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 Deval
Does CTA have any locomotives, in the conventional sense? If so, what types, and where are they kept?
  by doepack
You're a little late (about 110 years, actually :-D ), because CTA has no locomotives on its roster; certainly not in the modern era. Although portions of today's Green line (i.e., the south side 'L in 1892, then the Lake Street 'L' the following year) began service with passenger cars hauled by steam locomotives, both lines were converted to M.U. traction by 1900...
  by oknazevad
But what about work train locomotives? That's what I thought Deval was asking about, and it's certainly a question I have.
  by byte
The CTA has two small diesel switchers - no bigger than a GE 44 tonner - kept at the lower 63rd yard and used for M-O-W purposes and for shuffling cars around the yard there. One was purchased from an industrial outfit around Lockport or Morris and turned out to be unsuitable for the task and sits there but unused, so another similar diesel switcher acquired elsewhere does the work. I'm almost positive I saw it with a train of M-O-W ballast hoppers sitting in a middle track on the Congress branch of the Blue Line, so if that's the case, it can venture pretty far out of the lower 63rd yard without physical restrictions. (Both of these locomotives were within view when IRM's Snowflake Special charter ventured into lower 63rd earlier this year.)

Aside from the current fleet of diesels, the last two electric locomotives the CTA had were S-104 and S-105, which were used to handle freight cars on the north side main before that service was discontinued in the 1970s. These were yellow steeplecabs built with components identical to those found in 4000-series "L" cars. The S-104 is owned privately and stored on a siding in Michigan City (I believe I've heard Tadman refer to this as the "secret steeplecab"). The S-105 was at East Troy for a while, and is now at IRM and being worked on in the diesel shop (barn 2).
  by oknazevad

So the question that next comes to my mind is, "How was the one diesel switcher 'unsuitable', as a spare would always be a good thing?"
  by byte
I think they bought it and realized once it was delivered that it was too large or weighed too much or something. Little industrial switchers like that aren't in really high demand (if you buy new, you get a trackmobile) so now it's just sitting there since no one else is banging down the door to buy it.

You can see the switchers if you bring up Bing Maps. The unused switcher is the black & white one parked closest to the west side of the yard. Also looks like CSX cleaned up all their intermodal crap that was spread out across the CTA's only interchange with live rail .... wonder if they plan on using it...
  by doepack
See, this is proof positive that I just need to get out more! I see general purpose diesel locomotives of several different breeds out here every day on the UP line where I live, and I thought that's what Deval meant, at first. Apologies for any misinformation (and thanks for setting it straight, byte!!) :-D
  by justalurker66
The view from the road:

One of those things that if you don't know where to look you'll never see it.
  by Tadman
I think the track is a former Monon siding or Pullman in-plant trackage, about 20-30 yards west of active Amtrak(Michigan Central) trackage. It's well-disconnected - there's no live track until the Amtrak line.
  by Zanperk
Is this unit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4043254637/ CTA or a contractor?

Any guesses what they were by builder?

Does the CTA have much in the way of traction equipment assigned to work duty or is it mostly industrial switcher(s) and self propelled diesel equipment?
  by byte
I'm going to guess that's a CTA-owned locomotive, based on the fact that it's painted in the same yellow scheme as the authority's MOW equipment. The people doing the tie replacement may be contractors, but the person running the locomotive is undoubtedly a CTA employee.

As far as builder, looks like GE.

There is a group of 2400-series "work motors" which can be seen on the Green and Purple lines, and are are distinguished by having red-and-white "candy cane" striping on the sides and A-ends of each car. These cars have heavier gauge wiring and are typically used to haul around flat cars (in between two pairs of work motors) carrying MOW equipment. When they're not being used in work service, they operate as regular revenue cars.