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 doepack
 
byte wrote:II'd like to see them try something new in addressing the length of the commute for mainline riders during off peak hours - maybe run it as a shuttle and have people transfer to and from the mainline train at Gresham and/or BI-Vermont, as done on the Electric District at Kensington.
Metra's too conservative to think outside the box like that, but speeding up off-peak/weekend service for riders west of Blue Island would be a plus. It could also mean more off-peak service for the main line stations at 95th and/or 103rd, perhaps as flag stops outside of rush hour.

Kyle, that picture above of the home signals at CP Elizabeth: Are those the ones on 89th St., just off Racine?
  by metraRI
 
byte wrote:The system on the Rock works pretty well during rush hours. Branch trains start/terminate at Blue Island as their terminal, and Mainline trains start/terminate at Joliet. Generally Blue Island or Gresham can be used as transfer points.

It is, however, inconvenient (or at least time-consuming) for commuters south of Blue Island during off-peak hours and on weekends. Presently Metra simply runs the trains end to end, routing everything via the branch. I've never seen an old Rock Island schedule so I'm not sure if this was always the case. The branch is still an asset, however - lots of ridership crammed into a small physical area. I'd like to see them try something new in addressing the length of the commute for mainline riders during off peak hours - maybe run it as a shuttle and have people transfer to and from the mainline train at Gresham and/or BI-Vermont, as done on the Electric District at Kensington.
Mainline service should be the norm for off-peak service, making 95th/Longwood and 103rd/Washington Heights regular stops, with bus connections to branch stations. This would probably cut 15 minutes off the current travel time giving Metra an opportunity to draw in new riders from the growing southern region. I don't think much ridership would be lost if this were to happen.. but I'm betting a few politicians would cry foul. Unless Metra gets different equipment, running the branch similar to that of MED would not be efficient.
  by metraRI
 
doepack wrote:Kyle, that picture above of the home signals at CP Elizabeth: Are those the ones on 89th St., just off Racine?
Correct.
  by byte
 
metraRI wrote: Mainline service should be the norm for off-peak service, making 95th/Longwood and 103rd/Washington Heights regular stops, with bus connections to branch stations. This would probably cut 15 minutes off the current travel time giving Metra an opportunity to draw in new riders from the growing southern region. I don't think much ridership would be lost if this were to happen.. but I'm betting a few politicians would cry foul.
A few politicians, and a whole ton of baseball fans who Metra has just made friends with. Building the station at 35th gave a direct path for Sox fans to get to games (in varied states of sobriety) from the effective ground zero of White Sox fandom straight to the stadium. Make those riders pony up an additional $5.50 for bus fare to and from 103rd or 95th on the mainline plus $7 weekend passes for each rider and suddenly the economies of taking the train vs. parking at the Cell ($23) start favoring driving, depending on the size of the group.
  by metraRI
 
This is something Metra will need to look into if they ever want to see a rise in weekend ridership on RI.. I'd say 75% of the current off-peak ridership comes before Blue Island. Prairie and 123rd should be eliminated, even at rush hour ridership is minimal. There are a few ways the schedule can be improved, if not going down the main.. develop a stop/skip schedule. Yes it is convenient for people living in the area to have a station every 4 blocks, but is it necessary for every train to stop at every station every hour...
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  by M&Eman
 
What if the Beverly Branch was converted into rapid-transit style service with DMUs (or even EMUs if funding permits!) running into Millenium Station and Main line service remain in LaSalle Street? It would solve both the speed problems and terminal capacity problems on the RI currently.
  by Amtrak7
 
CHTT1 wrote:That sounds like a solution looking for a problem.
For what was posted, yes. But the idea of running all trains via the Main Line and using a DMU to serve the branch (transfer during the off peak) isn't that impractical to me...
  by justalurker66
 
M&Eman wrote:What if the Beverly Branch was converted into rapid-transit style service with DMUs (or even EMUs if funding permits!) running into Millenium Station and Main line service remain in LaSalle Street? It would solve both the speed problems and terminal capacity problems on the RI currently.
Michael? Normally when I hear about converting a Metra line to rapid-transit style service it is the "Gray Line" (MED SC and BI branches plus most stations north of Kensington turned into a CTA like service - fantasy rail).

A solution looking for a problem is a nice way of putting it.
  by metraRI
 
While I wish RI did run more mainline service, implementing a transfer schedule like that on MED for the Beverly probably would not work.. During night Sox games loads could easily exceed 150-200 people destined for the Beverly Sub. Take the additional loading time at 35th Street for passengers to load.. then wait again at Gresham for all Beverly passengers to get off and board another train isn't worth what time would be saved. Another factor for having separate Beverly trains would be lack of ridership to justify the need for separate trains on a regular day.

Realistically Metra could flip-flop how the line is operated, have mainline be the norm, while the Branch becomes rush hour only.
95th - Beverly / 95th - Longwood are .9 mile apart.
103rd - Beverly / 103rd - Washington Heights are .8 mile apart.
  by Tadman
 
Either that or institute a skip stop service on the branch during off-peak. If I recall, the stops are every half-mile. When trains go to off-peak, only stop at every 2 miles. It's not exactly a hardship to drive an extra few minutes and it would really save fuel and brakes on a diesel train.
  by CHTT1
 
Beverly Hills is a very influential neighborhood, with lots of City of Chicago employees and officials. There would be quite a commotion if the branch line is messed with.
  by metraRI
 
CHTT1 wrote:Beverly Hills is a very influential neighborhood, with lots of City of Chicago employees and officials. There would be quite a commotion if the branch line is messed with.
Reason why it will always operate the way it is today, 30MPH and stopping every 4 blocks. Unfortunate considering 71% of the ridership is off the Beverly.
  by M&Eman
 
CHTT1 wrote:That sounds like a solution looking for a problem.
What's so crazy about giving a high-density urban corridor service more in line with its neighborhood, while speeding up commutes for those farther out in the suburbs? A diesel push-pull with 6 gallery cars starting and stopping every 4 blocks sounds more like something out of a third world country than a modern urban transit service.