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 justalurker66
 
Will the Alstrom coaches be used on the MED or are we completely off topic?

The diesel line stops I see within CTA rail coverage seem to be good destinations for suburban travelers that do not need to be eliminated. The additional doors and step free design for lower level seating will speed up station stops. The point of having the trains is to provide service to stations. Miss too many stations and the service level suffers.
  by eolesen
 
Nope, they won't. That rabbit hole came from the notion that Metra will morph into a transit style service. That's not it's role.

These cars are going to be used for hour long rides that let out at a downtown terminal.

Having two large exit doors in the downtown terminal isn't going to do anything to make getting out of the platform any faster because you'll still have a mass of people all moving in the same direction on a 10-foot wide piece of concrete....

I really don't see anything groundbreaking or transformative going on here, aside from a new supplier entering the mix. We've seen this style of car used In systems Nationwide for the last 30 years thanks to Hawker-Siddeley and Bombardier. The only thing different about these cars is that they don't look like a lozenge....



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  by justalurker66
 
Terminal dwell really is not a problem. The train is going to sit there for a while anyways (even on a quick turn they now have to reload PTC). Where the doors absolutely will help is at the suburban stops where the train needs to load and go in the morning and unload and go in the afternoon. And I know it helps because the South Shore proved it. Speeding up boarding and alighting at major stations by installing high level platforms that allow the South Shore to open every door on every car (on the platform side of the train) instead of one door per car with steps. The full width upper deck will also help with capacity and passenger flow. No more sitting on the shelf in a gallery car. :)
  by eolesen
 
It's the illusion of speed - the bottleneck moves from outside the door to the vestibule waiting to go up the stairs or move down the aisle. You might get a few more people inside the vestibule before closing the door, but people don't magically develop the ability to move down the aisle and sit down faster...

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  by doepack
 
eolesen wrote: Fri Jan 29, 2021 5:10 pm I really don't see anything groundbreaking or transformative going on here, aside from a new supplier entering the mix. We've seen this style of car used In systems Nationwide for the last 30 years thanks to Hawker-Siddeley and Bombardier.
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The technology in the new cars may not be groundbreaking and transformative, but those adjectives accurately describes (IMO) Metra's apparent change in their notoriously conservative, stodgy, and changeless attitude toward railcar purchases.

I still don't believe it.... Metra straying from the tried and true gallery car playbook?
  by eolesen
 
What choice did they have once N-S closed down Rochelle? They don't appear to have even bid for this RFP.
  by doepack
 
I know their options were limited after Nippon Sharyo closed up shop. That said, I would not have been surprised to see Metra simply biding their time until Caltrain started running their new Stadler equipment once the electrification comes online. Then Metra would have just gobbled up some of Caltrain's surplus gallery cars in yet another version of same ol', same ol'.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that's not gonna happen; it was probably just me thinking that anyway...
  by metraRI
 
doepack wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 6:16 pm I know their options were limited after Nippon Sharyo closed up shop. That said, I would not have been surprised to see Metra simply biding their time until Caltrain started running their new Stadler equipment once the electrification comes online. Then Metra would have just gobbled up some of Caltrain's surplus gallery cars in yet another version of same ol', same ol'.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that's not gonna happen; it was probably just me thinking that anyway...
Prior to the approval of the new Alstom cars, Metra did indeed sign an agreement with Caltrain for 50 of the cars they are planning to replace. Sound's like the option hasn't quite been ruled out yet, may depend if they increase the new car count beyond 200. The Caltrain cars would have to be completely rehabbed and the braking system changed.
  by west point
 
Metra rotates their 3 phase backwards of anyone else last I heard
  by electricron
 
Caltrains will soon be retiring 93 Galley cars as Stadler Kiss EMUs enter their fleet. I'm thinking they will keep their 26 Bombardier cars around for trains between San Jose and Gilroy. Yes, 96 is not anywhere close to 450 cars.
  by orulz
 
My biggest question about these cars is, are they lighter? Do they adhere to the modern European-style alternate crashworthiness requirements, with crumple zones and crash energy management, or do they follow the old timey 1950s buff strength requirements that used to be the only way to get FRA approval?

