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 doepack
qboy wrote:Well if that speeds stated in the article are accurate 61MPH for 40MPH X-over, and 47MPH on a stretch of track that is 30MPH. That can't feel good and can easily draw the attention of passenger especially if your a regular passenger. I'm not familiar with the Rock Island Line where these 2 speeding incidents are reported to have occurred. I run of the UP West Line(Geneva Sub) and I tell you there are couple spots while the timetable speed is 70MPH. It may feel ok to me going 65-70MPH the Conductors in the back will tell me hey the stretch of trk around MP 15 is rough, and tossing us around passenger and are wondering if things are ok even though I wasn't speeding!
I've heard engineers call in areas of rough track to the dispatcher, who will send out a track inspector to investigate. If necessary, the affected area will get slapped with a temporary speed restriction until repairs can be made. And while any kind of speeding incident on RI is certain to attract additional attention from the Feds, that red light violation on ME is also troubling. Luckily, that appears to have been a isolated situation, but that could have easily resulted in far worse consequences.
qboy wrote:I usually find my job easiest when no one complains or even get a occasional thank U in morning that works for me! Heck I've learned from crew some passenger call tell when I'm running or the Extra Board Engineer is working my train!
I've rode that line long enough to know what regular runs certain engineers have, and some can be slower than others, so when possible, I try to avoid their trains. Even when there's no speed restrictions, clear weather and signals, hot track all the way with moderate to average passenger loading and no freight interference or other problems, I still end up getting downtown about 5-7 minutes later than I would if an extra board engineer was working the same run under the same ideal conditions. Funny how that works...
  by qboy
Which train are U catching where your late 5-7 minutes everyday?
  by doepack
qboy wrote:Which train are U catching where your late 5-7 minutes everyday?
I don't ride daily, but I'll catch inbound trains 52 or 54 in the afternoons heading downtown 2 or 3 days a week. The minor delays occur most often on 54, and is usually a few minutes down already by the time it hits Wheaton (my home station); it's due there at 3:54. It'll get downtown just about an hour later, which winds up being 5-7 minutes past the listed 4:50 arrival time at OTC.

Once, I rode 54 twice in one week when an extra board engineer worked the run. The train was on time leaving Wheaton, and on time arriving OTC; in fact, on one of the trips, we arrived at the track 3 bumping post in OTC at 4:48. Have never been that early with the regular engineer...
  by qboy
Yeah Kinda figure U might be talking about M54. I train with him 10 or more years ago!
  by dowlingm
doepack wrote:To ease overcrowding, Metra is looking at leasing as an option. Wonder if Caltrain has any surplus equipment...
6 Gallery cars reacquired from VRE, along with parts. http://www.vre.org/about/Ops_board_item ... 20Cars.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (via davinp on VRE thread - http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 4&t=156574" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
  by Milwaukee_F40C
VRE V430 is a Pullman "six window" car built in 1956. It would be the only one Metra has if they use it, and if they repaint it then it will probably be the only one to ever get the silver Metra paint scheme. Hopefully it won't just be cannibalized. The other VRE cars and all the other Pullman cars Metra has are "four window" cars.
  by Gilbert B Norman
The Local NBC outlet ' had its fun' with METRA/BNSF as the lead story on 'News At Five'. Two incidents were reported upon today that occurred on BNSF resulting in major delays. First was a freight derailment occurring at Cicero resulting in only one track available for the morning rush, A second incident with a vehicle occurred at an X-ing in Hinsdale.

http://www.nbcchicago.com/traffic/trans ... 36071.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by doepack
"Airline" seats coming to Metra? Say it ain't so...
  by Tadman
I like the high back but not the fixed position. Flipover seats are great.

If anybody needs new seats, it's the South Shore. Ouch!
  by justalurker66
Tadman wrote:I like the high back but not the fixed position. Flipover seats are great.

If anybody needs new seats, it's the South Shore. Ouch!
South Shore is working on it ... as the single level cars are retired NICTD will get more gallery cars (planned for 2019 and 2029).
  by byte
Tadman wrote:I like the high back but not the fixed position. Flipover seats are great.
Compromise: Pivoting seats like they have on Amtrak cars (I think at Superliner and Horizon coaches, probably Amfleets as well). You step on a pedal somewhere under the seat and that unlocks it, and you can turn it around. But this doesn't really need to be built into the design. The old highliners have always had fixed seats and the riders dealt with it. At the very least, it keeps people from randomly flipping seats around during rush hour to accommodate *their* preferences, and lowering the seated capacity of the car in the process.

