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 doepack
 
Dan Ryan portion of Red line goes out of business for 5 months starting next year...
  by MACTRAXX
 
doepack wrote:Dan Ryan portion of Red line goes out of business for 5 months starting next year...
Doepack: Interesting news about rebuilding the tracks and ROW of the entire Dan Ryan line in 2013...

I remember that the roadbed on that line was limestone and I remember that it would break down in spots with the
constant pounding of trains under the ties making for a rough and bouncy ride at times...
Was that the source of the slow zones that the line has today?

I feel that with a line reconstruction that any limestone ballast should be replaced and the line regraded...
New welded rail and composite ties would be a considerable improvement...if concrete ties are not used...
Does the CTA have any ROW with concrete ties? I do know they have used composite ties somewhat...

The CTA could use that extended shutdown period to make a wide range of other improvements to stations
and other Dan Ryan line infrastructure...What about the long thought extension S of the 95/State terminal?

Looking back I do now feel that the past shutdown of the paralleling Englewood and Jackson Park South Side
L routes for reconstruction can now help riders that will be affected by the Dan Ryan line's temporary closure...
Some folks may have supported closing these lines in the past and it is a good thing they were kept in service...

Without the South Side L the transit burden would then be on Metra's Rock Island District and to a lesser extent
Metra Electric for rail transit options and perhaps the CTA would operate expanded bus service to the areas
served by the Dan Ryan line that would be subject to traffic congestion that would grow due to the line
shutdown if there is an increase in the percentage of those that would drive instead of using alternate transit...

This looks to be a shutdown with a few months of inconvenience that would allow long term improvement
for riders of the Dan Ryan line...

MACTRAXX
  by EricL
 
What the hell? The Dan Ryan line _just_ had a whole bunch of work done on it only a few years ago. (roughly concurrent with the rebuilding of the expressway.) Was it mostly just signal and station improvements then? If not mistaken, I recall slow order mitigation being an emphasis. Was all that work just a temporary band-aid?
  by byte
 
They did a ton of work on signaling and roadbed, but come to think of it, I don't think they actually replaced the rail. Just picked it up, moved it out of the way, then put it back when work was done. Anyway they couldn't have done all of it at that point anyway because the stations remained fully open, and the shoo-fly tracks setup at that time (which ran the trains onto a diverted track that was sitting on the Ryan roadway) were only there between stations, so the track IN the stations they could never touch, it had to remain open. In the stations is actually where you see a lot of rail wear due to what the electricity does to the rails when a train is taking power and accelerating (puts little divots in the rail when there are sparks).
  by JamesT4
 
Moderators Note:
I had split the post on the CTA red line shutdown into it's own topic, from the in the news post, for this to have it's own topic for the mean time.


As I know I am glad I don't use the Red line anymore, but still know people who do take it, this will be interesting, even thou I remember CTA did track work on it several years ago, when they did those single track projects during the night time hours.

Also I am making this topic sticky, so it will stay on top of the page, & will be removed when the project is completed.

CTA Web Site: http://www.transitchicago.com/redsouth/
Red Line South
Track Renewal Project
Coming: Spring 2013
Faster. Smoother. Better.

Starting in Spring 2013, the CTA will rebuild the tracks along the south Red Line, from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan—a project that will provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable service for Red Line riders.
Building a New Chicago

The south Red Line, called the Dan Ryan branch, is more than 40 years old and needs a full replacement. Because of the current track conditions, Red Line riders experience longer travel times, more-crowded trains and less-reliable service.

This project will provide faster commutes, a smoother ride, improved stations and accessibility and a better passenger experience. Additionally, the project is expected to create hundreds of good-paying jobs.

The work is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program, which is updating infrastructure that's critical to the city—and includes improvements that will help ensure that CTA continues to serve customers as effectively as possible.

The project is made possible by $1 billion in federal, state and local funding announced in late 2011 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn for the Red and Purple Lines.
  by MACTRAXX
 
byte wrote:They did a ton of work on signaling and roadbed, but come to think of it, I don't think they actually replaced the rail. Just picked it up, moved it out of the way, then put it back when work was done. Anyway they couldn't have done all of it at that point anyway because the stations remained fully open, and the shoo-fly tracks setup at that time (which ran the trains onto a diverted track that was sitting on the Ryan roadway) were only there between stations, so the track IN the stations they could never touch, it had to remain open. In the stations is actually where you see a lot of rail wear due to what the electricity does to the rails when a train is taking power and accelerating (puts little divots in the rail when there are sparks).
Byte: (David)

I recall that some improvement was done on the Dan Ryan line and do you know if there was
substantial replacement of the limestone ballast that the line originally had?

