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 justalurker66
 
It has been mentioned in the Amtrak forum, but it bears mentioning here for the locals ...

The planned bridge to carry Metra's Rock Island double track line over three tracks of NS at Englewood has received funding as part of today's $8 billion rail announcements. The railroad grade separation will also allow for additional tracks to be added to the NS lines (plans are to have up to six tracks there in the future).
  by doepack
 
Well, that should alleviate one minor bottleneck. I just hope the Rock ROW is upgraded to three tracks for the proposed SE service...
  by metraRI
 
justalurker66 wrote:Perhaps the plan has changed, but three years ago it was two over three to six tracks.
http://www.createprogram.org/meeting2.html
http://www.createprogram.org/PDF/Plan-web.pdf
Now that is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing. At one point I do remember hearing the RI bridge will be able to accomidate three tracks, lets hope this holds true considering RI, SWS, and SES could all be using this bridge one day.
  by justalurker66
 
metraRI wrote:
justalurker66 wrote:Perhaps the plan has changed, but three years ago it was two over three to six tracks.
Now that is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing. At one point I do remember hearing the RI bridge will be able to accomidate three tracks, lets hope this holds true considering RI, SWS, and SES could all be using this bridge one day.
Maintaining service through the area during construction is pushing them toward a two track bridge on the alignment just west of the current two tracks. I can see where the bridge and tracks over it will be built then one track at a time can be moved over to cross the new bridge. After that, the old alignment will be available for further projects. Adding SWS and SES will probably require a second bridge (single or double track) built on the current alignment.

$133 million should get it done. I noticed that the description from the White House also specifies a "new station" as part of the award to Illinois on the Chicago Detroit route (with separate parts of the $244 million total for this route going to Indiana and Michigan for their improvements). It may be a typo.
  by doepack
 
justalurker66 wrote:
metraRI wrote:
justalurker66 wrote:Perhaps the plan has changed, but three years ago it was two over three to six tracks.
Now that is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing. At one point I do remember hearing the RI bridge will be able to accomidate three tracks, lets hope this holds true considering RI, SWS, and SES could all be using this bridge one day.
Maintaining service through the area during construction is pushing them toward a two track bridge on the alignment just west of the current two tracks. I can see where the bridge and tracks over it will be built then one track at a time can be moved over to cross the new bridge. After that, the old alignment will be available for further projects. Adding SWS and SES will probably require a second bridge (single or double track) built on the current alignment.
A three-track bridge over NS should be sufficient enough for all future expanded commuter services (including SWS if it's ever moved here, still skeptical about that), but it would be too bad if the price tag doesn't include extending the third track along the ROW south from here to Gresham; and to this point, I haven't seen anything indicating that it does. Doesn't make much sense to upgrade one portion with more capacity while a 2-track ROW on the current alignment remains south of the bridge.

Did Metra rip up all the tracks on the west side of the ROW between LaSalle and 63rd after the mains were relocated when the bridge renewal project completed? Google Earth says no, but the images are more than 2 years old...
  by justalurker66
 
More than two tracks comes in handy when there are stations with express/local service. Otherwise just schedule the trains so they run as close as the signaling will let them. Without stations everything runs express. The main benefit of a third main would be when a track was taken out of service for a repair or a train stalled that needed passing. The extra capacity of a third main just may not be worth the millions it would cost to put in place.
  by metraRI
 
justalurker66 wrote:More than two tracks comes in handy when there are stations with express/local service. Otherwise just schedule the trains so they run as close as the signaling will let them. Without stations everything runs express. The main benefit of a third main would be when a track was taken out of service for a repair or a train stalled that needed passing. The extra capacity of a third main just may not be worth the millions it would cost to put in place.
I would agree if things were to stay status que, however... branch trains already stop at Gresham, some at 47th Street for employees. Add Auburn Park and 35th Street to that, along with additional revenue/yard moves that would come from SWS/SES and a third main may be feasible. Of course that all depends on the service levels Metra decides to give 35th Street and Auburn Park, and the number of trains that would possibly run on SES.

It may be worth pointing out that the new signal bridge installed on the north end of Gresham Jct. appears to be able to accomidate a 3rd main to the west. The same goes with the new interlocking installed last year north of Gresham. There is also enough room within the interlocking for additional switches to a new main. Video of the new interlocking can be seen here at about 3:30 in.

Little help from MS paint:
3main.jpg
  by justalurker66
 
They certainly are not shutting out the possibility of a third track ... I just don't expect it to be on this flyover. They cannot sustain the current traffic on a single track line during construction. and the third track bridge would be built over one of the current tracks instead of off to the west.

Putting that extra width on the signal bridge is a good idea ... both for the future and also to allow MOW vehicles to stay on a straight path instead of dodging signal bridge foundations.
  by metraRI
 
Just for the heck of it, I had emailed CREATE about the design plans and construction timeframe. This is the answer I recieved:
Thank you for your interest in the CREATE Program. We are currently preparing a fact sheet regarding the Englewood Flyover project (as well as fact sheets for other CREATE projects). Please keep an eye on the CREATE Program website where it will be posted soon.

As for your specific questions, the flyover is indeed being designed as three-track to accommodate future traffic from not only Metra’s existing Rock Island Line but also future re-routed Metra Southwest Service trains and proposed future Metra Southeast Service trains. The timeframe for construction will comply with federal requirements for the grant funding, which will be administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation and Metra. These details are currently being worked out, but it is clear from earlier federal guidance that the grant awardees will be expected to complete their projects under an expedited timeframe (i.e., within the next few years).
  by justalurker66
 
Thanks for making the contact. The info I quoted was a couple of years old. Glad to see the updates.

BTW: Create's website has a list of projects that they applied for stimulus funds for that doesn't include the "P1" Englewood flyover.
  by metraRI
 
63rd and State Flyover Design Contract Awarded

The CREATE Program partners are pleased to announce that the Metra Board of Directors has approved the final design contract for the 63rd and State Improvement Project (CREATE Project P1, "Englewood Flyover"). TranSystems Corp. was awarded the $5.65 million contract.

The flyover will carry the north-south Metra Rock Island commuter rail line over the east-west Norfolk Southern/Amtrak line (a federally designated High Speed Rail Corridor), eliminating conflict between 68 Metra Rock Island trains and approximately 60 freight and Amtrak trains that presently cross at grade each day.
  by metraRI
 
CREATE has dedicated a sub-site to the "75th Street Corridor Improvement Project ". This is the project that includes moving SWS to LaSalle Street by building a connection near 75th Street.

http://www.75thcip.org/
  by justalurker66
 
I drove around the Englewood flyover area last weekend but couldn't really tell if anything has been done. Any updates?
  by byte
 
The area doesn't show any indication of construction work starting.