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 EricL
Okay, so I've been in the employ of Amtrak for five years now - working mostly on the famed C&M subdivision, but also elsewhere, such as the Carbondale and St. Louis lines. It only just now occurred to me that the CTA "L" crosses quite a few streets at grade, and that they must have some kind of rules about crossing warning device failure.

It's called by all kinds of names on the "heavy" roads - GCOR 6.32.2, CN rule 529; "X" codes on the UPRR; "item 1/2/3" on the CP...

I have noticed in the past, particularly on the Skokie line, that highway/CTA crossings were protected by green signal lights that seem to behave like this - normally extinguished; flashing green as a train approaches (to indicate gates in the process of coming down); solid green means gates are down/OK to proceed.

My curious question is this - what rules does the "L" have in place regarding reportedly malfunctioning crossing warning devices? It is not uncommon on "heavy" rail for a train to stop, have the trainman step out onto the road crossing to warn traffic, and flag the train across once the crossing is clear. With one-man operation being the norm now on CTA, it does not seem like this particular program would really work out too well.

Other times, in the case of a broken gate, or burnt out warning light, or something else relatively minor, we might be given a 6.32.2(2), or "XH", or "529 B", or "Item 2", any of which go like this: reduce to 15mph over the crossing without stopping; blow the whistle regardless of any whistle ban; and then proceed at normal speed. I don't see this concept being very difficult to translate to the transit side.

What happens for an "L" motorman if that flashing green light never goes solid? Or never lights up at all? Do motormen ever have to flag crossings, and how do they do it seeing as though they are a one-man show?
  by ryanbytes
I live behind the Kedzie Brown Line station and this has happened a few times. Usually because somebody tried to beat the gates. In most events there was a CTA CA there to flag the train. If there was no CTA personnel on the scene the operator would wait until somebody from the CTA arrived to flag the crossing. They don't have to do it for long. Either a supervisor arrived or more likely it was the signalmen. The CTA signalmen are FAST. If the rest of the system worked with their speed the time to the loop would be ten minutes from Kimball. :)