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 Otto Vondrak
I collect timetables. My particular interest is the New York Central. I grew up in the New York City area, so I am always intrigued by what I consider to be unusual issues, such as the folder printed especially for the Chicago-Gary-LaPorte commuter trains. Four commuter NYC commuter lines served New York City at one time, and I think it's odd that the NYC only had one limited service at the other end of its system. But then I consider where New York was dominated by the NYC and the PRR for downtown commuter trains, Chicago was served by a number of railroads offering commuter service to every point on the compass. I also assume that most commuters from Gary opted for the faster and more frequent South Shore trains?

Here are the six issues of the Form 219 I have in my collection:


I would be interested in learning any details about this operation, particularly about the last runs. I'd also be interested in seeing any other examples.


  by Tadman
I love the Century's Hudson on the cover, nothing like a little creative license to remind the commuter the railroad happens to have the best train on rails, despite the fact the commuter will ride in a cattle car.

According to "Chicagoland Commuter Railroads" by Dorin, the Chesterton Local ended in mid-50s while the Elkhart Local ended in 1964. Ridership was estimated at 800, 12,000 on parallel CSS and 700 on parallel PRR. Oddly, the PRR Dummy to Valpo had a rising trend of riders from about 1964 to the early 80s, when it was a 4-5 car bilevel operation with two frequencies. The early 80s, of course, were when the attitude was "the passenger train is dead". As such, Indiana flat refused to pay $1.5m/year for NICTD to run the Dummy and any CSS upgrades funded were for worst-case-scenario, IE the Kensington interlocker was rebuilt with single track.

Worth noting that the 800 NYC riders or 700 PRR riders could easily fit on one 8-car CSS train. The typical CSS EMU seats 93 people, with trailers and gallery cars holding about 130.

Great topic, Otto. My favorite railroading happens in a zone bordered roughly by CUS, Joliet, South Bend, and Benton Harbor. From both a historical and conventional perspective, you've got everything. Traction, commuter, short line, museum, heavy class one, LD and corridor passenger, Alcos, even narrow gauge (Heston Steam Show) and a deepwater carferry (MV Abegweit, permanently laid up near Navy Pier).