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 Tadman
 
The quickest way to get going on a Rock electrification would be to order 20-ish straight electric locomotives for 1500vDC, electrify both the main and branch of RI, and then instead of buying EMU, pull the longer/express trains on both MED and RI with the former RI trailers, and run the locals/shorties with the former MED bilevels. That said, MED needs bilevels anyway, so maybe it makes sense just buying all EMUs.
  by byte
 
That's thinking along the right idea Tad, but the existing electric stock would remain right where it is because of the difference in platform heights. So you'd make the Rock push-pull with the existing cars and electric locomotives. My two cents is that if the Rock were to be electrified, you order new Highliners with convertible high/low level traps that can serve on either the IC or hypothetical Rock electric lines. The thought of having your standard Metra bilevel train being pushed/pulled by a big electric locomotive is kinda neat, but after two years of going downtown on rolling stock which is largely unchanged from a 1950s design, I'd really like them to get something with newer engineering when it comes to coupling and suspension. There's no bathrooms of course, but the one thing I envy that the MED riders have is that silky-smooth ride, even on the old cars.
  by mtuandrew
 
byte wrote:That's thinking along the right idea Tad, but the existing electric stock would remain right where it is because of the difference in platform heights. So you'd make the Rock push-pull with the existing cars and electric locomotives. My two cents is that if the Rock were to be electrified, you order new Highliners with convertible high/low level traps that can serve on either the IC or hypothetical Rock electric lines. The thought of having your standard Metra bilevel train being pushed/pulled by a big electric locomotive is kinda neat, but after two years of going downtown on rolling stock which is largely unchanged from a 1950s design, I'd really like them to get something with newer engineering when it comes to coupling and suspension. There's no bathrooms of course, but the one thing I envy that the MED riders have is that silky-smooth ride, even on the old cars.
I would love to see a new 1500vdc electric locomotive. :wink: Maybe even convert a diesel to straight electric :grin: And now back to slightly-less-fantasy land...

I like the idea of electrifying the Rock, for the reasons given above. Even a partial electrification to Blue Island down the Suburban Branch would be worth a look, with Joliet trains getting diesels. Obviously the first order of Rock Highliners would need South Shore-like traps, but eventually it'd be worth investigating high platforms along that line.
  by Tadman
 
Would it make sense to park the CUS protect units at the edge of the terminal rather than up against the head house? If air quality is a problem, it's sure not helped by having two idling locomotives immediately adjacent to the terminal. Maybe park them down the track where they would be parked if pulling a train, or build a 50' long track in an out-of-way location not covered by the train shed.
  by lstone19
 
At least on the north side of CUS, the protect unit is normally not running.
  by doepack
 
I wonder why Metra doesn't use the old "Butler Brothers" track to store protect units, a track that isn't really used much otherwise...
  by Jenner
 
I had posted on a different forum the possibility of using an all-battery powered locomotive instead of an electric locomotive. We have an example here: http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/ ... eries.html, as well as a thread http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... =9&t=96295. Granted, this technology doesn't allow for very lengthy runs, but perhaps in the future, this is something to be considered. In such a circumstance, you wouldn't have to worry about building catenary lines, worry about clearances, getting permission from other class 1 railroads to provide modifications for electrification, etc. If this technology can be proven, then perhaps all the diesels can be replaced for battery only locomotives.
  by justalurker66
 
Jenner wrote:If this technology can be proven, then perhaps all the diesels can be replaced for battery only locomotives.
I would not mind seeing a move toward genset locomotives. Turn on the power you need when you need it. With a hybrid genset one could use power where it was available (or run off of battery) and make power when needed.
  by eolesen
 
Dumb question, perhaps, but why is everyone assuming electrification would involve overhead, or have to be a pure electric operation?

Third rail definitely presents some safety issues on the ground, but is it any worse in a winter climate? Most of Metra is grade separated within the city limits, so you could have third rail within the city limits, and switch over to diesel out in the suburbs where there are clearance issues.
  by lstone19
 
1) Third rail and low platforms are pretty much imcompatible. 2) North Joint Tracks (I believe that is the correct term for the former joint PRR/Milw tracks between CUS and A-2/Western Ave.) has eight grade crossings in the first 1.5 or so miles. And its the CUS lines that need it the most.
The idea of overhead / diesel dual-modes is intriging but Metra has never been one to go bleeding edge.
  by dinwitty
 
byte wrote:If Metra were to electrify anything, it would NOT be the BNSF. Not Metra's tracks, and no class 1 is going to want wires put up over its tracks, potentially limiting the shipment of oversize loads, and stopping traffic when a wire snaps in the dead of winter. More likely candidate? The Rock. All Metra owned, interchanges with the existing MED at Blue Island, as that's where the Highliner wheel shop is. Plus the Beverly Branch is where you could really tighten up the schedule with EMU acceleration, with a stop every four blocks.
that could be contrary to the new owner of BNSF, Berkshire aka Warren Buffet whose commented the possibility of electrifying the entire line from chicago to california.

If it happenes it has to be a top down infrastructure construction. Consider Insull and the 3 major interurbans, he took the lines and modernized (back then).
So now we have a Warren Buffet. whats next...

Wire snapping is a fidgety excuse, happens all the time on the South Shore their on it immediatly.
  by justalurker66
 
dinwitty wrote:If it happenes it has to be a top down infrastructure construction. Consider Insull and the 3 major interurbans, he took the lines and modernized (back then).
So now we have a Warren Buffet. whats next...
Unfortunately Insull's interurbans went bankrupt bringing the systems up to par. Buffet has money to invest and isn't likely to go bankrupt.
Wire snapping is a fidgety excuse, happens all the time on the South Shore their on it immediatly.
Build it right and it is less likely to snap. The new catanary on the South Shore is certainly more reliable than the wire it replaced.
  by Tadman
 
Agreed on the wire snapping issue. I've never seen it delay a train for long out here. I've never even heard of it happening on Metra Electric or Skokie Swift, both of which are high-traffic lines.