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 TrainManUPRR
 
Milwaukee West to Elgin then move onto the UP Belvidere Sub at Big Timber up to Rockford.
  by johndoe780
 
TrainManUPRR wrote:Milwaukee West to Elgin then move onto the UP Belvidere Sub at Big Timber up to Rockford.
and then onto Canadian National if they ever plan on going out to Galena/Iowa
  by johndoe780
 
http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2015/02/ ... n/a3wg8wg/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Yet it doesn't matter how much money you throw at CN, if they don't want to do it, they don't want do it. Yet some communities are too ignorant of that.

Having Amtrak along the UP lines can further ignite the boom for Metra to one day expand MD-W.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
Putting it off is the right decision. Funding it wouldn't help the state's financial situation at the moment, for damn sure. No town is going to miss it. They won't pay for anything except the stop, if anything, anyway.

I do think CN was the best route. But that's CN's decision to make before the state.
  by johndoe780
 
Even if Rauner signed off on this, and the plans did include building a new bridge over the fox river.

This wouldn't budge through A-2 junction. A-2 junction is already at capacity, and between increasing UP-W, adding more amtrak trains to milwaukee, I don't see how any of this is even possible without building a flyover at A-2.
  by lstone19
 
A-2 is probably pretty much at capacity at rush hours. But non-rush hours are a different story with a base of six scheduled trains (hourly each way on the MD-N, MD-W, and UP-W) plus a few yard moves, Amtrak, and NCS. But considering how efficient they are at moving trains through A-2 (not atypical to see three MD side moves happening at once), I think CUS capacity is the more limiting factor at rush hours leading to the conclusion awhile back in this thread that this can't go in the peak of rush hour. At 5pm, there is not a spare track to be had at CUS-N (assuming you have to keep 19 open for whenever the Empire Builder decides to make an appearance). All moves are tightly choreographed with some tracks only sitting empty for a minute or two before the next arrival. While Metra has a workable "emergency" plan that lets them reduce the six primary tracks (5-15) to five should a track be OOS, it brings things to the point of no flexibility at all and a further problem makes the rush hour go south (among the bizarre things I've seen happen when a problem comes up have been Hiawatha on a Metra track (9), Metra on an Amtrak track (I've arrived and departed from 19 multiple times), and I've even seen 21 used for a Metra train once (no platform north of the concourse but can load adjacent to the concourse and in the run-through area leading to 28).
  by Wingnut
 
As far as intermingling Amtrak with rush hour Milwaukee West trains go, the nearest model I can think of is Metro-North's Harlem Line which handles an amazing number of express and local trains in just two tracks from Scarsdale all the way to Southeast. The number and spacing of stations is also similar. Despite that, Metro-North manages to put through a Wassaic train in each peak period that makes just three or four stops in this busy area. The comparison continues with the beginning of a three track express zone beginning at Crestwood on Metro-North and River Grove on Metra.

But by the time trains get to A-5 or A-2, the apparent apple-apple comparison may become apple-orange. I know that CREATE entails a lot of grade separation projects but is the A-2 area one of them?
  by doepack
 
Wingnut wrote:As far as intermingling Amtrak with rush hour Milwaukee West trains go, the nearest model I can think of is Metro-North's Harlem Line which handles an amazing number of express and local trains in just two tracks from Scarsdale all the way to Southeast. The number and spacing of stations is also similar. Despite that, Metro-North manages to put through a Wassaic train in each peak period that makes just three or four stops in this busy area. The comparison continues with the beginning of a three track express zone beginning at Crestwood on Metro-North and River Grove on Metra.

But by the time trains get to A-5 or A-2, the apparent apple-apple comparison may become apple-orange. I know that CREATE entails a lot of grade separation projects but is the A-2 area one of them?
Grade separation at A-2 isn't a CREATE project, but it is something Metra has been very interested in for quite sometime. Constructing a flyover or moving the diamonds a mile east are being considered, but given Metra's limited resources and focus on other priorities, A-2 will continue to limp along as is with no extra Amtrak trains to worry about for the time being. That is, per the recent postponement of the new Rockford service...
  by johndoe780
 
Wingnut wrote:As far as intermingling Amtrak with rush hour Milwaukee West trains go, the nearest model I can think of is Metro-North's Harlem Line which handles an amazing number of express and local trains in just two tracks from Scarsdale all the way to Southeast. The number and spacing of stations is also similar. Despite that, Metro-North manages to put through a Wassaic train in each peak period that makes just three or four stops in this busy area. The comparison continues with the beginning of a three track express zone beginning at Crestwood on Metro-North and River Grove on Metra.

But by the time trains get to A-5 or A-2, the apparent apple-apple comparison may become apple-orange. I know that CREATE entails a lot of grade separation projects but is the A-2 area one of them?
It won't be a CREATE project because none of the freight trains go that far and use A-2, so Metra's on its own for funding.

