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
 
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/

Looks like the wire came down (pan snag) at Clark Road around 4p and really screwed up rush hour. Three trains anulled in either direction. No word on the effect on the freight side.
  by justalurker66
 
That is a good response. The South Shore has been having a rough time lately. A heart to heart press release is a good step toward healing.
  by Tadman
 
It's a nice response, but it doesn't help if you're stuck in Chicago with no way home. Regarding Wednesday evening, how did the thousands of riders get home? Did they all call their spouses and arrange pickup or did they wait and crush-load later trains?
  by justalurker66
 
Piecing together the alerts for the night:
South Shore service has resumed east of Hammond. Eastbound trains are experiencing significant delays in excess of 60 minutes traveling east of Hammond. The next eastbound train originating from Chicago traveling east of Hammond will depart Millennium Station at approximately 7:10 p.m.

Eastbound Train 119 due to arrive in Michigan City left Randolph 23 minutes late.
Eastbound Train 121 will also be late-will advise time delay as soon as information is available.

The following trains have been cancelled: Eastbound Trains 209, 215 and 117. Westbound Trains 218, 20 and 220.
(Westbound 22 was expected to run 30-45 minutes late due to all the eastbound trains.)

.... all this because a train went through the Clark Rd crossover too fast ...
  by Tadman
 
That's my big question, what's going to happen to Mario Andretti who couldn't slow down enough to make the crossover?

And why, of all places, would you speed through a slow crossover? The conductor and passengers will notice, there's a chance of derailing, and the body roll may cause you do snag a wire... It's not like doing 84 in a 79mas area.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
The crossover lesson should be learned in Chicago by now.

About the wire, I can picture a subtle amount of bank causing a pantograph to snag a converging wire even on a fast switch. The corner at the leading and trailing edge formed by the curved sides of a pantograph looks like it can be kind of sharp if it encounters a converging wire at speed. Especially if there is any catenary hardware sticking out a little.
  by PRRGuy
 
The bigger question is why NICTD has a 79 mph main line littered with 15 mph crossovers? You can't expect to move passenger trains in a timely manner when you are getting such a delay to just change tracks.
  by PRRGuy
 
Tadman wrote:That's my big question, what's going to happen to Mario Andretti who couldn't slow down enough to make the crossover?

And why, of all places, would you speed through a slow crossover? The conductor and passengers will notice, there's a chance of derailing, and the body roll may cause you do snag a wire... It's not like doing 84 in a 79mas area.

The situation between the train's operating crew and the railroad has already been taken care of. It concerns me that the railroad would put out such a notice after an accident placing the fault on the engineer BEFORE a complete investigation had been done. How the union let that get by them, I have no idea.

As for speeding through the crossover, when you're headed eastbound out of East Chicago, you are delayed in block (I.E. at a speed of no more than 40 mph) until you can see the signals at CP 64.9, then you can resume max authorized speed. My opinion is that the engineer mistakenly thought he had a clear signal (Green over Red) instead of the diverging clear signal (Red over Green). Seems like if the railroad had upgraded the crossovers while doing all the other upgrades to the mainline...like let's say to 40 mph switches, you'd have more of a chance to keep trains on time as well as reducing the likely-hood of derailment if something like this were to happen again.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:The bigger question is why NICTD has a 79 mph main line littered with 15 mph crossovers? You can't expect to move passenger trains in a timely manner when you are getting such a delay to just change tracks.
How often do the "79 mph" trains take a crossover? Yes, it happens ... I have seen eastbound trains cross over approaching Gary Metro so they arrive on the westbound track and make a quicker turn. Per schedule 209 arrives at 4:14p and leaves as 218 at 4:34p. (Normally eastbounds turning will use the Track 1 side of the platform, go into the add track, then change direction and pull up to the Track 2 side of the platform to load passengers ... but if they cross over before arrival the direction change can take place at the platform.)

Yes, it would be nice to have all high speed crossovers ... and 15 mph seems overly slow. But most of the time NICTD stays with right hand running. Not a lot of flipping back and forth between tracks.

BTW: The last information I can find has MAS at 60 mph east of Durbin St (about 1/2 mile east of the crossover) - not 79 mph.
PRRGuy wrote:As for speeding through the crossover, when you're headed eastbound out of East Chicago, you are delayed in block (I.E. at a speed of no more than 40 mph) until you can see the signals at CP 64.9, then you can resume max authorized speed. My opinion is that the engineer mistakenly thought he had a clear signal (Green over Red) instead of the diverging clear signal (Red over Green).
You are off by a few miles. The accident was at CP 61.5 - which would have been the third signal down the track from East Chicago (just past the flag stop at Clark Rd). Depending on traffic ahead, the engineer would have seen clear at CP 64.9, Approach Diverging at the intermediate then Diverging (or Diverging approach) at CP 61.5.
PRRGuy wrote:Seems like if the railroad had upgraded the crossovers while doing all the other upgrades to the mainline...like let's say to 40 mph switches, you'd have more of a chance to keep trains on time as well as reducing the likely-hood of derailment if something like this were to happen again.
With the use of CP 51.5 to help with reversing trains at Metro Center it would not be a bad place for an upgrade.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:Without getting into specifics, I can assure you that it did take place at the CP 64.9 crossover just east of the East Chicago station. That stretch of track is 79 mph.
You are right. I was basing my reply on the "Clark Rd" mention in the first post of the thread (which to this point was not disputed in the thread). The linked article at The Chicago Tribune is no longer available at that link. The press release linked early in this thread is also no longer at that link, but a copy I saved says the incident was between East Chicago and Cline Ave. Which would have put it at CP 64.9.

So ... approaching East Chicago eastbound: If CP 64.9 was already cleared for the crossover move the engineer would have seen "Diverging Clear Approach Diverging" (red over blinking green) instead of "Diverging Clear" (red over solid green) if CP 64.9 was cleared to stay on Track 1. If CP 64.9 had not been cleared yet the engineer should have seen "Diverging Approach" (red over yellow). Whatever that signal was (at CP 66.3) the engineer apparently missed the next one.