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 justalurker66
CTA Gray Line wrote:North of 11th Place the east track would be upgraded for service operation, with a new exit platform for Metra and NICTD trains at Van Buren; upgrading of the Interlocking south of Randolph, and modifications to the Millennium Park station.
The work at Van Buren would cost two storage tracks ... one to become Track 4 and the other to become the space for the platform. Connection to the existing Van Buren station would require tunneling under Tracks 3 and 4 (to allow people to exit west toward Michigan Avenue instead of relying 100% on the bridge exit). That will cut into your "$200 Million Total Capital Cost". The good news is interlocking is mostly in place. Just add a connection between the end of the track and NICTD's lead without going over to Track 3.
The original Illinois Central Electric Suburban service ran FAR closer headways (along with South Shore trains intermixed) than anything proposed for the Gray Line/Metra/NICTD operation; upgraded signaling, coupled with future Federally mandated PTC should be able to handle the increased headways.
The IC had six tracks between 11th Place and 67th St back in the day ... and one of the reasons why the IC's and Metra's shuffle works is that they have use of all of their tracks. Under your arrangement the CTA trains would be limited to the inner tracks and the Metra trains would be limited to the outer tracks. When something goes wrong having more than two tracks has served Metra well.
At no point would CTA and Metra/NICTD trains share platfrom facilities, outside of downtown Metra/NICTD trains would only stop in Hyde Park at a new free access 59th St./UoC platform extending north from a joint 59th St. station house to an ADA ramp down to 57th St & the MS&I.
So what happens to the recently remodeled 55th-56th-57th St station and 63rd St? Would they be modified to prevent access to the outer tracks?
I requested Operating Cost information for the Electric District from Metra under the FOIA, they said that they didn't separate out the cost of operating the MED from the overall operating cost of the entire Metra system (obvious b/s - but it effectively stopped me dead in my tracks, any suggestions?).
There are costs that are unique to each line but there are also costs that are shared by all the lines. Unfortunately the best figures I can give are simple math ... taking what it cost to run the system and dividing by vehicle revenue mile ($13.04 per mile per Metra in 2010) or vehicle revenue hour ($402.84 per hour per Metra in 2010). The numbers per mile/per hour are not that much different than what the all electric NICTD line reported but neither are the true cost of running a train car for a mile or for an hour of service.

The per passenger mile numbers are even more similar. It cost Metra (overall) 35c per passenger mile to operate their service. It cost NICTD 38c per passenger mile to operate their service. And it cost CTA 35c per mile to operate their rail services ... but it is still math. Adding one more passenger doesn't increase the cost of running the train by 35c per mile.