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 metraRI
 
The difference, and a big one at that... is that the cars Metra bought from VRE are in running condition, probably in better condition than when Metra got rid of them 5 years ago, so minimal improvements would need to be made to the cars from VRE
  by MetraBNSF
 
In a related article...

Metra short on space as passengers flock to trains
Transit agency repurchased 1950s-era cars to help

By Richard Wronski | Tribune reporter
11:35 PM CDT, June 19, 2008

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 2345.story

With too many riders and not enough train cars, Metra is a victim of its own success.

Ridership has grown steadily for years, but with gasoline prices soaring and highway projects like the Edens Expressway reconstruction fraying nerves, Metra is carrying record numbers of passengers. Passengers face standing-room-only conditions on many lines, while some communities—particularly southwest suburbs—are clamoring for more trains.

Continuing a trend, Metra ridership in April was 4.8 percent higher than the same month in 2007. Ridership in January jumped 17.8 percent from 6.5 million passenger trips in 2007 to 7.7 million for the same month this year.

The agency is hamstrung by a lack of equipment to accommodate more passengers and demands for new service, officials said. Metra Executive Director Phil Pagano said there aren't enough spare cars to meet current needs.

The equipment shortage is so bad that Metra repurchased five 1950s-era cars that it sold to a Virginia commuter line several years ago.

Transit officials say their biggest problem is the lack of a statewide public works funding program.

Passengers on jammed Union Pacific District North line trains got a bit of a reprieve in May when additional cars were added to rush-hour trains. And weekend trains were added to fill hourslong gaps on the Union Pacific North and Milwaukee District North lines.

Both actions were in response to chronic crowding exacerbated by commuters fleeing Edens reconstruction.
  by metraRI
 
I wonder if Metra regrets getting rid of so many old cars after receiving 85/6100's. How many CB&Q cars did Metra replace, any idea?
  by byte
 
I'm still holding out for Metra to borrow the three bilevels IRM has once their operating season is over ... heck, if they merely kept them in good shape and fixed some of the nagging problems (I don't think the PA system works on one car, for example) IRM might simply let them borrow them for nothing. Would clear up some track space there, too.

And besides, who wouldn't love to see some C&NW yellow and green sitting down at Oglivie in the 21st century? It would definitely cause some older commuters to do a double take.
  by doepack
 
How crowded are SWS trains during rush? I could be wrong, but does this route really need anything longer than 7 cars? If not, perhaps three or four cars could be transferred from this line to other routes that need the extra capacity. It would be a short-term solution, but there's a chance it could alleviate the problem long enough for a permanent solution to be reached (and given the inertia of Springfield when it comes to these matters, it's a long shot, but one can always dream...)
byte wrote:And besides, who wouldn't love to see some C&NW yellow and green sitting down at Oglivie in the 21st century? It would definitely cause some older commuters to do a double take.
That would be wild. Wonder if IRM would let Metra slap their logo on the side while they leased them...
  by metraRI
 
doepack wrote:How crowded are SWS trains during rush? I could be wrong, but does this route really need anything longer than 7 cars?
Yes... 823, 825, 827, 829 use every car... 823 being 9 cars, 825/827 are 8, 829 is 7. If Metra added a 3:30 departure, the 4:30 might not need 9 cars, but SWS has always filled 8+ cars with rush trains, even with the old timetable. Taking cars from one district and moving them to another really wouldn't solve any problems, instead it just shifts the problem from one district to another.

The last time I was on SWS during the am rush was over the winter. At that time SWS only had one spare car that was not used either in the am or pm. This car is on OP's 7 car set, running 804/805/818 and 831... In the am only 6 cars were used on 804, pm uses 5 cars as of now. I'm not sure if 804 uses all 7 cars now or not.

Re:

  by realtype
 
m11stephen wrote:YES!!! I love those cars! Does anyone know when they should be back in service and will they have the same paint scheme they used to have?
Why do you guys love those ancient gallery cars so much? MARC's ex-Metra cars (identical to VREs) are the most hated cars in the system. Fortunately, MARC only has a handful (~12) of them, and they can be only be run on one line thanks to their low-level boarding configuration. MARC got them because they were extremely cheap, MARC needed immediate relief for crowded trains, and they already had MARC colors :wink:. MARC is currently the only system in the Northeast to operate these crappy cars.

