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 MetraBNSF
 
Occasionally, I'm reading about problems with the 21st St. draw bridge that affects SWS service. Just a short time ago, train #833 was stopped. Its now on the move.

Not a good day this afternoon for Metra service from the south concourse of Union Station.

  by Tadman
 
Funny, I spent fifteen minutes at Lumber street around 3 pm today. I saw the 3ish SWS leave on time, and some other inbound about the time I left. Also, I watched a 8-32 and P42 shunt around for a while. The bridge was in the train travel position the whole time, and Metra nor Amtrak were prevented from using it. After 3p, who knows... Sounds like it wasn't good.
  by doepack
 
MetraBNSF wrote:Not a good day this afternoon for Metra service from the south concourse of Union Station.
I can only imagine. I've seen the crowds down there at that time of day, and anytime there's a delay, things can deteriorate rapidly. You've never seen so many confused people in your life. Hordes of people on the platforms, many of them on the phone while fumbling with schedules, while other peeved commuters say things like:

"WHAT?! Whaddya mean my 5:22 Naperville express hasn't arrived yet? What's the problem? Is there another express train available? Oh, %@$&*, this is an outrage! To hell with Metra, I'm gonna drive tomorrow!! :P

All kidding aside, Metra officially announced that "equipment problems" on BNSF were the cause of this afternoon's delays. I'm sure that made everybody feel so much better...

  by metraRI
 
Every SWS train before #833 made it out to Orland Park on time.... so the problem happend between 6:40-7:00.
  by MetraBNSF
 
doepack wrote:I can only imagine. I've seen the crowds down there at that time of day, and anytime there's a delay, things can deteriorate rapidly. You've never seen so many confused people in your life. Hordes of people on the platforms, many of them on the phone while fumbling with schedules, while other peeved commuters say things like:

"WHAT?! Whaddya mean my 5:22 Naperville express hasn't arrived yet? What's the problem? Is there another express train available? Oh, %@$&*, this is an outrage! To hell with Metra, I'm gonna drive tomorrow!! :P

All kidding aside, Metra officially announced that "equipment problems" on BNSF were the cause of this afternoon's delays. I'm sure that made everybody feel so much better...
Even at Union Station, a dangerous situation exists when trains are delayed and there are hordes of people on the platforms waiting for their trains. Some people choose to walk on the edge of the platform and a few actually walk on the tracks as the trains are pulling in. There were two seperate instances where the engineer had to blow the whistle as the trains were pulling in.

Speaking of the 5:22 train (train #1267), the crew made repeated announcements that everybody had to find a seat and keep the aisles and vestibules clear because the train "would be carrying additional passengers". I don't think anybody knew that the following Naperville express at 5:44 was cancelled due to "equipment problems".

What a day at the south concourse at CUS.

  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone: How does the South Branch Bridge look today? it amazes me that everything going S or E of the Chicago River on Amtrak and METRA SWS has to cross that 2-track bridge-I recall it was built about 1900 - does METRA OR AMTRAK plan on ever replacing it? Thankfully BNSF and Amtrak trains from the West do not have to use it. Is Union Station's South Side finally at capacity? Just thinking...MACTRAXX

  by metraRI
 
Because the bridge is owned by Amtrak, I don't know what Metra can do about the bridge. Replacing the bridge would be a huge project, there are still quite a few old bridges used in the Chicago area...have there been any lift bridges replaced?

As for CUS's South Concourse capacity, rush hours do see capacity with most tracks being used, however at all other times of the day it is pretty empty. In the evening and weekends, there are plenty of tracks not being used, at times its completely empty.

  by byte
 
There's really no age-related need to replace it, as long as it's structurally sound. (giving it a new coat of paint and cleaning up that unused corrogated metal control house on top, though, wouldn't be a bad idea) However, Metra/Amtrak should look into either replacing it entirely or getting it raised (which has been done on other bridges in the area) because it's so low (14 feet above the water, IIRC). Even small tour boats need to stop and wait to have it raised, and an increase in height by even 5 or 6 feet would eliminate a lot of those necessary lifts to facilitate smaller vessels.

  by JLJ061
 
Unfortunately raising the roadbed height over the River poses two main problems: 1) Lumber Street crossing just north of the bridge, and 2) The CN diamonds just south of the bridge.

The many businesses along Lumber Street would make relocating the street or completely closing it impractical, and the CN would also have to raise their tracks along with Amtrak's so the approach to the bridge would not be so abrupt.