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 Tadman
No pics - sorry. There is a street seperating the tracks from my office, but there is a 50 yard thick woods between the tracks and street. In fully bloomed summer condition there is only a 50 yard long break in the woods - no time for pictures, especially on the NS(NYC) Chicago Line. Things move fast on a busy railroad like that. The JB Hunt train comes through almost as fast as 29 and 49, and the PRB coal trains move quite fast too. Only thing that moves slow is the occasional transfer and steel coil train. You can hear either because they use older GE four motor units rather than brand new GE and EMD six motor units, as seen on most trains. It seems after ten years of owning the Chicago Line, NS has reverted to the Conrail motive power plan of big, new, fast. In the first part of this decade, we got the N&W power plan - old, loud, and lots of 'em (up to 8 units/train at least once/day)
  by doepack
They've now been moved to California yard, saw them there this evening while riding home on 63. Yard was pretty much cleared out by that time, which allowed for better viewing, although they were still a bit far away to get a really good pic. Best bet is to wait until they're actually in service...
  by F40CFan
Did you happen to see how many there were? I could only see, due to obsured vision, that there was more than one.
  by qboy
There are 5 car set sitting in plain site in the coach yard with the VRE markings all around them. As I brought my equipment in this morning a bunch guys including the yardmaster were joking over the radio, about how long it will take to ge them ready for service.
  by F40CFan
Well, now they'll have some smooth-sided cars to match 553.
  by byte
...If only they'd repaint that sucker. I wonder what the inside looks like, and if it's been updated since they put it in RTA paint (when, I would guess, they worked on the whole thing). Something tells me the folks who own the thing don't know too much about railcar maintenance, otherwise the exterior would have gotten METX blue and platinum mist, like the smooth bilevels 'n' hylinerz.
  by F40CFan
I saw it once in Kenosha. It was between me and the sun so I could see inside a little bit. From what I could tell, it is still an old-fashioned lounge car.
  by F40CFan
This morning I saw one of the Pullmans sitting on the track just outside the shop building at California Ave. Perhaps they are getting ready to work on it. I wonder if Metra is going to give them their old numbers back.

On a side note, there was a long line of hi-liners at California Ave. Most were in the IC paint scheme.
  by doepack
F40CFan wrote:On a side note, there was a long line of hi-liners at California Ave. Most were in the IC paint scheme.
Those are likely heading to that big scrapyard in the sky. You didn't see the road numbers, did you?
  by byte
doepack wrote:Those are likely heading to that big scrapyard in the sky.
That place over at Goose Island moved?
  by Tadman
The place at goose island is actually at Cortland and the river, about five blocks north of Goose Island on the former MILW, now Chicago Terminal (I think) which was cut off from the CP system a decade back and now operates out of the CNW yard south of the Metra/Clybourn station. The scrap yard is General Iron, an account of my company's. Last time I walked thru the area there were no gallery cars to be seen, although the best vantage point is to walk west on Cortland to the river - there's a break in the buildings on the south side of the street where Finkl & Sons stores trucks and steel. You can see railcars waiting to be cut up at General Iron parked through this clearing.
  by F40CFan
doepack wrote:Those are likely heading to that big scrapyard in the sky. You didn't see the road numbers, did you?
I couldn't see the numbers, they're too far away. They are actually closer to the UP west line. As of this morning, 07/07/2008, they are still there as is the pullman coach outside of the shop building.
  by F40CFan
FYI, this morning it looked like a GP15-1 was coupled to the west end of the IC cars.

The Pullman is still sitting outside the shop building.


  by bn9900
doepack wrote:Good to see the old CNW soldiers coming back "home", wonder if they'll restore the road numbers too. It's just too bad they can't add more rush hour express service on UP/N due to the limited capacity. With the F40 rebuilds, the possible temporary return of the F40C's, and now this, there's going to be a lot to look forward to this summer...
There was a post about the 10 EX BN Cars, Metra should not have let these cars so fast, along with the CNWs
  by bn9900
realtype wrote:
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.
I think because Metra did a very fine job keeping the cars in shape, also I wonder if the Chicago riders just like the old times, not to mention, the cars operating (EX CBQ, BN,RI Milw,and CNW ) were there for so long, it would be great if I could take my kid (when I have one) to the tracks and say "I used to ride those when I was a kid, and your grandfather and great uncle" used to take the train every day riding those. Nastalgia I guess
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