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 F40CFan
 
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.
The only answer I have is that MARC must not know how to maintain equipment properly. On the Milwaukee West line we have Budd gallery cars from 1964 that ride 1000% better than the new Japanese bilevels. I remember riding the Pullmans and they too were as smooth as silk. All of the doors in Chicago are functional and the conductors use the controls in them whenever they can. I will grant you that the seats are not as comfortable as they could be, but that is easily corrected with an upgrade. If the cars are not working or riding problerly, I would fault the MARC shop crews. I have seen inside of the Kow cars and there is no way I would try to cram myself into one of those claustrophobic seating areas. I agree, have METRA buy the cars back and send the Japanese crap out east.

Sorry for my rant, but there is no comparison between a real rail car and a "modern" car. The traditional car wins hands down.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
Metra definitely should have kept the stainless fleet until they knew for sure they would be able to replace that capacity and account for passenger increases. And the only good reason to replace them is if they are worn out and expensive to maintain, which they weren't. It doesn't hurt to have a little redundant capacity available. The carbon steel Pullmans were rusted and beat up, but there wouldn't have been a problem if Metra planned ahead. Government accountability...

I don't think there is anything wrong with the Japanese cars, I haven't noticed any difference in ride quality. I actually consider them to be some of the last traditional style passenger cars still in production, with a few modern upgrades. It shows how great the stainless gallery car design is. I don't think there is any major differences in construction.
  by byte
 
Milwaukee_F40C wrote:I don't think there is anything wrong with the Japanese cars, I haven't noticed any difference in ride quality. I actually consider them to be some of the last traditional style passenger cars still in production, with a few modern upgrades. It shows how great the stainless gallery car design is. I don't think there is any major differences in construction.
And I'd sure as hell want to be in one of those in the unlikely event that the train I'm riding in derails and I need to use those nice big windows to get out!
  by Tadman
 
I'm pretty sure MARC actively maintained the bilevels poorly - they knew the cars wouldn't be around long, and had no idea anybody other than the scrapper would want them after service in the DC area. Hence, they made a [smart] business decision to let the cars go. There was no way we thought $5 gas was a reality even two years ago, which is why Metra didn't save more cars and MARC didn't think these rolling museums were worthy of maintaining. The real testament to the design is the fact that the cars roll at all after being neglected.
  by qboy
 
Tadman wrote:I'm pretty sure MARC actively maintained the bilevels poorly - they knew the cars wouldn't be around long, and had no idea anybody other than the scrapper would want them after service in the DC area. Hence, they made a [smart] business decision to let the cars go. There was no way we thought $5 gas was a reality even two years ago, which is why Metra didn't save more cars and MARC didn't think these rolling museums were worthy of maintaining. The real testament to the design is the fact that the cars roll at all after being neglected.
It will be a little while before there back in service. They were in bad shape when the arrived a little more than a month or so ago. Its funny the rumor around the yard is Metra paid more to get the cars back then they did getting rid of them just a couple of years ago.
  by byte
 
That's no rumor, that's the truth!
  by doepack
 
Wonder if they're going to keep them in a solid set, or mingle them with some of the other equipment...
  by F40CFan
 
Based on the way that they were used on the MILW West line before, I'd say that they would be intermixed.

And in reply to a previous post, there is definately a difference between the way the Budd (and Pullman) cars ride verses the Japanese cars. Not only in ride quality but also in sound proofing. Look in the vestibule of the 8500s, many times you can see the ground rolling by through the gaps in the steps. Sorry, sometimes new is better, but that is not the case regarding the gallery cars. Give me a solid consist of Budd cars any day.

Re:

  by doepack
 
doepack wrote:Good to see the old CNW soldiers coming back "home", wonder if they'll restore the road numbers too...


Looks like that's going to be the case, saw two cars sitting outside the shops today on my way home, with the Metra logo re-applied. One of the restored road numbers is 7836 (ex-CNW #236), couldn't see the other one...
  by F40CFan
 
I saw another one inside the shops this morning.
  by F40CFan
 
7836 was in a train sitting in the Western Ave. yard last night (9/11/2008). It was in full Metra livery. I wonder why it was not kept at California Ave., after all it is originally a C&NW coach. They should keep them and give the Budds back to the MILW.

I want MY cars back.
  by doepack
 
F40CFan wrote:7836 was in a train sitting in the Western Ave. yard last night (9/11/2008). It was in full Metra livery. I wonder why it was not kept at California Ave., after all it is originally a C&NW coach. They should keep them and give the Budds back to the MILW.

I want MY cars back.
Didn't some Budds go back to Milw after all of the newest 6000/6100 cars were delivered? There's still a few 7200/7300 Budds still scattered about on UP (especially in six-car sets), but the majority of them should be back on your route; I know all the old 8200 cabs are still there (what's left of them anyway...)
  by F40CFan
 
The majority of the Budds we have are the 82xx cab cars. We don't have many of the original 72xx coaches. We do have some of the 73xx "RTA" Budds though. The "RTA" Budds are ok, but the tan and blue interiors with orange seats are kind of bizzare. At least they got rid of the fixed seats in them. They also lack some windows that the earlier cars had, so you can get a seat that does not have a window. If you look at a MILW train, they are mostly cab cars and @#$&* 74xx coaches.

My favorites are the 72xx coaches that were purchased in the 70's around the same time if not with the F40Cs. They came with either lime green, blue or orange seats. I never did figure out the pattern.
  by metraRI
 
F40CFan wrote:7836 was in a train sitting in the Western Ave. yard last night (9/11/2008). It was in full Metra livery. I wonder why it was not kept at California Ave., after all it is originally a C&NW coach.
MD did have its share of pullman cars... NCS was pretty much entirely made up of them.... so not surprising to see them there. I really don't think it matters which district the cars end up on, put them where extra room is most needed.
  by F40CFan
 
metraRI wrote:MD did have its share of pullman cars... NCS was pretty much entirely made up of them.... so not surprising to see them there. I really don't think it matters which district the cars end up on, put them where extra room is most needed.
That is true in later days. However, the majority of Pullmans started out on the CN&W with a few on the Rock. MILW was always all Budd. Metra did the switching around for whatever reason. Apparently, California Ave. is the only shop that can maintain the Pullmans, so why not keep them there?

My main beef with the Pullmans is that the windows do not line up very well with the seats. I like to look out the windows on the upper level and there are only a couple of seats on the Pullmans that allow a decent view. The Budds (and Japanese successors) are much better in this respect. As far as ride goes, they are right up there.

What they should do is make up a nearly all Pullman consist and use it with single-level lounge 553. They would match up nicely.
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