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
Coming March 14: Expanded service on Heritage Corridor...
  by lstone19
Interesting. Presumably the train immediately deadheads back to become, most likely, the 6:12 departure (could make it back to be the 5:25 but not a lot of cushion).
  by Tommy Meehan
Yes that is interesting. An early train would be a convenience for some commuters. That's the problem with commuting on a line with just a few trains. If you get to go home early (or come to work late) there's no train. If you have to work late, no train. The Heritage Corridor is the last Metra line to be rush hour-only I think?

I rode out to Joliet on the Heritage Corridor a couple times when I was in Chicago. At least it's very easy to get back to Chicago via the Rock Island line. I remember being surprised at how few stations there are located along the Heritage Corridor and how many people commuted all the way to Joliet. I guess the latter are people who work a lot closer to Union Station than to LaSalle Street.
  by wda4449
While the Heritage Corridor service is rather sparse, it has some of Metra's fastest downtown-to-suburban terminal trains. All 3 of the weekly PM rush outbound trains are scheduled for 65 minutes, Union Station to Joliet (per the 10/16/2011 timetable). The fastest Rock Island train takes 61 minutes to get from LaSalle St to Joliet (train 413 in the 02/01/2016 timetable). All the other Rock Island outbound PM rush hour main-line trains (the 400 series trains) range from 68 minutes to 76 minutes for the same trip. Over the years of working downtown, I knew several people who used the Heritage Corridor and rode from/to Joliet. They liked the quicker service even though they have a bit of a longer walk from Union Station to the office. And they had the Rock Island if they had to stay late. The Rock Island's route is about 3 miles longer than the Heritage Corridor's (40.1 .vs. 37.2). The extra stops on the Rock makes a big difference in the overall travel times.
  by Tommy Meehan
Thanks that's interesting, yes I understand now why some Joliet commuters might prefer riding Heritage trains because they're a bit faster and probably less crowded. Joliet is Zone H on both lines so no problem there.

Metra fares sure are cheaper. Compare Metro-North Hudson Line fares to Cortlandt, about the same distance from Grand Central as is Joliet from Union Station or LaSalle Street. For one-way (Metro-North has off-peak and peak), weekly and monthly.
  • MNR Cortlandt - $11.75/$15.50 - $109.75 - $343.00
    Metra Joliet - $7.75/$7.75 - $69.25 - $216.25
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Meehan, every time I go back East to visit family in Greenwich, and I have occasion to go into town, I am reminded how inexpensive METRA is compared to Metro North.

But then, what METRA line offers half hourly service throughout the Weekday?
  by Tommy Meehan
Below is a chart I made showing sample fares from stations which are all located about the same distance from the main downtown terminal or city zone. The fares vary by quite a bit. I was surprised to find that Septa is apparently a little cheaper than Metra. (I also hope the fares shown for Doylestown are current; Septa's website seemed the most difficult to use.) I would also point out, none of the stations shown gets better than hourly service outside of the rush hours:

TM and Everyone:

I checked further into the comparisons that Tommy Meehan posted and I will add some more fares and options:

First - the fares that TM posted for Mount Kisco - Metro North Zone 6 are as of March 22,2015 MNCR fare chart:
Monthly: $356.00; Weekly (Saturday to Friday) $114.00; Ten Ride Peak $104.25; Ten Ride Off Peak $80.00;
Peak One Way $16.25 in advance and $22.00 on board; Off Peak One Way $12.25 in advance and $18.00 on board.
These fares compare to LIRR Zone 9 fares from Babylon, Deer Park and Northport which are $338.00 Monthly;
$108.25 Weekly (Saturday to Friday); Peak Ten Trip $152.50; Off Peak Ten Trip $93.50; Peak One Way $15.25 in
advance or $21.00 on board; Off Peak One Way $11.00 in advance or $17.00 on board. MTA OW and RT tickets
are valid for 60 days and both ten ride variations are good for 6 months from the date of sale.

