environmental activists next month.</p><p>Follow Natalie on Twitter @<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">natalieymoore</a></p></p> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 15:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-residents-fight-environmental-safeguards-during-rail-yard-expansion-105823 New CTA train cars to make their way to Red Line http://www.wbez.org/news/new-cta-train-cars-make-their-way-red-line-103791 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/4523870991_4fa6fc0a39_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Transit Authority announced that their new 5000-series rail cars will be rolling on the Red Line tracks this week.</p><p>&ldquo;We are pleased the new rail cars will be added to the CTA&rsquo;s busiest rail line, offering customers a more comfortable ride and modern amenities,&rdquo; said CTA President Forrest Claypool in a statement. &ldquo;The cars are a big part of our efforts to modernize the CTA and bring the system into the 21st century.&rdquo;</p><p>The move comes after the CTA successfully implemented the cars&nbsp;on the Pink Line and Green Lines.</p><p>The CTA said two eight-car trains will be added on Monday to the existing fleet on the Red Line and additional trains will continue to be added.</p><p>The new cars will replace the 2400-series and 2600-series cars in service on the Red Line, which are 35 years old and will eventually replace the entire fleet on the Red Line, according to a CTA statement.</p><p>The newer cars have a new breaking and acceleration system the CTA says will give riders a smoother experience. &nbsp;The rail calls also feature aisle-facing seating, a feature that many Chicagoans have complained about, but the CTA says will add needed space for standing customers and those with backpacks, luggage, strollers and bikes.</p><p>The new cars also have additional seating for wheelchair passengers.</p><p>The scrolling &quot;destination&quot; signs that many riders are familiar with are gone, being replaced by LED displays. &nbsp;The newer cars also have LED signs with station information, time and dates that bus riders have seen.</p><p>The CTA said it will eventually receive 706 of the new cars, costing $1.137 billion.</p></p> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 08:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-cta-train-cars-make-their-way-red-line-103791 Englewood Flyover to take aim at rail congestion http://www.wbez.org/story/englewood-flyover-take-aim-rail-congestion-93015 <p><p>A project aimed with halting one of the region’s worst rail logjams broke ground Monday on Chicago’s South Side.</p><p>The so-called Englewood Flyover will cost $133 million. Organizers hope it will ease congestion near 63<sup>rd</sup> and State Street, an area that sees an average of 14 Amtrak, 78 Metra and 46 freight trains battle for space each day.</p><p>The Englewood Flyover will build a bridge to carry the three Metra Rock Island District Line tracks over the four Norfolk-Southern freight tracks. The bridge — to be completed by 2014 — will also allow for expanded Amtrak service around the Midwest.</p><p>Several politicians gathered near the flyover site on Monday morning. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the project will create 1,500 jobs.</p><p>“What does it mean when freight traffic and passenger traffic can move through this city more quickly? More jobs. Not just the jobs in building this project but the reputation of Illinois as the crossroads of the nation,” Durbin said.</p><p>The funding sources include $126 million from the federal government and more than $6 million from the state’s Illinois Jobs Now program. The Englewood Flyover is also part of the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Program (<a href="http://createprogram.org/">CREATE</a>,) an effort that is supposed to modernize local rail operations, reduce harmful emissions and ease highway congestion.</p><p>Nearby resident Bob Israel, a union laborer, showed up at the groundbreaking with skepticism.</p><p>“It’s just a dog-and-pony show — trust me,” Israel said.</p><p>“We’ve been hearing about this CREATE program for 10-15 years. They say they’re going to hire from the community but I’ve been hearing this for years,” Israel said. He likened it to the Dan Ryan Expressway project, which Israel said didn’t do a good job of community hiring.</p><p>At the press conference, Israel asked Quinn who would ensure that the Englewood Flyover project would employ community residents.</p><p>Quinn didn’t give an answer.</p></p> Mon, 10 Oct 2011 18:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/englewood-flyover-take-aim-rail-congestion-93015 Transit union fights back against CTA budget claims http://www.wbez.org/story/transit-union-fights-back-against-cta-budget-claims-92825 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/cta trains_flickr_mikemiley.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The head of the union representing Chicago Transit Authority rail workers says he doesn't believe union members are completely to blame for CTA budget problems.</p><p>CTA president Forrest Claypool <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cta-facing-huge-budget-shortfall-2012-92812">said Tuesday</a> that the agency is short $277 million heading into 2012, due to union contracts he said give workers the highest cost-adjusted salaries in the nation.</p><p>"I have openly said I will sit down and talk about any and every issue and put it on the table," said ATU Local 308 president Robert Kelly. "Doesn't mean we're going to give it up, but we'll talk about it, we'll see what we can do to help. I understand today's economy, I know it's bad out there. But fighting this in the media is not going to be a winning situation for anybody."</p><p>Claypool also criticized the employee absenteeism rates, which he said cost the CTA $40 million in 2011. But Kelly refuted that the number could be that large, and said he was disappointed that he hadn't been told about the CTA's interest in changing work rules.</p><p>"We do not deny there is an absenteesm problem, we can't control that," said Kelly. But, "We do not hire people. Chicago Transit Authority hires individuals."</p><p>Kelly said he believes he fare hikes are "inevitable"; Claypool wouldn't say whether they should be expected.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/transit-union-fights-back-against-cta-budget-claims-92825 CTA 'Train Tracker' launching in January http://www.wbez.org/story/cell-phone/icois-test-post <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//CTA.