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 AMTKHawkeye
 
Sounds like this will be for the MP36's, huh? Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be just yet another thing to break on them...
  by E Runs
 
Metra riders subjected to high levels of diesel soot - Chicago Tribune
Testing by the newspaper found the amount of diesel soot lingering in the air steadily increases as commuters walk deeper into Union Station or the Ogilvie Transportation Center. Levels of the lung- and heart-damaging pollution jump higher on platforms, where acrid blue clouds of diesel exhaust hover between trains, many of them built in the 1970s.
It's a bit annoying that the reporter makes it seem that still using locos from the 70's an unusual concept.
  by justalurker66
 
E Runs wrote:It's a bit annoying that the reporter makes it seem that still using locos from the 70's an unusual concept.
Perhaps it should be ... especially if their pollution is causing a real problem.
Metra is replacing the 1970's electric line powered cars ... the oldest car on the NICTD South Shore is from 1982.

The oldest Metra locomotives are from the late 1970's ... so 33 years old not 40. Does the rebuild process make them run cleaner/more energy efficient than an newer locomotive?
  by byte
 
They may be installing a hot oil circulating system in them, which would allow rush-hour-only sets to layover during the day with the prime mover shut off. Of course this doesn't affect <60 minute layouvers in CUS and Oglivie, but it technically is making the locomotives more fuel efficient.
  by bones
 
People claim that exhaust is in thier clothes. I think they're exagerating just a bit. I've never had exhaust in my clothes. I also think that they're overdoing it at Olgilvie since it's not an enclosed station. At CUS lets pass some of the buck to Amtrak. Every engine seems to be running on full HEP. IT appears that Amtrak has alot of money to spend on fuel.
What can be done to correct this problem? At Olgilvie they should plug every train into shore power until 5 min before departure time. Same thing at CUS (this includes you Amtrak). Every time there is a complaint at CUS, Amtrak thinks they're above the law.
  by c604.
 
I've been taking trains out of Ogilvie for years and never really noticed an exhast problem. The air always seemed much much cleaner there in the rush hour than the north end of CUS.

I took Amtrak down state a few weeks ago and while boarding in CUS the engine was in standby HEP mode until about 2-3 minutes before departure.
  by doepack
 
Addressing the air quality at the north end of CUS won't be an easy fix. It will have to involve a combination of revised operating procedures on Metra's part (i.e., perhaps storing more rush hour sets in the depot with the engine either off or tacking it on shortly before departure and/or using station power more frequently) and more critically, a redesign of the ventilation system, which won't be cheap. That said, the trainshed at OTC has much better ventilation, and this is also the case at LaSalle St.; which strangely, had no air quality data attributed to it in the article. Now, I wonder if Mr. Hawthorne (author of the article) omitted that information honestly (i.e., he really did forget to include it), or if it provided data contrary to what was presented in the article. Given the Trib's reputation for spearheading and promoting civic agendas, I'm inclined to think the latter...
  by c604.
 
This makes me think of another question. What did they do at CUS (both on the MILW and BN side) when E and F units with separate HEP power plants were used? Did they keep trains on shore power until a few minutes before departure, then start the HEP power plants? I'd be curious to find out, as those Cummins HEP plants can be a tad cranky and hard to start at times and can put out quite a bit of smoke.
  by Tadman
 
Maybe people weren't as entitled back then as they are now. A similar problem is happening with the SS Badger - one ship dumps coal ash into the lake and the EPA is on their case like stink on s**t. Uh, all ships were once coal fired. Maybe we can find some bigger problems to deal with?
  by oknazevad
 
More like we (that is, the collective humanity) didn't know just how much of a problem these sorts of pollutants really are. Many of the long-term effects to human health and general ecology are not initially apparent at all, and only now, after decades and even over a century of careless use, do the destructive effects become known. While its too late to do anything about the past (as it always is), minimizing future exposure and release is a good thing.
  by justalurker66
 
We need to learn from the mistakes of the pass and not repeat them. There is a reason why the MED is electric. Someone cared. (If retro is better we could replace all those smelly diesels with coal fired steam trains.)

The Tribune story is the beginning. It alerts people to the problem. Perhaps a more scientific study could be done and the smart minds can come up with a solution. Check in to the building ventilation system and see why it isn't handling the peak load of when a train starts moving. See if the train's ventilation system can be reworked so those fumes are not pulled into the cars (perhaps cut it out when pulling out of the station?). Some things are already being done, as noted in the article. Awareness is just a step.
  by eolesen
 
Biggest part of the problem in my eyes is the ventilation being controlled by the buildings over the track... Someone needs to declare eminent domain over that aspect and make sure the ventilation is running up to par.
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
I vote to electrify the tracks to 25 KV AC like CALTRAIN Peninsula is planning on doing!

Would there be room in Chicago at OTC, CUS and La Salle Street to hang the wires, and still have the bi-levels?

Would "the industry" still be able to run "double-stacks" beneath the wires away from downtown?
  by GWoodle
 
Pacific 2-3-1 wrote:I vote to electrify the tracks to 25 KV AC like CALTRAIN Peninsula is planning on doing!

Would there be room in Chicago at OTC, CUS and La Salle Street to hang the wires, and still have the bi-levels?

Would "the industry" still be able to run "double-stacks" beneath the wires away from downtown?

no need to copy ideas from another region.
The IC installed electric a long time ago. I forget how the Highlners compare with Gallery cars or Superliners
  by Tadman
 
The highliners are gallery cars. The old St. Louis highliners are a bit different in design but still have the gallery concept. The newer Sumitomo cars are just powered gallery cars - otherwise they're on the same plan as the gallery cars at Metra, Caltrain, and VRE.

As for suggesting AC for Metra new-build electrification, I believe it's significantly cheaper for new-build electrification than the traditional high-voltage DC used on the IC and South Shore. As the lines do not share equipment, it would probably be cheaper to do AC on any new builds. Further, rather than buying all new equipment, an off-the-shelf ALP64 or Siemens locomotive could be bought to pull existing gallery cars rather than buying hundreds of MU's.

Were the entire system to be converted to electrification on a common voltage, it would make sense to use MU's on locals for acceleration purposes and locomotive-hauled consists on limiteds, especially longer ones. But that's really stretching reality. That money just doesn't exist.
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