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: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Tadman
 
Interesting info. Today I coincidentally ran across IC Suburban signs for sale on ebay. Might want to investigate listing a few CTA signs under ebay with a "buy it now" price or a reserve, in order to ensure they bring in proceeds necessary to fuel the museum.

I would immediately buy a few signs myself, but I'm working for a startup company right now so I'm on retail restraint. That said, maybe some day we'll have the funds to donate an entire shed to house the 2600's when they come up for retirement. (I couldn't imagine a CTA without the 2600's...)
  by doepack
 
Tadman wrote:I would immediately buy a few signs myself, but I'm working for a startup company right now so I'm on retail restraint. That said, maybe some day we'll have the funds to donate an entire shed to house the 2600's when they come up for retirement. (I couldn't imagine a CTA without the 2600's...)
You know, I said the same thing when the 6000s were retired. But as long there are enough of us railfans to document and photograph their history, the 2600s, like the 6000s before them, will never die...
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
Today's CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that COLOR LED destination signs will be installed/retrofitted to all of the 5000-series cars by October of 2012.

Why? Because they are now "commercially available", and they weren't when the order was placed.

Thank you, Bombardier for taking so long!
  by Tadman
 
I don't blame Bombardier, it sounds like Acme sign just hadn't perfected color LED.

That said, I hope there isn't much retrofitting. That sounds like a giant waste of money. Hopefully they just start fitting them to trains on the production line when available and retrofitting them to trains with dead signs.
  by doepack
 
5000's on the shelf for now...
  by Tadman
 
From DP's article linked above:

"CTA President Forrest Claypool was asked about the workmanship of the new Bombardier cars. "It is consistent with the introduction of a new generation of rail cars,".

"Robert Kelly, president of the CTA rail workers union, said Friday that there have been many bugs and training issues to work out with the new equipment. "They are a constant headache. On average many are out of service on a daily basis," said Kelly, president of Local 308 of the Amalgamated Transit Union."

I think Claypool is being more realistic than Kelly, who appears to be doing what I call "complaining". Training issues? On new equipment? Can't imagine... The FAA requires type-ratings, where pilots CANNOT operate new planes without training. As opposed to the railroads, where one can theoretically go from SD70ACe and mile-long coal train to 4-car EMU or vice-versa. For the life of me, I cannot believe the nanny-state has not required type-rating, but has put in place regulation about making diner car seats fixed.

Claypool realizes the nature of "one-off" production, seen in the LIRR DE/DM, Septa SL-V, and Metro-North M8. If there's no market other than one city, there is no way an equipment manufacturer like Bombardier or Kawasaki is going to build the M8 or CTA 5000 on speculation. Ergo, if the MTA or CTA wants something that can do all kinds of tricks, they're going to pay for a test fleet to do in-service testing, which is exactly what we've seen. It's the same reason why you see racecar drivers out testing new suspension setups - you can't exactly build a Nascar for the mass market, so they try something and let the driver work the bugs out pre-race. Pre-race on the CTA evidently means the pink line, which rarely has heavy ridership.

Want to change how this works? It wouldn't be hard for Chicago, NYC, PHL, and BOS to sit down and come up with common propulsion systems, door controls, loudspeakers, etc... Sort of like the PCC.
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
One latter-day United States-pushed attempt at creating a PCC replacement for the remaining streetcar systems didn't get very far, back in the 1970's.

Boeing Vertol (the helicopter division) won the contract for the Standard Light Rail Vehicle for the US, but no one bought the cars except Boston's MBTA and San Francisco's MUNI. The carbodies were made in Japan by Tokyu car.

Canada (Ontario, anyway) did something similar with the creation of a new "standard" Light Rail Vehicle for Toronto. These were made by UTDC in one or another form.

The only other railcar work Boeing ever got out of the venture was the concurrent order for Chicago Transit Authority's 2400-series cars (still on the Green and Purple lines for now). The stainless steel carbodies were made by SOREFRAME (a Budd licensee) in Portugal. These and the LRV's were assembled in Philadelphia.

So much for American know-how back in the 1970's!
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Don't forget the SOAC car for heavy rail. In Chicago it tested on the Skokie line.

David Harrison
  by byte
 
Boeing entered the rapid transit/LRV market largely because they had a surplus of defense-oriented workers and no contracts to keep them busy, as Vietnam was coming to an end. They were able to get back into building defense equipment during the Reagan-era arms buildup, but I think they did bid on the CTA order that became the 2600s (obviously Budd won). In regards to the USDOT State Of the Art Car, I believe Boeing was involved from a management standpoint on that project, but St. Louis Car Co. was the actual builder.

Boeing tried reinventing the wheel with some features on the "standard" LRVs, with poor results. However, CTA engineering people kept a shorter leash on what Boeing was doing with their cars, so they wound up being more reliable and are still running. Aside from the 2400s, there is one other Boeing-built "thing" still running, and that is the Morgantown PRT system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgantown ... id_Transit
  by Tadman
 
I never really understood the SOAC cars, they were supposed to be this amazing futuristic railcar, but they were really NYCTA cars with some bigger motors and custom front end.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
Pacific 2-3-1 wrote:The only other railcar work Boeing ever got out of the venture was the concurrent order for Chicago Transit Authority's 2400-series cars (still on the Green and Purple lines for now). The stainless steel carbodies were made by SOREFRAME (a Budd licensee) in Portugal. These and the LRV's were assembled in Philadelphia.
And Budd licensee Mafersa built the CTA 3200 shells for MK in the early 1990s.
  by byte
 
Tadman wrote:I never really understood the SOAC cars, they were supposed to be this amazing futuristic railcar, but they were really NYCTA cars with some bigger motors and custom front end.
The idea was that you take some new technologies in transit car design (propulsion, control, ventilation, etc) and build them all into one vehicle, which you can then parade around the country to various transit operators. Their engineering staff can then see this new tech in operation on their system without having to install it on their existing fleet. Chicago-L.org probably has the best description of the SOAC program: http://www.chicago-l.org/trains/roster/SOAC.html

Down toward the bottom of the page, it lists which new technologies on the cars which specific agencies bought into following the tests on their respective systems.
  by steve4031
 
So are they still out of service? In railfanning this weekend and would like to ride them.
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
steve4031 wrote:So are they still out of service? In railfanning this weekend and would like to ride them.
A CTA manager promised there should be 100 Bombardiers in the yard at Skokie Shops when the IRM Snowflake Charter zooms by on the last Sunday in March this year.

David Harrison

P.S. Oops...Sorry, it's never been told here just what caused the AC5000s to be pulled from service. The casting that holds the wheel bearing was Made In China. The casting is not up to specs...so much for Chinese craftsmanship, LOL. The fix will not be easy. The 2200s that were set aside with the 40 Bombardiers in service on the Pink line have been returned to service probably. Enjoy riding the 2200s on the Blue line...they're less threatened now then they were a month ago.
  by byte
 
We at IRM have four 2200s which are known to be in good shape and will likely be set aside for us when the time is right (two pairs to pick from, one pair to save). They may have been set aside for us for safekeeping, but after leaving the museum on December 31st I passed a train on the Congress median with one of "our" pairs in it. There are a good supply of 2200s at Skokie sitting in the yard, lacking doors and other important items ... right now the CTA is probably pretty tight when it comes to rolling stock.