Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by byte
 
Mark your calendars! IRM's 2010 Snowflake Special is a GO and will be taking place on Sunday, March 28th from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm. This year's departure station will be Rosemont, on the north branch of the Blue Line (station is located at 5801 N. River Road). Rolling stock used will be four Budd 2200-series railcars. Proceeds from this year's trip will be used to buy indoor track space for IRM's 2000-series cars 2153-2154, which are beginning to deteriorate due to the many harsh summers and winters they've spent outdoors.

As in previous years, this trip will be full of "surprises" and non-typical operational movements. I don't want to spoil any of them, so I'll give you two clue words: yards and tunnels. And as always, there will be narration (provided by David Harrison, fellow RR.net poster), photo stops & runbys, and most importantly, bathroom breaks. The train will also make lunch stops through the loop.

The cost of this year's trip will be $43. Tickets are available at IRM's online store: http://www3.irm.org/store/index.php?mai ... ucts_id=15

Alternatively, one can pay with a check/money order by mailing either (in the amount of $42) to the below address, along with a stamped, self-addressed, business-sized envelope. Make any checks/money orders payable to Illinois Railway Museum.

Snowflake Special
Illinois Railway Museum
PO Box 427
Union, IL 60180
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Thanks byte for the kind words about my narrations. I can give a couple of insider hints about some of the things this year's charter features. About the yards....how about going through Howard Street yard and travelling on two of the three turning loop tracks in the yard. Also on the subject of yards...how about going, hopefully, to the bumping post in lower yard at 61st ST. You know last year we went to the bumping post in the Red line's 95th ST yard...that was as far south as an "L" train can physically go. One more tip you ask????? OK, how about pulling into the Skokie Shops yard and maybe going down the test track alongside the Yellow line almost to McCormick BLVD. What??? You didn't know there was such a test track. Come see for yourself Sunday, March 28.

David Harrison
  by byte
 
It's not a big deal. You just have to lean out between cars and watch to make sure there's no third rail on whatever side you choose. I don't recall any instances in the past where people have gotten zapped - you just have to ask one of the trip regulars where the breaks in the 600v are and you'll be all set.


Serious answer: There will be 2-3 hours between breaks. The trip starts at 9:00, and in the past they've opened up the facilities for use by the charter passengers prior to departure. From then on, as per my preliminary, line-by-line schedule, there will be another break at 11:05, then around 11:40 the train will be dropping off its passengers in the loop for lunch, where there will undoubtedly be restrooms found. Passengers all get picked up again by 12:48, so you get about an hour for lunch. After that, there will be another break at about 3:20. The trip concludes at Rosemont at around 6:00, and I think they may open up the facilities there when the train arrives, although I'm not 100% sure on that. David H. (I'm David F.) might be able to confirm/deny that, as he's been on more Snowflake Specials than I.
  by byte
 
Slight update on the schedule: The copy of the schedule I have is a bit old and some revisions have been made, so the exact times noted above may be incorrect. Regardless, reasonable & adequate provisions for eating/the opposite of eating will be made during the trip. The people running it have the same needs as those riding it. ;)
  by byte
 
Reminder for anyone interested in this trip: If you want to go but haven't gotten a ticket yet, right now is a good time to order one. We've gotten some good publicity, and the trip has been selling faster than expected - as of last weeked it was nearly half full.
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Well, its less than two weeks to go to the 2010 IRM Snowflake Charter. Chance of snow this Sunday......a reminder of last year. But fear not, the jet stream flattens out mid week after the cold dip this weekend. And remember, March 28 is the statistically first 70 degree day in Chicago. OK, back to the update. As of now, the four car train is SOLD OUT. So two more 2200s will probably be added to the consist, making for a six car train. Plus....we got a nice writeup in the Monday Sun Times. Hope those folks preorder on the IRM website.

Now back to the question about restrooms. The CTA does not provide any public restrooms. There aren't any at all. There were some designed into facilities, like in the mezanines of the subways, but they have long been locked up. On charters, we usually schedule some time at line terminals where charter passengers are admitted into the train room where the employees spend their down time and use the facilities there. Also it is expected that passengers will use facilities during their lunch break. Sunday's charter goes to a lot of places, but not many end terminals. The lunch break is 2 hours plus from the 9:00 start. After lunch we go out the Orange line to set up our northbound trip through the subway and continue on to the rest stop at Linden two hours after lunch. Fooling around at Howard and at Skokie takes up another hour and then its two hours back to the starting point. A slight adjustment might be to put Linden a half hour later so as not to make that last homestretch run so long.

David Harrison
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Well its eight days to go and here are the latest updates. The train is now six cars, the afternoon rest stop has been moved to Howard Street terminal where the larger crowd can be handled better. There was an article in last Monday's Chicago Sun Times and at the present rate of sales, the six car train will sell out too. I'm researching like mad to insure that my intercom descriptions will be both entertaining and educational. Plus you have to pratice that military/teacher "comanding voice" for the mandated announcements when we have to throw open all the doors..."ATTENTION BLUE LINE PASSENGERS, this is NOT a Blue line train, DO NOT BOARD THIS TRAIN! This is a charter train for Illinois Railway Museum and you MUST HAVE A SPECIAL TICKET to board this charter train."

David Harrison
  by ChiTransitFan
 
Sounds fantastic!

Will there be some opportunities for photo shoots like last year? Got a new HD camcorder and want to try out some video this year. Nothing beats rapid transit in beautiful Hi-Def!

CTA Fan / Terry
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Photo shoots....YES. There will be the "leap frog" shoot.....you get off, film train as we leave you. We'll go into a middle track. You pass us onboard the following road train...get off at photo location. You film us coming in, while we stop and pick you up. Get off at Harlem (O'Hare) pick up at Montrose or Addison; Western (Midway) train turns in middle track, pick up at Western; Fullerton pick up at Sheridan; Linden, pick up at Main; Belmont, pick up at Fullerton.

There are also static stops at selected stations. Also film leaving and arriving at lunch and at rest stop.

David Harrison
  by byte
 
As of yesterday, there were 217 tickets sold, with room for about 60 more (remember, now we have six cars). So if anyone lurking out there is "thinking about it" ... we have room for you! Order your ticket from www.irm.org and you will be able to pick it up on the day of the trip prior to the train's departure at Rosemont.
  by Tadman
 
I signed up and I'm quite interested. Is this going to be a end-to-end full-system trip, or something close to it? I always seem to miss this trip and I've wanted to cover the system.
  by byte
 
This will not be a full system trip, but we will hit parts of every line. We will be hitting three line terminals, and I think our mileage is well over 100. I'm probably too new to these to positively say, but I don't think any of these charters have ever done the whole system in a day. If there were no revenue service trains to contend with, it would probably be possible, but thankfully we're priviledged enough to have rapid transit service on weekends. ;)

Interestingly, until 2008 it was possible to send a charter out to Skokie and let it sit there for however long they wanted because there was no weekend Yellow Line service. However, the day of the 2008 Snowflake Special was incidentally the first day of Yellow Line Sunday service, so the train had to pull in, turn around, and scamper out in a short period of time in order to clear out for the next revenue train. No time to run across the parking lot to Starbucks!