I also recall that railroads in the Chicagoland region used to use limestone ballast widely and
I do recall that other sources of stronger rock began to be used...The interesting rock that
comes to my mind was the reddish brown stone type that the C&NW began to use around
the late 70s/early 80s era...Do you or anyone know about what ballast type that is used today
and a general idea about sources?

I remember seeing information of other recent construction on the Dan Ryan route and I
find it interesting that the rail was not replaced...I wonder how much rail dates from around
1968/69 from when the line was originally constructed...

You also note the damage to the rails from the effects of power draw and arcing over time...
I wonder how much of that was caused by stray voltage...and remember that trains draw the
most current starting up from a station stop...How many substations does the DR route have?

I read thru the information on the project and I noticed that they will run trains during the
Dan Ryan line shutdown between Englewood and Howard again...It was a good move by the CTA
to keep the old route connections intact as an alternate allowing this service to operate...
Shuttle buses serving the Garfield station from other DR line stations is another good CTA move...

The Dan Ryan Line Re-Construction project in 2013 looks to be quite interesting and again
I am thinking that short term inconvenience will lead to long term improvements here...

MACTRAXX
  by Tadman
 
Hehe guys this is Chicago. The home of pork and payola... It makes no diff if we did a bunch of work on the red line a few years ago, and certainly makes no diff that the north side L probably needs way more work than the south side...
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
MACTRAXX wrote:I remember seeing information of other recent construction on the Dan Ryan route and I
find it interesting that the rail was not replaced...I wonder how much rail dates from around
1968/69 from when the line was originally constructed...
CTA released an informational video on the Dan Ryan project and basically the tracks, rail, ballast, roadbed and drainage is original 1968 construction.
  by MACTRAXX
 
R36: Thanks for the video on the coming CTA Dan Ryan Line reconstruction project...

There is one major track item that is not part the original trackbed: The Dan Ryan line and the Kennedy Line between Logan Square
and Jefferson Park originally had concrete ties which were two blocks connected by a steel bar that I believe were replaced with wood ties sometime in the mid-late 1980s...Both of those line extensions opened around the same time in 1969-70 and had similar designs
that were built primarily in expressway medians...I recall Graham Garfield mentioning to me that those ties needed to be replaced
because they were failing and not designed for a very long lifespan like later concrete ties would be...When the O'Hare extension opened in 1984 NW of Jefferson Park those tracks used predominantly wood ties...(Graham Garfield at http://www.chicago-l.org)

With the coming reconstruction noting that the CTA has made use of composite ties I would like to know if they plan to use them
in the Dan Ryan project...An example of these ties: http://www.tietek.com

I remember well the speedy service that the CTA offered on these lines during the 70s era and I do find how these tracks
and trackbeds have aged interesting...Back then I never would have even thought about the "slow zones" of today...

MACTRAXX
  by buddah
 
Tadman wrote:Hehe guys this is Chicago. The home of pork and payola... It makes no diff if we did a bunch of work on the red line a few years ago, and certainly makes no diff that the north side L probably needs way more work than the south side...

Hay Tadman! nice to see you still hanging around... Well as I've been traveling Ive had very little time with current events.. However I can honestly say the RED line has always been like the step child of the CTA since the late 80s. Id agree when it comes to stations the North side may need more attention then the red line but thats only in the station category IMHO. The red line ( and green) seems to always get the hand-me-downs with equipment as well (exceptions to fav rolling stock the 2200s on the blue line). The most recent CTA equipment was delegated to the orange line and brown line. The last major CTA overhaul was the brown line ( going to 8 cars) and stations along the route were updated as well. The north side has seen quite a bit of improvement recently and with the concreted portion of the ROW above grade it pretty much stays ahead of the curve when it comes to maintenance. Next to the blue line from downtown to ohare the Red Line on the south side has to be the CTAs most highly passenger traveled segment with station stops spread so far apart, on the north side you can throw a rock from station to station ( wilson to berwyn). With the Red line by not being able to move from station to station at MAS on the line its a big disadvantage. So I for one am glad to see the Red line receiving some well needed attention, I however just out of logic thought they would have done all of this when the Ryan was getting its makeover just a few yrs back Thats when they should have shut it down and had everything done at once.....but ya like you said...." This is Chicago!"


