BNSF: PM rush express train movements

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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby HammerJack » Mon Jan 01, 2018 1:36 pm

doepack wrote:Normally, 383 is on main 1 for its LaGrange stop, then it eventually picks up yellow blocks as it catches up to 1273 around Highlands, no greens until that diverging clear signal to main 2 at West Hinsdale, then on to Naperville.


Honestly, I rarely see 383 make the stop at LaGrange on main 1. I always see it on main 2, with the passengers boarding from the crossing. That way it doesn't have to deal with 1275 and 1273, and it can just follow 1279 out on main 2, which isn't making any stops until Downers.
Anyone know what the normal operations for 383 is at LaGrange?
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby doepack » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:00 am

Track assignments can and do change all the time of course, but I always thought 'normal' ops for 383 in LaGrange was track one, following the general right hand running practice. Dwell times tend to be a bit longer when folks have to board from crossings, and putting 383 on 2 at LaGrange at this time of day (it's still rush hour when it arrives) can really tie things up on an already busy Mannheim Road, if only temporarily.

Sure, something breaks down, a MOW with track & time, a hot freight in the area, delayed Metra, etc. can understandably conspire to create this scenario that leaves a dispatcher no choice, but I've always thought that by and large, using the center track for passenger trains is a secondary option, not a primary one. Especially at stations like LaGrange that don't have crosswalks that extend out to the center track.

Oh well, at least we're not talking about Amtrak LD trains 3 thru 6 using the street at LaGrange. What a bloody mess that would be...
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby MACTRAXX » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:52 pm

MetraBNSF and Everyone:

This is a very interesting topic about PM Peak weekday service westbound on the BNSF Aurora Line.

Have you considered posting about the AM Peak eastbound service as a counterpart?
It would be interesting to note if there is similar track assigning or usage in the morning rush...

I will thank all in advance for any added information...MACTRAXX
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby MetraBNSF » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:47 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:MetraBNSF and Everyone:

This is a very interesting topic about PM Peak weekday service westbound on the BNSF Aurora Line.

Have you considered posting about the AM Peak eastbound service as a counterpart?
It would be interesting to note if there is similar track assigning or usage in the morning rush...

I will thank all in advance for any added information...MACTRAXX

MACTRAXX, wish i could be more of help when it comes to the AM rush. Unlike the afternoons I'm not very familiar with mornings, except for a few little things:

Some of the first trains of the morning that don't originate from Aurora are deadheaded from Hill Yard to its originating stations. In some cases, they are even staged for a bit on the center track west of Naperville.

There is one morning equipment cycle in which I have familiarity, and that's trains 1204/1205. 1204 is the third train out of Aurora in the morning (5:25am) and the second express train of the day. This train makes all stops to Downers Grove, then becomes a center track express to Union Station, arriving 6:22am on track 2. Upon arrival at CUS, this train becomes train 1205 which departs CUS at 6:32am and is an express to D.G., then all stops to Aurora, arriving 7:26am. This train will then become train 1252, which departs Aurora at 7:42am. It only makes two other stops - Route 59 and Naperville before expressing to CUS. I believe 1252 is one of the most crowded trains of the morning. This cycle for as long as I can remember was a 10 car set. Its now 11 cars.
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby MetraBNSF » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:19 pm

This evening I rode eastbound Metra/BNSF 1288 into CUS. The train ran 7-12 minutes behind schedule. Which made for a few interesting observances.

1. 6:14pm: Amtrak 383 was indeed stopped on the center track at La Grange, on time. Metra 1288 was allowed to proceed into the station on track 3 but was not allowed to block the La Grange Road grade crossing and was not allowed to move until Amtrak 383 was given the clear that all passengers have boarded and doors are closed. When on time, 1288 makes the La Grange stop around 6:06pm.

2. 6:20pm Metra deadhead 1372 passes 1288 at Hollywood. Its a certainty that 1372 went center track at Congress Park.

3. 6:27pm WB 1283 passes a stopped 1288 at Berwyn. 1283 was on the center track and accelerating at the time it passed 1288. I'm guessing 1283 crossed over from main 1 to main 2 at Berwyn.

4. 6:31pm WB 1373 passes 1288 west of Cicero. 1373 was on track 1 and I'm guessing it followed 1283, switching to main 2 at Berwyn.

