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 jstolberg
New Union Station master plan to be unveiled on Thursday.
realistic improvements that can be made in a few years are a major focus of a new master plan study that will be presented to the public at Union Station, 210 S. Canal St., on Thursday during the evening rush period as commuters are going home.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/classifie ... 112.column
  by doepack
To finally get something major done, the whole idea is to steer away from the type of over-the-top, exorbitantly expensive proposals made in the past and instead focus on common-sense fixes that can be accomplished, officials said.
Amen, and that really should have been the approach all along. Simply improving the existing amenities while expanding the waiting areas and platform space for both Amtrak and Metra commuters would be a giant step in the right direction, and is doable. And if enough capacity is added, Metra may acquire the ability to have "stand by" equipment at one, or even both ends of the terminal during rush hours in case something breaks, as is the case at OTC. That is, assuming Amtrak would be amenable to that...
  by doepack
A recent exhibit detailing CTA's RPM (Red and Purple Modernization) project. Among the possibilities discussed is straightening out the curve at Sheridan, a flyover at Clark Junction, and a new transfer station at Loyola (actually not new, more like reinstated; decades ago it once served as a transfer between local and express services, and it would be restored to that function).

Check it out...
  by EJ&ESDM809
Over this past weekend, the crossovers at the Downers Grove plant on the BNSF were taken out of service, spiked, and then removed. Now that the tracks are all realigned and reopen at Belmont, BNSF has rendered the Downers Grove plant redundant. They left the switches into the yard in service, everything else is gone. There are also a bunch of new relay cases popping up for upgrading the grade crossings between Cass Avenue and Forest Avenue, as well as new signals between Westmont and East Lisle.
  by orulz
There is a bunch of stuff up on the CREATE page about the Grand Crossing rail connection project, including diagrams of the alternatives.

For the southern half of the project, there are two alternatives. One which seems sort of like a baseline alternative would would use the NKP flyover of the CN/IC and add a single track between the NS line and the Skyway. The other alternative does both of the things mentioned above plus includes several more new tracks north of the NS right of way where the NKP used to be and where Con Ed has some power lines.

For the northern half, one alternative would hug the east side of the NS ROW adding a track there as far north as 42nd St. The other alternative would build a new connection from the NS line to the Metra SWS line through Englewood from roughly 61st & Stewart to 59th & Wallace and utilize the Metra line from there.
  by MetraBNSF
The Monroe Street grade crossing in Hinsdale along the BNSF is in the process of receiving 4-quadrant gates. This was the site of a deadly accident back in 1994 that pushed grade crossing safety into the limelight. Saw a short news tidbit on this project here.
  by metraRI
The scenery around Orland Park 143rd Street will change again this year as work is underway to relocate the mainline to the east. This is due to IDOT having to build a new overpass to allow the widening of LaGrange Road. Included in the project will be new platforms at 143rd Street, which will be next to the station that was built away from the current mainline in anticipation of the project.
  by E Runs
Does anyone know what's going on on the MD-W at Galewood Yard?
  by EJ&ESDM809
The new signals in the Downers Grove area are starting to be erected. A new cantilever support has been erected at the Belmont station. Also, two new cantilever supports have been erected by the Downers Grove Yard. One of these new cantilevers will be a intermediate signal since the Downers Grove plant is no more, and the other will be the signal to go into Downers Grove Yard. Another new intermediate signal will be going up at Lisle, as BNSF is getting ready to re-remove the crossovers there. New signal boxes have also been installed at Fairview, as well as at Westmont.
  by jstolberg
Nice photos at the Chicagoist of the new bridge over Torrence Avenue near 130th Street.
http://chicagoist.com/2012/08/26/city_m ... er_tor.php
The Chicago Department of Transportation moved a 400-foot long railroad truss bridge into place over Torrence Avenue near 130th Street Saturday morning. The 4.3 million pound bridge will allow for commuter rail traffic to pass on the South Shore and South Bend lines and is believed to be the largest such bridge ever moved into place after being assembled off-site. Walsh Construction used four self-propelled mobile transporters (SPMTs) to move the bridge.
  by MetraBNSF
The Belmont Road underpass project in Downers Grove is now about 95% complete. The pedestrian underpass which replaces the at grade crossing at the station was opened in early July and the bridge that carries Burlington/Warren avenues over Belmont Road and corresponding ramps connecting Belmont with with Burlington/Warren Ave were opened shortly thereafter. There are two small extensions from the south boarding platform that extends to track 2 in the event a train boards from the center track. Most of the major work now being done is an intersection improvement at Belmont and Curtiss Street, about 1/4 mile south of the BNSF main.
  by metraRI
Parts of the Englewood Flyover have started to take shape in recent weeks, with the first 8 bridge spans being lifted into place. NS is in the process of relocating signal boxes that sit in the SE corner of the diamond (new NS signals are also going up..) once these boxes are moved, one more pier support will be built.

Google Maps has updated satellite images which show the progress as of early spring.

Google Maps Link
*Make sure 45 Degree setting is off on the right corner.
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