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 erie910
 
Please forgive me. I'm a native of NJ, and we speak of subways in NYC, regardless of whether elevated or underground (although the 3rd Avenue El was quite famous), and the el/L in Chicago. I'm open to having my terminlogy correted. In looking at the current schedule, the Purple Line appears to be what used to be called the Evanston Express. It runs elevated from the Loop to Linden. But it's behind the Brown Line trains, which make every stop. With restored tracks on the Loop to where the State St. subway comes up to join the elevated line, one would think that the Purple Line trains could make better time. Yeah, it would be more expensive than extending the Skokie Swift/Yellow Line to Old Orchard Shopping Center, but it would serve a lot more people. And, yes, I did ride the entire NYC subway system and the entire Chicago system.
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
Thanks for responding. You are forgiven for the "El" reference. We have a lady in charge of city promotions and she says it should "make no difference what term is used." Of course, she's from the East. The Purple has followed the Browns for 40 years. The Purple didn't use to stop, but it does now. The idea was to relieve overcrowding on the Brown. The stretch is a little over two miles, but there's only one station. So if the third and fourth track were restored, there's only a 50/50 chance to pass up one train. Plus the curves!!!! six of them...all sharp 10-20 MPH curves. Include the slow down approaches and one quickly sees little space for full speed running to make it even feel like an express run. In short...if money were growing on trees, it could and should be spent on something else that would give more bang for the buck. Wanna speed up the Purple...run it in the subway with the Red line.
  by erie910
 
Running Purple in the subway is an idea. However, that's a 2-track line, right? Wouldn't the Purple trains then get stuck behind the Red Line trains and not make travel any faster? Besides, there's no place to turn a train in a subway quickly, is there? I know that these are not subject to FRA regulations, but, even if there were crossovers from southbound to northbound tracks, wouldn't the motorman have to walk the length of the train to head the other direction, not to mention any brake tests from the northbound control cab?

Why, oh, why were the elevated lines constructed with such tight curves which everyone knew would slow trains significantly? Not the best of ideas. Do you have any idea why the line north out of the Loop was constructed with 4 tracks? If only 2 are used now, and if only 2 can enter the Loop, what was the thinking behind 4? Some things make one wonder.
  by byte
 
erie910 wrote:Running Purple in the subway is an idea. However, that's a 2-track line, right? Wouldn't the Purple trains then get stuck behind the Red Line trains and not make travel any faster?
Presently the Purple Line Express trains make the same local stops as Brown/Purple/Green/Pink line trains do in the loop. So there's really not much reason to try and do otherwise if the PLEx trains were running along with Red Line trains in the subway.
erie910 wrote:Why, oh, why were the elevated lines constructed with such tight curves which everyone knew would slow trains significantly? Not the best of ideas.
Probably because if they widened up the minimum allowed curvature, you wouldn't be able to fit the tracks between the buildings at all. So then there'd be no "L" at all, which is an even worse idea!
erie910 wrote:Do you have any idea why the line north out of the Loop was constructed with 4 tracks? If only 2 are used now, and if only 2 can enter the Loop, what was the thinking behind 4? Some things make one wonder.
The "missing" two tracks immediately north of the loop were used by CNS&M trains until that line's demise in 1963.
  by Chicagopcclcars
 
erie910 wrote:Running Purple in the subway is an idea. However, that's a 2-track line, right? Wouldn't the Purple trains then get stuck behind the Red Line trains and not make travel any faster? Besides, there's no place to turn a train in a subway quickly, is there? I know that these are not subject to FRA regulations, but, even if there were crossovers from southbound to northbound tracks, wouldn't the motorman have to walk the length of the train to head the other direction, not to mention any brake tests from the northbound control cab?
The Purple in the subway would be the equal to the Red in the subway. They would both make all stops. Chicago is not vested in that idea of "express" like New York.
erie910 wrote:Why, oh, why were the elevated lines constructed with such tight curves which everyone knew would slow trains significantly? Not the best of ideas. Do you have any idea why the line north out of the Loop was constructed with 4 tracks? If only 2 are used now, and if only 2 can enter the Loop, what was the thinking behind 4? Some things make one wonder.
Two of the 'L's used steam locomotives. The cars were 46 ft. long. You saved money building as tight as you can. The idea of 55 MPH, air-conditioned, AC technology of today was undreamed of.


When the north side 'L' was opened in 1900, it's competitor wass the cable and streetcar lines. The North side was built with local stations every two blocks (1/4 mile) and express stations every 1/2 mile. It was chartered almost the same time as the other three 'L' companies, but had financial problems that delayed it. Also, except for the Lake Street 'L' Chicago 'L' companies were required by their charters to build "through the blocks" meaning they couldn't build over streets without the permission of the property owners. They could cross streets (and alleys) So they built at the rear of lots next to the alley. Alleys you don't have out East, LOL. If the alleys ran the wron way, th 'L' built on private property which they bought and owned outright.

When they got downtown, there was little room to build, or the land was too expensive, so they sought the property owner permission to use the street. This was expensive too but it was the cost to be the "boss." (Blues tune reference) The north side could only build a two-track 'L' over Franklin and Wells Street. So thats why it's still here today as a bottleneck. Not hardly a bottleneck as in days gone by. Then when you considered the bottleneck that was the Loop, that two-track was a piece of cake.

Go to the CTA website and look up projects Red...Ryan....Red-Purple North
  by erie910
 
Were not the last two newly-constructed lines the extension to O'Hare and the one to Midway? Aside from those, is there any new lines in planning?

The CTA map shows 6 stations between the Loop and Belmont where the Purple Line trains stop, following Brown Line trains. Could not the Purple Line trains be moved over to the express tracks just north or south of Fullerton and save a bit of time? As I recall, the Red Line is 4-track north of Fullerton.

I've heard of the extension of the Skokie line to Old Orchard probably 10-15 years ago, and it still hasn't happened. Considering the frequent delays at O'Hare, the North Shore service to Milwaukee probably could be very competitive in time. Weren't there a couple more stops between Dempster and Howard when it was the North Shore? When riding it, I thought that I saw a few abandoned station platforms.

Wish that the NYC system would go to its airports.
  by orangeline
 
The last new line formed is the Pink Line, which began revenue operations in June 2006. It combined the former Blue Line Douglas Branch with the Green Line via a rebuilt Paulina Connector.