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: metraRI, JamesT4

  by doepack
Metra210 wrote:I personally feel that Metra and UP should look into running one or two extra trains on Saturdays and Sundays to eliminate this issue, and I'm not talking about just during the summer months. I've ridden this line since July 2011, so this seems to be a year-round thing. Out of the three UP lines, the UP-W sees, supposedly, the lowest ridership, but you really can't tell by looking at the crowds on weekend trains.
A 9:25am inbound departure from Elburn, plus a 3:40pm outbound departure from OTC on Saturdays would be nice additions, and I think the ridership is there to sustain both trains. For the afternoon departure, the only problem is that UP tends to run a lot of westbound freight traffic at that time of day (including one or two hot intermodals aka "Z" trains), so while slotting in an extra Metra run to the mix could be a challenge, it's still doable. That said, the last few cars of outbound trains on weekends always tend to fill up first, but it's ultimately at the crew's discretion as to how many cars should be open at the start, and/or when other cars should be opened. I don't ride much on weekends, but from what I've seen when boarding downtown, crews will have three cars open at first, then open up a fourth one either before leaving OTC, or by Oak Park; depending on the crowds. But with the summer festival season in full swing, and 9-car trains being the norm on weekends now, it's not uncommon for as many as 7 or 8 cars to be open on inbound trains heading downtown upon leaving Elmhurst (especially on trains 504 & 506), and for at least six cars to be open on outbound trains after Oak Park...
Metra210 wrote:On weekdays, it's an entirely different story. There are more trains, of course, and it's easier to find a seat on board, the only exception being if you're traveling inbound during the AM rush or outbound during the PM rush. Last month, just for fun, I rode Train #47, which runs express from Ogilvie to Wheaton, and on the day that I rode it, it never became crowded while boarding at OTC.
Anytime I've got afternoon errands in the city, I always try to aim for that train heading home. The "Wheaton Rocket" is a fun ride indeed, and engineers tend to really open it up after we've cleared CPY015 (Park) interlocking in Elmhurst...
  by byte
The UP isn't the only operation where more weekend trains could be used. With the loop not being the wasteland ghost town it once was after 5pm every Friday, there's actually stuff to do down there which isn't work, and the two hour gap between trains is unacceptable in many circumstances. The abbreviated version of the M-F schedule that the Electric District runs on Saturdays is a great idea that could (ideally) be applied to all lines. Then again, even the Electric falls into the same "every two hours, no less" trap on Sundays. Where I'm currently at I'm ten minutes from the Rock and five from the SWS, but if I need to go downtown on a weekend, no question: I'm driving to Midway and getting on the Orange line.
  by F40CFan
I just got back from vacation and noticed that I'm getting an increasing number of Metra Alerts for delays due to equipment failures on the MILW west. Is anyone familiar with them? Seems like they increased after they started getting the boomboxes from BNSF. Coincidence?
  by Engineer Spike
When I worked on BN, we usually ran fewer open cars off peak. It was easier to collect tickets. Policing the crowd is easier too, as more drunks seemed to be on later. Most night passenger load was near constant. Most of our few passengers were regulars. If there was a sporting or cultural event, we would open more cars.

It appears some of the crews are lazy. It takes no time to open more cars.

I was working suburban service when ADA cars came into service. The reason for the second head car was so that it would be away from the noise of the engine, for the hearing impaired. I thought it should be second to last, just ahead od the cab car. This would make a shorter walk for those who have mobility issues. In any case, the policy was that the ADA car HAD to be open at all times.