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 metraRI
Continuing from the BNSF thread, I was curious which train is the busiest on each district. I would assume this is the longest train, but in some cases like UP-W, that is difficult to determine.

As mentioned before, RI's train #'s 408 and 409 run with 10 cars.
SWS #'s 808 and 823 run with 9 cars.
HC #'s 18 and 17 run with 6 cars.

  by doepack
On UP/W, trains 26 and 30 in the morning are very busy. But in the evening, train 47 (dep. OTC 5:04pm, nine cars) is by far is the most crowded, since it primarily serves Wheaton and Geneva, and is in fact an express straight to Wheaton from OTC. It's not uncommon for this train to spend up to 5 minutes at Wheaton unloading passengers. But what's odd is that 47 goes to Elburn with a stop in Geneva, but for some reason it doesn't stop in LaFox, a station that has much better service during the morning rush than it does in the evening. Weird...
  by Prairiefire
I have frequently ridden Train 643, 5:16 departure from OTC express to Arlington Park, its consist is usually 10 coaches, double headed. It is usually full to capacity, often standing room only.

  by doepack
These days, many companies offer more flexible scheduling for their employees, particularly in their downtown offices that allow some to leave from work at 3pm or earlier in some cases. As such, many of Metra's lines have seen an increased number of passengers boarding trains that depart between 3:30 and 4pm, just before the start of the "traditional" rush hour. As discussed previously at this forum, BNSF 1243, departing CUS at 1558, is among the busiest trains on that route, and although a "second section" of this train, consisting of an express run to Naperville and Aurora is added during times when a modified schedule is in effect (normally on days preceding major holidays), making this train a permanent part of the schedule should be seriously considered, the demand is definitely there. On CUS's north side, Milw/W 2223 and Milw/N 2125, leaving at 1530 and 1555 respectively, are also good performers.

Also, Metra Electric's train 131, leaving Randolph/Millenium station at 1608, consistently runs at peak capacity, almost always SRO. Part of the problem is that this train had just four cars assigned to it, and although there had been recent talk of adding two cars to that train, I don't know if that's actually happened yet. Meanwhile, the other existing six-car main line rush hour express trains between Randolph and University Park are also well-patronized.

Even UP/W train 37, which leaves OTC at 1440, usually has a good crowd on it. Although not quite SRO, it's an eight-car train with all cars open, and over 90% of the available seats are filled...

  by MetraBNSF
Another train on the BNSF that can get very crowded is 1239 (1518 CUS departure, express to DG, local to Aurora). This is only a 7-car train, but there have been instances when this particular train is at capacity. A Naperville/59 express has been put ahead of this train as well on days when a modified schedule is in effect.

Although budget limitations would prohibit Metra from adding additional trains and there has been some mention in the past about 2 additional afternoon Naperville/59 expresses being added in the future, I wonder what times those would be added. Putting one ahead of 1243 would be practical.
  by MetraBNSF
Today's BNSF train 1243 ran with 11 cars and shortly after the train departed CUS, it was reported that all 1,650 seats were occupied. Not sure if a car was added to the train or if an existing 11 car set was used. I also hear that longer sets were used for the 1428 and 1518 DG expresses.

  by metraRI
I'm guessing sets were switched around due to the snow and expected heavier loads early in the day.