5. 6:35pm 1288 crosses over from main 3 to main 2 at Cicero B for the run ino CUS. Arrives 8 minutes late.
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby HammerJack » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:11 pm

I can shed some light on the AM rush hour. I spent the morning at LaGrange Road yesterday. I arrived on train 1212, which is a Main 3 local from Aurora to Union Station.
LaGrange.jpg

The signal bridge immediately east of the station controls the approach to the universal Congress Park interlocking. The next signal bridge east of this controls the interlocking itself.

For the Aurora-Route 59-Naperville expresses, these switch to Main 2 at either Naperville East or Lisle, depending on if something is being staged west of Lisle.
For the Lisle-Belmont-Downers expresses, I believe these switch to Main 2 at Fairview. By the time I saw them at LaGrange, they had all switched to Main 2.
I'm not going to include this expresses mentioned above on the list below.

1200: Didn't see this one (no way I'm getting up that early), but I'd assume it has the option of staying on Main 3 or switching to Main 2 at Congress Park.
1202: All stop local on Main 3.
1204: Didn't see this one either, but a previous post stated that it switches to Main 2 at Fairview.
1206: Main 3 local that begins at Fairview. It could theoretically switch to Main 2 at Berwyn or Cicero, although I have no information about that.
1212: Local that stays on Main 3.
1216: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, then switches to Main 2 at Congress Park.
1218: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, then switches to Main 2 at Hinsdale East.
1222: Deadheads from Chicago to Congress Park station, reverses, then switches to Main 3 at Congress Park interlocking to start at Brookfield.
1226: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, then switches to Main 2 at Congress Park.
1230: Local that stays on Main 3.
1234: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, then switches to Main 2 at Congress Park.
1238: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, stays on Main 3 until Congress Park, where it switches to Main 2.
1244: Deadheads from Chicago, switches to Main 2 at Congress Park, reverses in the interlocking on Main 2, then switches to Main 3 to start at Brookfield.
1246: Main 3 for its scheduled stops from Aurora, then switches to Main 2 at Congress Park. It can do this because Western and Halsted has platforms on Main 2.
1248: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, stays on Main 3 until Congress Park, where it switches to Main 2.
1254: Deadheads from Chicago to Congress Park station, reverses, then switches to Main 3 at Congress Park interlocking to start at Brookfield. The movement from Main 1 to Main 3 tied up the interlocking and slowed 1242 and 1248.
1256: Main 3 for its scheduled stops, then switches to Main 2 at Congress Park.
1258: I don't know. I left on 1256, so I didn't get to see this one. It could switch to Main 2 at either Hinsdale East or Congress Park.
1370: I didn't see this one either, but the last Aurora-Route 59-Naperville express can stay on Main 3 all the way, although I don't know what normal operation is.

I don't know much about the AM operations in the Naperville-Fairview area. As mentioned in previous posts, some trains that begin their runs at Lisle, Fairview, or Highlands originate in the Aurora yard. I've seen them being staged at Naperville or Lisle, but I don't know anything else about them. For example, 1214's equipment was being staged just west of Naperville waiting for 1212 and 1210 to pass. Furthermore, deadheads and revenue outbound express runs from Chicago provide the equipment for many of these trains.

Hope this helps!
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:45 pm

As many know, I used to work this territory. If the express has no conflicting local ahead of it, then keeping it on an outside track is best. It takes time to slow down and negotiate a crossover, then accelerate out of it. That is my best guess as to why things are done the way they are. I have to admit that my information is dated. I left before some of the crossovers were changed to high speed switches. My advice would be to find an employee copy of the timetable, and see where the expresses would likely pass the local. As others haves said, only certain plants are universal. Many are laid out to cross from it to track 2, from either track 1, or track 3. Some don’t allow crossing the road.

In my time, boarding passengers was done only rarely from track 2. This mostly happened if there was work on an outside main, or a breakdown.... I remember working as brakeman on an evening job. The particulars have been forgotten, but we were westbound, and had to back off at the LaVergne plant into Cicero Yard, with the accompanying extra lap back pay, which my conductor was sure to claim. The point is that the route is very flexible, except for some extreme situations, as in my example. You have to admit that the Q was very generous in the layout of the line.
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby MetraBNSF » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:24 pm

You could call this old meeting new. And on time meets behind schedule. 1269 pulling in to Downers Grove on track 3 as 1253 departs on track 1.
CA0D9350-D2CB-4A24-BF98-C14E99458609.jpeg
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Re: BNSF: PM rush express train movements

Postby MetraBNSF » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:14 pm

1243 (3:57 PM) express to DG, all stops to Aurora kept in tradition of running center track when a Naperville/59 express is put ahead of it prior to a holiday. This time it didn’t go center track until Berwyn. No real explanation for it.
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