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rail commuters in Chicago soon will be able to find out estimated arrival times for trains on all eight of the city's rail lines.&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago Transit Authority says a pilot version of the CTA Train Tracker website will be launched in early January. Customers can use the program on computers or cell phones. The train program's debut follows the agency's popular CTA Bus Tracker.</p><p>Officials say estimated arrival times will be generated by averaging travel times of the previous five trains to move along a part of rail track. Customers can get the information by choosing their rail line and then their station.</p><p>The CTA says it plans on making adjustments to improve accuracy.&nbsp; The agency wants customers to provide feedback to help find ways to enhance the program.<br /><br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.&nbsp; All Rights Reserved.)</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 03 Jan 2011 15:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cell-phone/icois-test-post Inland port spreads across Will County plains http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%CB%9Cinland-port%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2-sprawls-across-will-county-plains-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//Elwood.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Developers are connecting the nation's railways to enormous state-of-the art warehouses to make shipping easier for big companies like Walmart. One of the most ambitious of these projects is in southwest suburban Will County. And it's about to expand.<br /></strong><br />Neil Doyle is a vice-president of Oak Brook-based CenterPoint Properties Trust. We meet at a helicopter pad a few miles past Joliet. He says it's the best way to see his company's project there. His pilot straps us in.</p> <p>Ambi: Helicopter blades chop through the air during takeoff.</p> <p>We use headsets so we don't have to yell over the engine.</p> <p>DOYLE: We're hovering over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Logistics Park Chicago, as it's known. We built this between 2000 and 2002. Then we built the industrial park next to it -- three bridges, 25 miles of roads, water systems, wastewater plants, all new utilities. And what you're seeing is about a dozen trains in here today, the longest trains that run in the country.</p> <p>MITCHELL: What are they carrying and where's the stuff going?</p> <p>DOYLE: They're carrying boxes. These are 100 percent international boxes, packed on the shores of another country, from Asia to the Mediterranean.</p> <p>MITCHELL: Boxes as in cargo containers.</p> <p>DOYLE: Containers, yes. The majority here will be coming from the ports of L.A.-Long Beach, the nation's largest and busiest port complex. They're loaded on the trains. They're two miles long, the equivalent of 400 trucks. They show up here and they're unloaded for Midwest consumption -- furniture, electronics, auto parts, you name it. They're unloaded by those overhead diesel cranes. They're put onto trailers.</p> <p>And here's the key to what Doyle calls his inland port. Many of the semi-trailers don't drive away with the containers. They don't need to. They just go across a road to some giant warehouses.</p> <p>DOYLE: Whether it's Walmart, Target, Georgia Pacific, you name it. They go into these buildings and they go either to regional distribution centers or right to a store shelf. The perfect model, if you're the retailer, is they go right to the store.</p> <p>MITCHELL: How was the work getting done before?</p> <p>DOYLE: It was just very difficult. The railroads were moving goods but they were moving them to city center, into old antiquated yards in neighborhoods and industrial areas that couldn't accept the volumes that needed to come that way. It used to take a train about three days to get from L.A. to Joliet, another three days to get to downtown Chicago. Hey, Mike, could we fly one more loop around, maybe Elwood?</p> <p>PILOT: Yeah.</p> <p>Ambi: Helicopter blades.</p> <p>DOYLE: These two facilities you see on your left-hand side, those are Walmart's. These are Midwest import-distribution centers. They're the biggest user of industrial space right now in this park. Each one of those buildings is a half-mile long. Together, they're 50 percent larger than McCormick Place in its entirety.</p> <p>Doyle says a couple years ago his company realized something.</p> <p>DOYLE: We're going to run out of land before we run out of demand. We started acquiring land here North.</p> <p>What this means is everything we've seen on this helicopter so far is just the beginning. The company's brought in Union Pacific to build a second rail yard.</p> <p>DOYLE: What you'll have is one 6,000-acre park, anchored by the two largest railroads of the world, at the end of their longest run, in their biggest facilities. And you'll end up with about 30-plus million square feet of industrial space.</p> <p>MITCHELL: Who will be your industrial users and when will they open up?</p> <p>DOYLE: Well, I can hope and I can guess. But it's a 10-year marketing effort.</p> <p>The helicopter pilot takes us back toward the pad. And Doyle says this Will County project doesn't just benefit big companies. It expands the local property-tax base. And it's creating jobs.</p> <p>DOYLE: This is 100-percent union construction. And there are probably 1,000 people that work at that BNSF facility on three different shifts. And the logistics jobs: This is not your grandfather's warehouse. These are people riding around on forklifts with laptops and bar scanners. Our models show that we'll hit about 25,000 jobs when our work is complete here. And these are jobs you can live on.</p> <p>Actually, that's a point of contention. And it's something I hope to explore after this helicopter lands.<br /><br /><strong>More: <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/cmitchell/2010/08/helicopter-ride-evokes-nagging-question/35705">Helicopter ride evokes nagging question</a><br />More: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44063">Taxpayers subsidize low-paid warehouse jobs</a></strong></p></p> Thu, 26 Aug 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/economy/%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%CB%9Cinland-port%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2-sprawls-across-will-county-plains-0