Metra UP-W Improvement Project

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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby qboy » Mon May 12, 2014 1:07 pm

I didn't think the name CP College would last all the long. Thought they would used CP Chase, but CP University works too! I yet to run through them, but I'm sure the day will come soon enough for me!
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Tue May 13, 2014 1:42 pm

CP University does sound better... but it would be nice if Omaha would just settle on one name in the beginning without changing it (twice in this case).

Per a dispatcher's comment overheard on my radio a few days ago: "They'll probably change it again next week"...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby HammerJack » Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:14 am

It is nice to see three main tracks all the way from 25th Ave. to West Chicago, but between 25th Ave. to Vale, there are still only two main tracks. Any idea if and when this section of the line will get upgraded to three? Right now it is still a bit of a bottleneck, so it would be nice to get three main tracks all the way from Chicago to West Chicago (Kress I think). Also, are there plans to upgrade the section of the line in Geneva (Kress to Peck?) to three main tracks? I don't really know if this would increase capacity a whole lot, but i was just wondering.
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby qboy » Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:45 pm

Both IDOT and UP agreed to share the cost of around 90 million. (Personally the seems a little on the low side for the cost.) That will close both gaps it was in the papers a couple of weeks back. No starts date, but some preliminary work was done few yrs back for testing of the bridge supports over the Des Plaines River and Fox River which more or less passed. But my guess it will be sometime next yr or 2016 before work may even start on 3rd main gaps between Kedzie and Elburn.
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Tue Jul 29, 2014 4:26 am

HammerJack wrote:It is nice to see three main tracks all the way from 25th Ave. to West Chicago, but between 25th Ave. to Vale, there are still only two main tracks. Any idea if and when this section of the line will get upgraded to three? Right now it is still a bit of a bottleneck, so it would be nice to get three main tracks all the way from Chicago to West Chicago (Kress I think). Also, are there plans to upgrade the section of the line in Geneva (Kress to Peck?) to three main tracks? I don't really know if this would increase capacity a whole lot, but i was just wondering.


IMO, the single biggest obstacle to adding capacity on the Geneva sub is JB Tower in West Chicago. Acquired by CN five years ago after their purchase of the EJ&E, it's where their single track north-south main (Leithton sub) crosses the triple-tracked Geneva sub at grade. In the few years before being merged into CN, the "J" ran about 10 trains per day or so (a figure not reached often, 7 to 8 was more the average), but now that's effectively more than doubled to 20-24 trains with CN using this route as its main link between the Waukesha sub to the north and its important Joliet and/or Markham yards to the south. With freight increasing on the UP side as well, you now have upwards of something like 110 trains per day from both carriers plus Metra all vying for a slot through this bottleneck, give or take a few UP freights on the Geneva sub as coal, ethanol, or frac sand traffic ebbs and flows. Even with the reduced Metra schedule on weekends, that's still about 80 trains. This is where any extra capacity meets a black hole.

I'm not sure if CN eventually plans to close this tower and grade separate the crossing (haven't heard anything official), but until that happens, even when UP adds the third main to the two existing gaps, it will have only a negligible effect on capacity at best. Metra has stated that they'd like to add trains to this route, and beef up the service to perhaps approach BNSF levels. I think, even in a perfect world that's ambitious, but despite the recent upgrades to the physical plant (not a bad place to start), given the current remaining challenges, that's still a long way off right now. How long is very much open to debate...

For more reading...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:00 pm

CREATE Project GS25 update: As of 8/12/14, the grade crossing at Roosevelt Road is closed, and traffic has been shifted to the new overpass that carries traffic over the UP. A major improvement, and a long time coming, and also marks the second grade crossing closed in the past year on UP-W (Chase St. in Wheaton was closed just before the new control point came online).

No more getting stuck waiting for those slow, West Chicago bound coal trains to clear Roosevelt Road, which would at times make me late for work...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:29 pm

The makeover continues...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby Zanperk » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:36 pm

The work to add an additional level to the parking deck in Geneva is finishing up.

These added spots will replace parking spaces on the south side of the tracks that will be lost when the third track is laid through the Geneva station.
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:00 am

Construction of a third track within the two gaps along the Geneva sub in Metra suburban territory could finally be starting soon...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:24 pm

At long last, work has started to add a third track to the remaining two track segments along UP-W. First up: Construction of a third main from River Forest to Melrose Park, between control points CPY010 (Vale) and CPY011 (25th Ave.)...
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby qboy » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:47 am

About year later than when it was supposed to start construction. Actually some preliminary work has been going on for bit. This first segment was originally apart of the 3rd track from Park to 25th Ave. But Metra was having fund issues on their part of the project. So the 3rd track ended right where it currently ends.
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Re: Metra UP-W IP: Elburn-DeKalb service extension?

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:17 am

Everyone:

I was looking at Google Earth at the UP West Line between Elburn and DeKalb remembering that
there was mention of extended service to serve DeKalb - with the significant student population
of Northern Illinois University - being a base for ridership.

Does anyone have an exact distance between Elburn and DeKalb using a UP or C&NW ETT?
From studying a map this looks to be around 15 miles.

From what I noticed there could be three new stations on this route: Two new stations in DeKalb
with one serving the town center and a terminal adjacent to the south end of the NIU Campus.

An intermediate station at either Cortland or Maple Park would offer service to Kane County
exurban areas and from southern McHenry and northern Kendall County areas along with Elburn.

Since DeKalb County is not a part of the METRA service area could some County subsidy or grant
in lieu of a transport tax be provided to subsidize this service? Could NIU itself provide anything
towards this service? Students would more then likely be a key portion of new ridership and this
could even encourage daily rail commuting to NIU making this service extension more prudent...

Would UP work with METRA and local governments to allow any extension of service?

MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Metra UP-W Improvement Project

Postby doepack » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:19 pm

This topic came up a while back during a more generic conversation about westward extensions of certain Metra lines, with potential DeKalb service on UP/W included. For more details...
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Re: Metra UP-W IP: Elburn-DeKalb service extension?

Postby Anthony » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:16 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone:

I was looking at Google Earth at the UP West Line between Elburn and DeKalb remembering that
there was mention of extended service to serve DeKalb - with the significant student population
of Northern Illinois University - being a base for ridership.

Does anyone have an exact distance between Elburn and DeKalb using a UP or C&NW ETT?
From studying a map this looks to be around 15 miles.

From what I noticed there could be three new stations on this route: Two new stations in DeKalb
with one serving the town center and a terminal adjacent to the south end of the NIU Campus.

An intermediate station at either Cortland or Maple Park would offer service to Kane County
exurban areas and from southern McHenry and northern Kendall County areas along with Elburn.

Since DeKalb County is not a part of the METRA service area could some County subsidy or grant
in lieu of a transport tax be provided to subsidize this service? Could NIU itself provide anything
towards this service? Students would more then likely be a key portion of new ridership and this
could even encourage daily rail commuting to NIU making this service extension more prudent...

Would UP work with METRA and local governments to allow any extension of service?

MACTRAXX

UP has said that the third track that will be built through Geneva as part of this project is one of their capital improvement requirements before they would even consider allowing any service extension to DeKalb, so this project is good news for the potential service extension. That being said, however, there are still a lot of hurdles to overcome before service to Dekalb becomes a reality. First, like you said, Dekalb county is not part of the RTA service area, so the county would either have to create their own RTA or join the Chicago RTA. Both options would require a referendum to pass to make them happen. In addition, UP would also likely require further capacity upgrades between Elburn and Dekalb, such as a new third main between those cities, which would be very expensive. These are the two biggest hurdles to overcome before METRA can serve DeKalb.
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