SEPTA fares from Doylestown - Zone 4 have some interesting variations: $6.50 is the Weekday One Way to CCP
or $8.00 on board. On trains arriving in Center City Philadelphia after 7:00pm there is a Evening/Weekend one way
ticket available for $5.00 in advance or $7.00 on board. Ten Ride tickets are sold as a "strip" of 10 for $62.50.
- Weekly and Monthly "Anywhere" Passes:
Weekly and Monthly "Anywhere" (in the SEPTA System) cost $53.00 and $191.00 respectively. These passes
cover both Zone 4 and Zone NJ (Trenton and West Trenton, NJ) fares at all times. SEPTA Weekly passes are
valid from Monday to the following Sunday. On board fares are charged regardless if there is or is not an open
sales office available before boarding. All SEPTA OW and 10 ride tickets are good for 6 months from sale date.

For off peak riders the lower priced Zone 3 pass has "Anywhere" privileges during off peak hours on weekdays
which are trains arriving in Center City after 9:30am and leaving before 4pm or after 7pm which are priced at
$44.00 and $163.00 respectively.

ALL Weekly and Monthly SEPTA passes of all types have "Anywhere" privileges on weekends and major holidays.

SEPTA also sells the option of the one day Independence Pass for $12.00 for a individual and $29.00 for a family
which is very competitive for Zone 4 riders. The only restrictions are that they are not valid on trains arriving into
Center City Philadelphia before 9:30am on weekdays and travel to the two zone NJ stations cost $5.00 extra.
These are valid for unlimited use on all SEPTA services for the day that they are used. The Independence Pass
can be bought on board from a Conductor without penalty and will either be a cash fare reciept which can be
exchanged at a ticket office - or the pass itself if the train crew member is carrying them for sale.

SEPTA fare zones are much larger then METRA's in mile size - for example Zone 4 on the Lansdale-Doylestown
Line takes in 12 miles from North Wales (mile 22) to Lansdale (mile 24) and the entire 10 mile Doylestown Branch.

For more SEPTA fare information: http://www.septa.org/fares" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Download the Fare Brochure - where much of what I have posted is available.

As an equivalent on METRA Zone E passes or higher could be valid anywhere on Metra's system during off peak
hours and all monthly passes could be valid to any stations on weekends similar to the Weekend Pass is honored.

It is good to see that the Heritage Corridor route is coming into its own remembering its history beginning as the
GM&O and ICG "Plug" train evolving into RTA and then Metra operation. This route may well be able to support
increased weekday service and maybe even weekend trains perhaps similar to how the Southwest Service grew.

  by doepack
MACTRAXX wrote:This route may well be able to support
increased weekday service and maybe even weekend trains perhaps similar to how the Southwest Service grew.
I've long believed that the biggest obstacle to adding more service on HC is the presence of no less than four railroads this line crosses at grade, three of which are quite busy these days. From Brighton Park to BNSF's Corwith facility toward the southwest side of Chicago, then the crossing with BRC at LeMoyne (aka "Nerska"), and the IHB just west of the Metra/Amtrak depot in Summit; think the control point is called Canal. Although Metra and Amtrak have priority during their operating windows, both have no control over these crossings and remain dependent on foreign roads to get them through. If more HC service is to be added in the future, this will have to change, and grade separation in at least two locations IMO, should be seriously considered. But with so many devils in the details regarding cost and logistics, among other things, this is unfortunately a lot easier said than done.

Baby steps my friend, baby steps...
  by Tommy Meehan
Having ridden the Heritage Corridor a few times, I agree the ride on the eastern portion through Cook County is slow going because of all the freight railroads crossed at grade. The first stop out of Union Station is Summit, about fifteen miles from Chicago, and the fastest scheduled running time is twenty-five minutes.

Another reason for the line remaining rush hour only may be, between Union Station and Joliet there are only four intermediate stations on the HC. The Rock Island District has twenty-five between LaSalle Street and Joliet. The four intermediate HC stations are located in fairly small towns, too. Only one, Lockport, has a population over twenty thousand. A final reason may be, most of the area the line serves is fairly close to either the SouthWest Service or the BNSF Aurora line.
  by doepack
What a long, strange, winding and twisting road Chicago's 'L' can be...
  by doepack
Midday expresses coming to the Rock...

In Business Insider there is a recent article about the 75th Street Corridor by Andrew Stern.

This shows how busy - and important - that this route is to freight train traffic going through Chicago.

Metra's SWS trains use this route and has increased service in response to growing SWS ridership.

http://www.businessinsider.com/chicagos ... -us-2016-7" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

MACTRAXX (P.S. I believe that this is the proper place for this topic...)
  by Arlington
Red-Purple Modernization is on Trump's priority projects list
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politic ... 164.html#0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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