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 Fan Railer
http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/news ... -plan.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Chicago commuter rail operator Metra has proposed a 10-year, $2·4bn modernisation plan, which it says is the ‘first long-term rolling stock plan in Metra history’.

Of the current fleet of 837 coaches, 40% date from before the 1990s. The plan would see the purchase of 367 new cars to replace 318 cars with an average age of 43 years and to increase by 49 the number of spare cars. The total cost is estimated at $1·2bn, with 106 cars to be delivered in 2018-19 and 261 in 2020-24. This is in addition to the 186 Highliner cars for the Metra Electric Line, deliveries of which are due to end next year....

....A further $178·5m would rebuild 85 of the 146 locomotives to extend their service life by 25 years; 52 new locos would be purchased in 2020 for delivery in to 2024, at a cost of $416m....

....According to the Chicago Regional Transportation Authority, Metra needs $9·9bn over the next decade to achieve and maintain a state of good repair, of which about one-quarter is expected to come from ‘traditional’ state and federal sources. The plan assumes $710m from state and federal sources and $400m from Metra, leaving $1·3bn to come from other sources.

Metra is considering issuing bonds for the first time or using ‘similar financing’. This is intended to raise $100m in 2015, and similar amounts in 2017, 2019 and 2022. Part of the 10·8% fare increase in Metra’s proposed 2015 operating budget will pay for debt servicing on the first $100m.
  by F40CFan
Its too bad they don't take take the money and upgrade the signals and switches to eliminate the delays associated with them. They should also take some money and study "freight train interference" and how to reduce it.
  by Backshophoss
The only way to get rid of "Freight Train Interference",would be for METRA to take over Dispatching from
BNSF and UP.(a "lost cause" at best :( )
For now,the real need is to replace the current gallery fleet with next gen Bi-Levels,the BBD sausage design,
or based on the Surfliner II coaches being built in Rochelle,for Amtrak-Ca and the Midwest pool fleet for
state sponsored services based out of Chicago.
METRA Electric has started to replace the Highliner fleet, believe most of the gallery car fleets date back to
when CB&Q and CNW exisited.
  by Tadman
I doubt you'll see any BBD/sausage cars here. Metra is quite conservative about things like rolling stock and such. Given that half the bi-level fleet is MK or Sumitomo from the last twenty years, I'd expect to see more Sumitomo cars.
  by johndoe780
F40CFan wrote:Its too bad they don't take take the money and upgrade the signals and switches to eliminate the delays associated with them. They should also take some money and study "freight train interference" and how to reduce it.
Agreed, I would like to see some investment on cleaning up tower A2 junction where Milwaukee crosses over Union Pacific......

even though the federal government's broke
the state's broke
Metra's broke

This last winter should have really highlighted some of the decaying infrastructure within Metra
  by Milwaukee_F40C
Fat chance that half of this will be financed in that time frame.

But when Metra gets new cars, probably in more small batches, they will be regular gallery cars from Nippon-Sharyo or a competitor. They really are the most efficient option for Metra's needs.

The split-level cars get used in the northeast because of clearance issues. They would waste volume on Metra.

"Superliner" based floor plans just swap the approximate amount of seating space on the lower and upper level compared with the gallery car. They are more suited to lower seating densities and longer stretches between stations. The gallery car has the huge advantage of letting the collectors take fares for the whole car in one pass.
  by Engineer Spike
Having worked in Suburban Service for BNSF, I think the gallery cars are efficient. It is easy for the trainmen to collect tickets on both levels simultaneously. The cars are efficient for loading from the low platforms. High platforms are impractical because of the density of freight. Any excessive dimension load would be limited.
  by doepack
In addition to the procurement of new cars, getting the additional funds necessary for PTC compliance and increasing the spare car ratio are the most critical parts of the modernization plan, IMO. For the latter, the desired increase could definitely have been used last winter...
  by Tadman
I understand that extra cars would've been nice last winter, but that was way outside the bell curve for expected conditions. Nobody was ready for that storm, railroad or anybody else. All that uproar was unfortunate but you can't do much...

I'd be interested to see what the usual ratio of spares is in the industry and understand how Metra stands up to that number.