I've actually seen many riders purposely skip trains (myself included) just because they have gallery cars on them. The cars have seats with virtually no padding or support, the doors don't even work so the conductors have to manually drag each door open, none of the restrooms work, and the ride is so bad it is almost painful to ride over switches. It is 100% impossible for me to sleep on those cars, even though I can easily sleep comfortably on our 'real' bi-levels and single level cars (identical to the South Shore EMUs). Comparing riding in them to riding in our Kawasaki Bi-levels (not really fair since the Kawas are aguably the most advanced commuter rail coaches in the country) is like comparing riding an airplane in first class to riding in the cargo hold. Interestingly, MARC's West Virginia riders, don't seem to mind the gallery cars at all (good for them since they get half the gallery trains anyway). I think a MARC conductor summed up the gallery cars best when he said that "riding in them is like riding in a schoolbus." I couldn't agree more.

Sorry for the rant, but would Metra PLEASE buy these cars from MARC also.
  by doepack
 
realtype wrote:Why do you guys love those ancient gallery cars so much? MARC's ex-Metra cars (identical to VREs) are the most hated cars in the system. Fortunately, MARC only has a handful (~12) of them, and they can be only be run on one line thanks to their low-level boarding configuration. MARC got them because they were extremely cheap, MARC needed immediate relief for crowded trains, and they already had MARC colors :wink:. MARC is currently the only system in the Northeast to operate these crappy cars. I've actually seen many riders purposely skip trains (myself included) just because they have gallery cars on them
As a point of comparison, Metra still operates a handful of stainless steel cars built 50 years ago for the CB&Q (which are even older than the ex-CNW cars sold to MARC), and various upgrades to the interiors, electronics, and truck assemblies through the years have kept these cars running pretty reliably for the most part. While it's true that the ex-CNW cars weren't in the best of shape when MARC acquired them, what (if anything) did MARC do to maintain them? Aside from needing immediate relief for overcrowding, were they meant to be used temporarily for a year or two until more newer cars came online, or were they intended to be semi-permanent members of their fleet?

Yes, I agree that they're old, outdated, and uncomfortable, and I don't miss riding them, the newer equipment is much better. However, beggars can't be choosy, and Metra re-acquired the VRE cars because, like MARC, it allowed them to alleviate overcrowding for the right price. If MARC becomes desperate enough to get rid of them, I'm sure Metra would buy 'em back in a heartbeat, if the price is right; believe me, it would go a long way toward solving Metra's own problems of overcrowding. And unlike MARC commuters, Metra commuters don't skip trains on purpose just because one would pull in with older equipment in the consist, most folks around here don't really mind that. As long as the train shows up on time, is clean, and gets them where they're going on time with minimal to no delays is all that really matters...
  by metraRI
 
What Metra can do to those old cars will surprise you. Though the only type of commuter equipment I have been in are the bilevels, the rebuilt 700's are pretty nice. Sure Metra does not have bucket seats like other agencies have, no tables, etc etc... but with the average trip being under an hour, I think the majority of Metra riders are happy with the gallery car... not to mention, thats the only type a Chicago commuter would know.
  by Tadman
 
A properly maintained gallery car is the best ride out there. The new ones at Metra are very nice. Although I haven't seen the MARC/CNW cars since they left Chicago, I would not be surprised that no agency has spent any money on them, as they are "temporary". In that case, MARC officials have made a business decision to maintain those cars on a shoestring. It's got nothing to do with design and maintenance while at Metra. Metra does a great job of maintaining their fleet - I've been on a few 1960's vintage CB&Q bilevels in the last few years, and although they aren't quite as nice as the new 84/8500 cars, they are in very good shape for their age. Compared to any other equipment of that age, and MNCR / LIRR M1 and M3 stuff is the only thing that comes to mind, there is no comparison. The M1/M3 fleet is shot and partially scrapped.
  by byte
 
Because of their utilitarian features (both on the inside and mechanically), the gallery cars (as Metra has configured them) are easier to maintain than most rolling stock, which is probably why Metra regularly beats the pants off of every other commuter agency as far as reliability goes. Plush bucket seats would be nice, but if something gets spilled on them, you need an upholstery cleaner to clean it up. However if something is spilled on the blue vinyl seats Metra uses, you only need a sponge to clean it up. It's the little things like that which make the difference in the long run.
  by metraRI
 
Rumor has it that the 5 VRE cars are on their way back to Chicago on Amtrak #29, the Capital Limited.
  by Met113
 
I hope someone gets a picture!!!
  by Tadman
 
I saw them cruise past on 29(24) at 11am in South Bend. They are between the power and baggage car.
  by F40CFan
 
I saw some of these cars in CUS today (6/25/2008) on the north side. They were on the easternmost track so they were mostly obsured by the cement supports. I was on 2227 departing at 4:20 when I saw them. I was wondering what they were doing there.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 13