Anyway, nice to see Metra finally entering the 21st century and starting to maybe think about upgrading their seats! As a person who is over fix feet tall, I'd especially appreciate it if the new design had a place to put my head before they think about installing a place to put my coffee (although the latter would be nice as well). The only seats on the system I like are those on the ex-Milwaukee Budds (seem to be numbered in the 72XX series) which have nice high backs. The ex-CB&Q cars were all reupholstered but still assume your typical rider is five feet tall. Same with the Amerail/Nippon Sharyo cars, as well as the numerous RTA Budds that every line has. There is a small group of Budds which were built for the WSMTD (for BN service) in the late 70s/early 80s which have OK seats, almost as high as the ex-Milwaukee cars. I haven't ridden an old highliner in a few years but I recall that they were higher than most Metra seat backs, but had zero legroom.
  by doepack
Metra unveils "de-crowding" plan at CUS during service disruptions...
  by Gilbert B Norman
Learned of such, Mr. Doepak, from NBC Local News last evening; HAHA, HAHA, HAHA!!!!!! :P :P :P
  by EricL
Yeah, it's a noble idea, but "good luck". Metra probably only developed it to be able to say "we did something" in response to all the criticisms over the weather-related delays and overcrowding of last year.

They hit upon a good idea, which is to increase utilization of the Great Hall. This is a concept which would be beneficial every day, all year round, and not just for unusual crowding events. I think it would be wonderful if that space were to ever again be used for its actual intended purpose, i.e., waiting. The fact is nowadays that it's just too far out of the way. Your typical downtown worker is continually being squeezed for more and more productivity, working right up to (and sometimes beyond) the last possible minute. A short allotment of time between leaving-the-office and getting-the-train has become the rule. Few people want to spend an extra hour at the station anymore, to read the evening edition, enjoy a beverage, get a shoe shine, or even a haircut? This is of course why the tiny concourse areas get so hectic, because they represent a significant physical shortcut. The Great Hall's only hope for rejuvenation, I think, would be a near TOTAL repopulation of its business spaces, with an eye toward the upscale customer. It isn't enough to have just one or two businesses in there - only an all-in proposition would have any hope of making money, and actually generating enough interest to make the Hall into a viable passenger space again. Some old school shops are never going to come back (stationers and newsstands, in particular), but it seems like others should be pretty timeless (chocolatier, salon, florist, liquor, UPS/Fedex store, smokes and/or their newfangled e-cig/vaping equivalents?) What I'm getting at is that if you want people to wait in the Great Hall, you need to make it into a space that they will actually WANT to wait in. Of course ,leasing is all up to the building management company (currently U.S. Equities Mgmt. Co.) and I'm probably pretty off topic by even talking about this at all, since both Metra and Amtrak don't really seem to care about what tenants there are, as long as the whole place just manages to stay open. Amtrak seems just as interested in retaining the vacant retail spaces as storage for itself - i.e. places to put away the benches and ornamentations, while the Hall is rented out for the frequent private parties and public flea-markets.

Anyway, back to the point, I think that the biggest flaw in this plan is going to be the designated loading/staging area. That corridor is already hilariously hectic during most of the day. It certainly isn't any bigger of a space than the current south concourse which they plan to restrict. Plus you have the Amtrak baggage room and the G B office (for T&E personnel) located there too, both competing for foot traffic. And then you toss in the red cap carts... oy vey.
  by lstone19
I have to agree that it's a "we did something" plan. Forcing everyone coming in the river side to the north escalators is just going to cause gridlock on that side. And a result, there will be even more people waiting for trains as MD and NCS commuters end up missing their trains and having to wait for the next. The North side is not in such great shape itself and probably cannot take having that many south concourse passengers trying to pass through it. All it takes in one arrival to be late and delay boarding to cause excessive congestion - particularly if it's a Track 5 or 7 train which puts the congestion right at the bottom of the escalators.
IMHO, the only way this can work is if the south concourse people are forced to enter via Canal (Great Hall side) or Clinton Street. Of course there's no way to actually restrict the north concourse to MD and NCS passengers but they really will need to encourage the south concourse passengers not to enter via the river side entrances.
For me, if I heard in advance this was going on, I'd probably walk up to Madion (even though I'm at Willis Tower) and enter there passing up my usual 5:05 on Track 3 (no direct Madison access) for the 5:23 on Track 7.
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