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
 
The South Shore is alerting passengers to a series of planned weekend construction outages. The first weekend outage is schedule for May 15. The second outage is scheduled for August 7.
South Shore Line will not operate trains in either direction between South Bend and Gary Metro Center on the following weekends from 2:30 a.m. Saturday thru 3:00 a.m. Monday:
  • May 15-17
  • August 7-9
  • August 28-30
  • September 18-20
  • October 2-4
  • October 23-25
  • November 6-8
The South Shore will operate regular weekend train service between Gary Metro Center and Chicago.

Because of the high number of weekend passengers and variability of demand the South Shore will not provide shuttle bus service between South Bend and Gary Metro Center. Stations affected by this outage include South Bend, Hudson Lake, Carroll Ave. and 11th St. in Michigan City, Beverly Shores, Dune Park, Portage/Ogden Dunes, and Miller.
Posted 3/16/10 - http://nictd.com/news.html
  by justalurker66
 
JLJ061 wrote:I take it this is for the continuation of the Phase II Project?
Yes ... year two of three of rewiring Gary to Michigan City. This year should get them past Dune Park station. Next year's closures (10 reportedly needed) will be between Dune Park and Michigan City. (Crews should be able to use the old police station there between runs.)

Then funding will be needed for the next segment ... Michigan City to South Bend. I hope that can be done quicker, once approved, by working on weekdays instead of the weekend and using busing. As noted in the NICTD website text at the top of the thread, weekends are too busy and variable for busing South Bend. I'm hoping for a 2012 one year project, but NICTD may want to spread out the cost over more years or pay for something else in 2012 than replacing the wire to South Bend.
  by BSUmusicman
 
don't forget about the trak realignment that may or may not happen at South Bend Airport. I think it would be smart to delay anything like wire replacement from michigan city t south bend until that projet is a go ornot a go.
  by justalurker66
 
BSUmusicman wrote:don't forget about the trak realignment that may or may not happen at South Bend Airport. I think it would be smart to delay anything like wire replacement from michigan city t south bend until that projet is a go ornot a go.
The potential (and likely, in my opinion) South Bend realignment only affects the last 4.5 miles of track. NICTD has 27.7 miles to upgrade before they get to that point. We're talking at least 2012, but if I were NICTD I'd replace the wire up to Grandview (MP 3.1 - the substation location) regardless of the airport project. When the airport relocation is done new catenary will be needed for the new tracks anyways. If the airport project is delayed beyond the catenary replacement project NICTD will have the better wire up to the point where the tracks are a bigger problem (Grandview).

I expect we'll see the airport project first.
  by justalurker66
 
On Monday just after Train 14 leaves for Chicago NICTD will be closing a portion of the line in South Bend to replace the north crossing on Bendix Drive. All trains through Train 20 on Tuesday afternoon will terminate on Westmoor St next to the Bendix plant. Parking will remain at the airport with buses shuttling passengers from the Airport to the trains (and back).

There is a string of 600 series track maintenance equipment parked on the siding waiting to do the work Monday morning. It looks like NICTD will be doing some tie replacement along Bendix Drive as well as the announced crossing work. I took some pictures of the equipment from across the street last night.
  by dinwitty
 
Are they doing day/night work, or can some of this be done at night without interrupting service?
  by justalurker66
 
dinwitty wrote:Are they doing day/night work, or can some of this be done at night without interrupting service?
The crossing work is completed. Completely removing and reinstalling a crossing is not something that can be done in a few hours. (The biggest gap in service at South Bend is 6hr 50min from 11pm-5:50am daily or 7hr 55min from 11pm-6:55am on Friday night.) Working at night would just make it harder and more expensive.

The service interruption was minor. Trains parked at Westmoor St instead of the airport during their layover. Two buses to take passengers between the airport and the train. Considering the speed and distance on the in town track the delay was minor (although transferring the passengers between the bus and train took a few minutes).

I didn't catch what NICTD did with 11-22 and 15-422 last Monday (April 19th). Normally these two meet at the airport.

Some of the ballast equipment was still parked along Bendix on Sunday. The road at crossing is now asphalt. The rest of Bendix Drive is still a mess, but that's not NICTD's problem.

NICTD has also had a midday work session busing a couple of trains to do tie replacements near Birchim on March 31st and April 1st.


NICTD had a different problem Sunday as the signaling system got stuck. Pine Rd crossing's flashers remained activated despite the lack of a train and eastbounds from Olive to Fisher (Smilax Rd to Pine Rd) faced erroneous red signals slowing the trains to restricting speed.
  by JLJ061
 
justalurker66 wrote:NICTD had a different problem Sunday as the signaling system got stuck. Pine Rd crossing's flashers remained activated despite the lack of a train and eastbounds from Olive to Fisher (Smilax Rd to Pine Rd) faced erroneous red signals slowing the trains to restricting speed.
Yes, I was listening to trains that had to get clearance by the home signals there at Grandview.
  by justalurker66
 
This being the weekend of May 15-17, the railroad is shut down east of Gary for construction.

Three projects of note.
#1) Both tracks of the double track from CP 54 east to 52.6 just before the county line (east of Miller) have had their old catenary removed and new catenary is being installed. My expectation was that NICTD would do one track at a time and only use the weekend shut downs for single track work but with the other project in the neighborhood it was probably better to replace these three miles of wire all in one weekend. (Three miles is impressive, but it is straight track with pullies used to hang the support wire from the cross beams instead of the catenary arms used on the curved sections of the line.)

The historical significance here: This is the Ideal section. On Saturday the catenary was taken down from the old steel supports. The new catenary is being hung on the new steel beams supported by wooden poles spaced twice as often as the "Ideal" supports.

The other two projects seen:
#2) The "Continental Can" crossing at the east end of the Portage/Ogden Dunes station is being redone. The asphalt walkways across Track 1 for trains on Track 2 have been removed and are being replaced along with other ballast and tie work in the station area. This is likely why both tracks were closed instead of doing a single track closure for the catenary.

#3) It appears the east end of the siding at 49.2 (Wilson Rd) is being reconnected to Track 2. The west end of the siding is just east of the old Midwest Steel plant entrance (where the fatal steel coil accident occurred).
  by dinwitty
 
was wondering why the "Ideal" section was installed, curious, and it hits me, harsh winters. Lake Michigan has a bad habit of zinging these long lake effect snows straight down the lake that do a non-stop hit in those areas.
  by JLJ061
 
I believe it was more for publicity purposes. The Ideal Section was installed in 1926-27 after Insull purchased the South Shore. This was the same time the North Shore's Skokie Valley Route was being constructed, using the same steel catenary bridge design for its route.
  by justalurker66
 
The Ideal section showed Insull's commitment to the line. Yes, PR - good PR.
  by justalurker66
 
What's missing?
Image
Photo taken on the double track near Wilson from a grade crossing. (Answer below)

NICTD has announced delays on their eastbound and weekend trains from June 1st-17th so I expected to see some construction. It looks like they had today off but evidence of work done earlier this week was obvious (as shown above).

Something new:
Image
Just east of the 400W crossing east of Michigan City ... one of three new signals I found installed today as part of the Michigan City-South Bend CTC/Signaling project. Crossing lights are also being replaced/installed as part of this upgrade.

I also looked at Kensington ... nothing major to report there. (CN is working on their tracks but no layout changes yet.)

And the answer: Track 2 (to the right in the photo) is missing the overhead wire. NICTD is single tracked from Gary to Dune Park on track 1 while the work is being done.