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 Gilbert B Norman
Apparently, METRA, unable to obtain funding for new equipment at present, has reacquired ex-C&NW carbon steel cars from Virginia Railway Express.


The linked report was aired on WBBM 780 during the 5AM hour this morning.

Brief passage:

  • In order to handle the recent increase in ridership, METRA officials went looking for some USED rail cars and what they found, were cars they used to own. WBBM's Bob Roberts reports the deadlock on a capital infrastructure program in Springfield forced Metra to scrounge for its own used train cars, repurchased at quite an expense.

  by metraRI
Chicago Tribune:
Metra adding trains to deal with rush-hour crunch
Weekend service will also get more trains, officials say

By Richard Wronski

Tribune reporter

11:12 PM CDT, May 9, 2008

Metra riders who find themselves caught amid standing-room-only crowds on Union Pacific North line trains will get some relief this month when additional cars are added to rush-hour trains, officials said Friday.

Facing record high ridership, Metra also will add weekend trains to fill hours-long gaps on the UP North and Milwaukee District North lines.

Both actions come in response to chronic overcrowding exacerbated by commuters fleeing Edens Expressway reconstruction, which resumed in April.

New cars will be added May 19; the extra weekend trains will start running May 23.

Officials say there is not enough spare equipment to go around. The problem is so severe that the agency is repurchasing five 1950s-era bi-level coach cars sold to a Virginia commuter line several years ago, Executive Director Phil Pagano said.

The equipment shortage will continue unless the Illinois legislature and Gov. Rod Blagojevich can agree on a public works funding measure, including billions for mass transit maintenance and system enhancements, officials said.

Metra's last major purchase of 200 bi-level cars came in 2000 at a cost of $398.6 million under the state's now-expired Illinois First public works program.

Metra will add from one to three cars on some UP North trains, Pagano said. Coach cars can hold 135 to 152 passengers.

The UP North Line, operating between Waukegan and the Ogilvie Transportation Center, carried more than 2.3 million riders in the first quarter of 2008, an increase of 14 percent over the same period in 2007.

The UP North and the Milwaukee District North line between Fox Lake and Union Station will get four additional Saturday trains and two additional Sunday trains.

The adjustments will mean new schedules for the UP North and on Milwaukee District North and West lines. New timetables should be ready by Thursday, Metra said.

Edward Paesel, executive director of the South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association and former Sauk Village mayor, joined the Metra board of directors Friday. Paesel was appointed to represent South Cook County by suburban county commissioners.

  by doepack
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...

  by Met113

  by byte
I wonder why they didn't go for those old Burlington cars which are sitting up in Wisconsin (unless they tried and the owner wanted too much).

  by doepack
byte wrote:I wonder why they didn't go for those old Burlington cars which are sitting up in Wisconsin (unless they tried and the owner wanted too much).
It might have been a better deal, plus I guess Metra figured since the extra cars were just going to be used on UP/N, the ex-VRE cars would be a natural fit, since they used to run on that route...

  by byte
Ah, yeah. Plus they have the newer style seating as well, and have actually been maintained consistantly for the past couple years. Beats finding a family of raccoons or something living in cars you intend on hauling passengers with a week from now...

I can't help but wonder if Metra dropped the ball on upgrading the Rock Island's schedules in comparison to this. There are still a few large gaps in service which definetely weren't addressed during the Ryan recounstruction.

  by metraRI
I thought the same thing... the only change that came to RI in the Ryan Recon Era was the addition of a car to make a 10 car set... while weekend service on RI still is horrible. Hopefully when the Sox station opens, whenever that will be, weekend ridership will boost enough that Metra will see it worth the added cost. That and the fact that RI is the only SouthWest line to operate on the weekend, while there are 6 going North and West.

  by byte
No. That's a new Nippon-Sharyo bilevel that VRE bought new. The cars Metra would be getting back are identical to the flat-sided one which is coupled (mostly out-of-view) to the left of that new car (looks like it's numbered V452), which they recieved used from Metra about five years ago.

  by Met113
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?


  by doepack
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?
They should be back in service later on this month, running primarily on UP/N; although there's a chance they could be seen on the west & northwest lines periodically as the equipment rotates. VRE lettering will be erased and replaced by the Metra logo, but other than that, the current red and blue paint will likely remain as is...
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