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 byte
I have a few questions that maybe someone could answer. After looking at a Metra car roster (this one: http://hometown.aol.com/metrafan/rosmetra.html), a few things caught my eye, and I can't seem to find an explanation for them. According to that roster, Metra had two ex-C&NW bilevel club cars, #s 7900 and 7901. Since these were the only two club cars on the system, what did they use them for?

Also, how were the ex-RI flat-sided bilevels integrated with the rest of the fleet, and when were they retired? I'd never seen them run on the actual RI district under Metra ownership, so I'm assuming they were sent up to flat-sided territory on the C&NW, but I can't be sure. Also, were the RI bilevels (both flat sided and stainless steel) HEP equipped before the RTA took over, or did that have to be done when they took over commuter operations? (The reason I ask is that the RI's motive power fleet at the time was that handful of ancient cab units, and none of them look like they'd have HEP - especially the E6 630, and there's a picture somewhere out there of it pulling bilevels in the late 70s.)

And finally, what goes on when the shop forces de-activate the cab on a cab car? Do they remove the striping and the cowcatcher, or are the changes all within the cab?

Thanks for your help!

  by c604.
The two 7900's were run on the CNW lines until at least 1998 (last time I ever saw them in service, one was stored for a long time at Western Ave.). One was always on train 641 to McHenry. Both had big red dots on their loading doors.

The ex-RI Pullmans ended their careers on the Antioch runs. A friend of mine used to commute daily on that line back when it started in 1996 and he noted that the numbers matched up to be the old Rock cars. An interesting side note: I was told that you could always tell if it was an ex-Rock car because it had rounded corners on its windows as opposed to the rectangular type of the CNW cars.

  by bones
Good questions!

7900 & 7901 were basically bar cars. Much nicer than the current 7300-7310 series.

The Rock had 5 Pullman Standard (smooth side) trailers #155-159. they were renumbered RTA #7867-7871.

The Rock had 5 Pullman Standard (smooth side) control cars #115-119. They were converted to trailers in the early 80's. Cow catchers, whistles, bells, and windows romoved. You could hardly tell that they were ever control cars. They were renumbered RTA #7881-7885.

The former Rock Pullmans did get assigned to the CNW. Later they were rebuilt and used on the NCS. Now all former Rock Pullmans belong to MARC.

The Rock had Budd (Stainless Steel) trailers numbered #140-154. They were renumbered RTA #7242-7256. The did get sent to the MILW in the early 80's. Now most are on the CNW.

The Rock had Budd (Stainless Steel) control cars #110-114. They were renumbered RTA #8220-8224. The did get sent to the MILW in the early 80's. 8222 was in a big wreck and was converted to a trailer and renumbered #7382. It was rebuilt in the last year and I believe it's running on the BN, SWS, ir HCS. The remaining control cars are still on the MILW but are being used as trailers.

When the deactivate a control car, about all they do is bolt the cab door shut.

  by c604.
"They were converted to trailers in the early 80's. Cow catchers, whistles, bells, and windows romoved. You could hardly tell that they were ever control cars. They were renumbered RTA #7881-7885. "

Interesting. Did they retain their cabs or were the cab areas turned into seating like regular coaches?

  by bones
They retained empty cabs.

8718/8719 were rebuilt the same way about 4 years ago. Now they are at MARC.

  by byte
Thanks for the answers, guys! And shortly after I started this thread, I found a list that had the RI's commuter locomotive fleet, and showed that some of them had HEP, so I answered that question for myself - some had HEP for the bilevels, and the rest had steam generators for the older cars.

Strangely enough, that E6 I mentioned before was, in fact, one of the engines equipped with HEP. Putting it on such an old engine almost seems counter-productive, like buying a flat-panel monitor for a ten year old computer. BUT ... if Metra wants to redeem itself for buying the MP36s, the 630 is being auctioned off by its current owner, and it has HEP, so if they really wanted to apologize for the choice of new engines, I think some vintage RI power would do the trick. :P

  by bones
Remember, The Rock Island was a broke railroad. So HEPing the E6 wasn't a bad move. Also the 2 AB6's the Rock owned were also HEPed.
The E8/E9's that had HEP were former U.P. The origanal ROCK E8's never had HEP. The 3 passenger F7's #675-677 were also converted to HEP.

Bones and all METRA fans: HI - I am MACTRAXX and I am new to the RR.net site. I have spent much time in the Chicago area and I became interested in what became over time METRA. My relatives lived just one block from the N&W now SWS Landers - now Wrightwood station. I visited from 1973 to 1988. I became interested in the railroads of Chicago early on - especially the commuter railroads. I remember that back in the late 80s METRA was beginning to consolidate things like car assignments. I remember things such as stainless steel cars w/red numerals were former Milwaukee road cars and that RIs painted bilevels were used later on the North Western. Have the original Burlington bilevels been retired and are they being saved? Does METRA want to retire all its painted bilevel cars? I always liked the RTA F40 paint but the METRA colors are not bad either. I have many memories of Chicago-area trains - among them being fanatically interested in the IC/SS electrification and rail lines. I made some mistakes also - I took the Rock Island service in the 1970s totally for granted - it basically was as described an operating railroad museum that you will never see the likes of again. Again,I am happy to take part in RR discussions - Glad to be here! Thanks to all - MACTRAXX

  by bones
Metra is replacing all Pullman Standard cars. Some of the Burlington cars are going as well. All control cars and the early 700's. Some of the later 700's have been rebuilt in the last 2 years.