Marctraxx... If I remember correctly the CTA was the first 3rd rail & passenger rail system in the North America to use composite rail ties over a decades ago, even though the ties had a bumpy start. With the technology in producing new composite ties now standing up to the test of time Im sure the CTA will continue to use them in all future endeavorers unless they go concrete which Im sure is not a cost feasible option. I agree with you short term inconvenience will lead to long term improvements. However the 5 months is at regular Chicago work pace which means it will take 7, if they work weekend and allowed third shift work crews it could be done in 3 which means 4.

Recently spent some time this summer In DC and rode there red line quite a few times.. Im brought to remember this which a friend who lives there told me ( the person use to previously live in Chicago), don't complain about the Red line in Chicago is leaps and bounds ahead of DCs Red line, DC in general has..... "Good ideas, but bad implementation!" I found that to be true.
  by Metra210
 
Shutting down the Red Line south of Cermak to rebuild the tracks is a very good thing. I see a lot of riders and CTA employees benefiting from the reconstruction in more ways than one. One thing that I really hate about riding the Red Line anywhere between 55th and 95th to visit friends on the south side is the number of slow zones that the trains encounter. I COULD use the Metra Electric as an alternative, but I don't want to deal with those Flag Stops.

A prediction I have is, during next year's shutdown of the Red Line, ridership on the Metra Electric will greatly increase, to the point that extra trains may be needed. That's just a prediction, but it may happen, since both lines virtually parallel each other to 95th Street. Green Line ridership may increase as well.
  by erie910
 
This is reminiscent of the shutdown of the Lake St. el line for complete reconstruction. Since that line was overhead, the entire superstructure from the Loop to the end was reconstructed. I think that it took over a year.
  by byte
 
erie910 wrote:This is reminiscent of the shutdown of the Lake St. el line for complete reconstruction. Since that line was overhead, the entire superstructure from the Loop to the end was reconstructed. I think that it took over a year.
The Green line reconstruction took a little more than two years, and the entire superstructure was not rebuilt. Most of the line still operates on 100+ year old steel, but all of the concrete footings were replaced, along with some steelwork in various places along the route. 95% of the original structure is still in use, however, and simply rehabilitated and repainted from its prior state. The complete shutdown of the Green Line is, in retrospect, not seen as the pinnacle of transit planning; it took several years (after it reopened) for ridership to climb to its pre-rehab levels. I predict that the CTA will be able to get by with a five month shutdown of the Dan Ryan branch because that's a fraction of the time the Green Line was closed, and because they've learned a thing or two about getting people to their destinations during previous rehabs.

The CTA can't win when it comes to pleasing the public during these projects. Close a line entirely (Green, now Red) and you get lambasted by the public for disregarding the transportation needs of the ridership. Keep the line in service with rolling station closures and constant slow zones (Pink, Brown) and the complaints will still roll in because trains are late and Trixie & Chad had to walk to a further stop because Southport was closed for two weeks. Really the best thing they can do is figure out the best way to get the work done as quickly as possible, start it up as soon as possible, and then when the whining and moaning starts just put up a massive publicity front to the effect of "WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE AND WILL ADDRESS THE ISSUE AT HAND, blah blah blah" while laying low at the headquarters on Lake while the work gets finished.

The only way I think this rehab could go better doesn't even involve the CTA; Metra is planning to add a stop on the Rock at 77th and Fielding, which would be of some use to Red Line riders if it were in place and operating in time for the big shutdown. However, given Metra's typical "relaxed pace" when it comes to these types of projects (especially those located in the city proper) I'm not surprised no effort was put into getting that facility up and running in time for the Red Line shutdown.
  by Tadman
 
Hehe, we don't walk to Southport because Fullerton is closer and has more service. And if there's no Trixie in the picture, the scenery along the way through DePaul campus ain't bad for a Chad. Or a Tad...

Everybody knows the fastest way to brunch when you're running late on a Sunday morning is the Red Line, despite the fact it probably stinks a bit more.

And for those not paying attention, Trixie and Chad are the ultra-stereotypical 20/30-something female and male Lincoln Park dwellers.
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
One more indication that the "Anschluss" is coming:

The Red Line's 2600's are getting changes in their mylar roll signs.

The red "Roosevelt" sign on these cars (but not the Brown/Orange Line 3200's) is being replaced with a RED "Ashland/63rd" sign.

Not exactly the "Englewood-Howard" "A" train (which had red signs) but close!

"L" trains from Harlem going west and south will only take you to "Jackson Park", I mean "East 63rd", I mean "Cottage Grove".