I doubt Metra will get as lucky as they did when it came to the Englewood flyover with the feds paying for 95% of the project either.

If Metra wants to run more trains or if Amtrak wants to run more trains or add new trains, especially during rush hour, A-2 is the problem.
  by Wingnut
 
johndoe780 wrote:
Wingnut wrote:As far as intermingling Amtrak with rush hour Milwaukee West trains go, the nearest model I can think of is Metro-North's Harlem Line which handles an amazing number of express and local trains in just two tracks from Scarsdale all the way to Southeast. The number and spacing of stations is also similar. Despite that, Metro-North manages to put through a Wassaic train in each peak period that makes just three or four stops in this busy area. The comparison continues with the beginning of a three track express zone beginning at Crestwood on Metro-North and River Grove on Metra.

But by the time trains get to A-5 or A-2, the apparent apple-apple comparison may become apple-orange. I know that CREATE entails a lot of grade separation projects but is the A-2 area one of them?
It won't be a CREATE project because none of the freight trains go that far and use A-2, so Metra's on its own for funding.

I doubt Metra will get as lucky as they did when it came to the Englewood flyover with the feds paying for 95% of the project either.

If Metra wants to run more trains or if Amtrak wants to run more trains or add new trains, especially during rush hour, A-2 is the problem.
Well, at Englewood, Metra crosses some very busy Norfolk Southern tracks and that seems to have been the deciding factor there. The fact that a number of Amtrak trains use that line doesn't hurt either. I have to hand it to Metra for keeping the Milwaukee and UPW lines as on time as they do with the flat junction at A2.

As an interim measure, any chance of extending some Big Timber trains to Huntley or Marengo? This is one of the only major extensions of an existing line that can be done within the current RTA territory (though that doesn't necessarily mean the funds are there to support it).
  by lstone19
 
johndoe780 wrote: If Metra wants to run more trains or if Amtrak wants to run more trains or add new trains, especially during rush hour, A-2 is the problem.
Johndoe, we may have to agree to disagree here. While A-2 is tight and there can be minor delays there, I think, based on observation, that CUS is more capacity constrained than A-2. I've seen days where one of the MD tracks was out of service through A-2 and things still get through with minimal delays. But CUS has times where every track is full: take 4:49pm - if everything is on-time, the 4:48 MD-N has just left Track 1, an MD-W is arriving on 7, and everything else except 19 has a train on it (and 19 has to be kept available for the Empire Builder arrival). And for the next 15 minutes, things don't change very much with a new arrival on a track within one to two minutes after a departure. During that 15 minutes, departures are a mix on 1 Main and 3 Main yet I've seen days where everything had to go out just one of them and yet with only minor delays.

From where I sit on my train, you could get one more train through A-2 but getting one more train in and out of CUS is a far more difficult task.
Last edited by lstone19 on Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by johndoe780
 
lstone19 wrote:
johndoe780 wrote: If Metra wants to run more trains or if Amtrak wants to run more trains or add new trains, especially during rush hour, A-2 is the problem.
Johndoe, we may have to agree to disagree here. While A-2 is tight and there can be minor delays there, I think, based on observation, that CUS is more capacity constrained than A-2. I've seen days where on the MD tracks was out of service through A-2 and things still get through with minimal delays. But CUS has times where every track is full: take 4:49pm - if everything is on-time, the 4:48 MD-N has just left Track 1, an MD-W is arriving on 7, and everything else except 19 has a train on it (and 19 has to be kept available for the Empire Builder arrival). And for the next 15 minutes, things don't change very much with a new arrival on a track within one to two minutes after a departure. During that 15 minutes, departures are a mix on 1 Main and 3 Main yet I've seen days where everything had to go out just one of them and yet with only minor delays.

From where I sit on my train, you could get one more train through A-2 but getting one more train in and out of CUS is a far more difficult task.
I thought I read that during the upcoming CUS renovation, there was supposed to be something happening on the north tracks to help with some of that traffic during rush hour.

I don't think there's anything official, or what they're planning on doing, but that's what I read on the news.
  by lstone19
 
johndoe780 wrote: I thought I read that during the upcoming CUS renovation, there was supposed to be something happening on the north tracks to help with some of that traffic during rush hour.

I don't think there's anything official, or what they're planning on doing, but that's what I read on the news.
The only thing I've heard about is the idea of removing the baggage platforms and realigning the tracks to make the passenger platforms wider. This is to reduce passenger congestion but won't do anything about train congestion.
  by eolesen
 
Agree with Larry that A-2 isn't the bottleneck, CUS-N is.

What ever happened with the proposal to reconfigure the RPO tracks, and adding new platforms on the south end?

That would add at least four more platforms, and also allow Amtrak to vacate the north end of the station entirely.