Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/14/2018 4:20 PM

Musk's Express Loop predicted to be 'big win' for Des Plaines, Rosemont

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, listens as Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk speaks at a news conference Thursday in Chicago. The Boring Company has been selected to build a high-speed underground transportation system that it says will whisk passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport in mere minutes.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, listens as Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk speaks at a news conference Thursday in Chicago. The Boring Company has been selected to build a high-speed underground transportation system that it says will whisk passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport in mere minutes.
    Associated Press

  • Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk, right, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel speak at a news conference Thursday in Chicago.

    Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk, right, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel speak at a news conference Thursday in Chicago.
    Associated Press

  • Elon Musk

    Elon Musk
    Associated Press

  • The area below Chicago's Block 37 at State and Washington streets is in the mix as a potential site for express train service to O'Hare.

    The area below Chicago's Block 37 at State and Washington streets is in the mix as a potential site for express train service to O'Hare.
    Chicago Sun-Times

  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, listens as Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk, right, speaks at a news conference Thursday in Chicago. The Boring Company has been selected to build a high-speed underground transportation system that it says will whisk passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport in mere minutes.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, listens as Tesla CEO and Boring Company founder Elon Musk, right, speaks at a news conference Thursday in Chicago. The Boring Company has been selected to build a high-speed underground transportation system that it says will whisk passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport in mere minutes.
    Associated Press

  • This undated artist's rendering shows part of a proposed high-speed underground transportation system that will transport passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport.

    This undated artist's rendering shows part of a proposed high-speed underground transportation system that will transport passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport.
    The Boring Company via AP

  • This undated artist's rendering shows an electric public transportation vehicle that is part of a proposed high-speed underground transportation system that will transport passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport.

    This undated artist's rendering shows an electric public transportation vehicle that is part of a proposed high-speed underground transportation system that will transport passengers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare International Airport.
    The Boring Company via AP

 
 

Would an express train that whisks travelers from Chicago's Loop to O'Hare International Airport in 12 minutes help someone who lives in the suburbs?

Experts acknowledged that suburbanites aren't the core market for the Chicago Express Loop, a high-speed train being developed by Tesla's Elon Musk.

But suburban business travelers who work downtown will see some benefit, as will locals with a need for speed to Chicago, they predicted.

"The suburbs will largely be bystanders, but being able to drive to O'Hare and be whisked downtown will be a real benefit," DePaul University transportation professor Joseph Schwieterman said.

"The technology is not designed to allow for route extensions, so expect this to be a stand-alone project without much discussions about service west of O'Hare."

Nevertheless, Schwieterman said, "this system will be a big win for Des Plaines and Rosemont, which will gain an ultrafast link to downtown from a station only a few minutes away."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday the selection of Musk-owned The Boring Company to build and finance the subterranean project with a downtown station near State and Washington streets.

Potential riders, however, will need to wait about four years for the futuristic train to materialize.

It's estimated tickets will be "less than half" the cost of a cab or Uber fare. The express will run 20 hours a day with trips potentially operating every 30 seconds or so.

Schwieterman thinks "everyone, including the suburbs, will benefit from the many jobs that this project creates."

Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek, chairwoman of the O'Hare Noise Compatibility Commission and a former downtown commuter, said, "I could see people going to the office in the morning and then taking the Express to O'Hare for a midday or later flight.

The concept is "also great for meetings in the Loop where out-of-town participants will want to catch an afternoon flight back home. Overall, a great and welcome convenience!"

Musk said the train will travel at speeds between 125 and 150 mph. Instead of traditional subway cars, the Express will use battery-operated electric "skates" that can hold eight to 16 passengers.

The announcement Thursday came a day after the Illinois tollway signed an agreement with Canadian Pacific Rail that will forward another significant O'Hare development -- a ring road (I-490) around the airport.

The ring road will connect to Route 390, the Jane Addams Tollway and the Tri-State Tollway. Ultimately, Chicago is planning to offer parking, a terminal building and underground trains to other terminals on the west side of O'Hare.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.