Mass matters A LOT on a railroad like Metra. They run long trains, some of which stop VERY frequently, often behind just a single diesel locomotive. If you can reduce the mass by even 10% that could make a pretty big difference in how fast these trains can negotiate a schedule like the RI Beverly Branch or the local services on many of their other lines like the UPN, UPW, and BNSF.

On that point, given this apparently sensible acquisition of more modern coaches, if they are in fact lighter than the Gallery cars, I hope they also have the sense to allocate them first to the services where they will make the MOST difference, that is to say - not the expresses, but the locals! There will be a temptation to assign the newest cars to the longest express runs (which seem to be treated somewhat as "flagship" services) but my opinion is that they should prioritize better ops . Rule of thumb: The more stops in a schedule, the more it will benefit from the faster acceleration that lighter trains enable, as well as the shorter dwell times that lower floors and more doors will provide.

This, in my opinion, will be a litmus test for whether or not Metra is "growing up": are they going to modernize and emphasize ops improvements, or will they go back to business as usual?
  by eolesen
 
Observing from my line.... The locals tend to be mostly N-S cars, so I'm not sure why you'd think there would be a temptation to see them deployed on the expresses. I will say from a reliability standpoint, you don't want an express being bad-ordered and annulled, and newer cars tend to have more of a tendancy to be bad ordered as they're introduced due to the learning curve with the mechanical department.

The Budd and P-S equipment largely winds up on the express consists because from a utilization standpoint, they only do one revenue round trip per day.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I have ridden Metra a few times and have studied their schedules over and over. They run so many express trains, especially during the rush hour and even several lines run express trains on weekends. Those Gallery bilevel cars certainly weigh a lot but what I like about them is they don't require people to take many steps to get between the edge of the train and the platform. That's very important for those local trains which run on many of the lines during the off peak hours. The BNSF Line is a good example. The ride to Aurora on a local train takes 1 hour and 25 minutes to a little over an hour and a half. Presently(COVID-19) the express trains(Downers Grove first stop) only operate during the week and it looks like according to the schedule, they take an hour or an an hour and five minutes. The majority of those stations along the BNSF Line see healthy ridership, especially before COVID-19. When the successors of the Metra Gallery cars enter revenue service, that will be interesting to see how long it takes people to board and detrain them.

I live in NJ and must say that unlike Metra, the NJT Multilevel Cars have long dwells at the stations with low level platforms as people need to go down more steps than Metra's diesel hauled Gallery Cars. There aren't enough high level platforms along NJT as many of the lines used to be served by the Comet 1s, which many could only stop at low level plaforms, given the height of the doors for passengers to board and detrain. The Comet 1s have been long gone from NJT, I think around 2010. All of NJT's commuter rail vehicles can stop at both high level and low level plaforms. Like Metra, many of NJT's lines have the stations very close to each other, especially on the former Lackawanna Lines. I just wish NJT would have ran their Arrow IIIs on Midtown Direct trains, given the spacing between stations. The successors of the Arrow IIIs, the Multlevel Power Cars which will also be compatible with existing Multilevels, will hopefully help with the acceleration of the NJT trains. Sorry to go off topic if I did but NJT and Metra have many similarities. NJT runs too many local trains as well and more express service is needed.
  by eolesen
 
The floor height of a gallery car is the same as any other single level coach, so I don't think there are fewer steps...

Perhaps it's perception because the double doors allow three people at a time to enter and exit?
  by ExCon90
 
Perhaps also because the steps on the gallery cars are "indoors" out of the weather and thus don't collect ice in the winter. Or do the doors on multi-levels extend down to the bottom step? -- I don't recollect noticing.