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 justalurker66
 
JLJ061 wrote:Also I noticed that during the repaving of Michigan Blvd at the east end of 11th Street the old-fashioned cantilever crossing signal for southbound traffic had been replaced by a standard flasher. The northbound cantilever is still in place, but I think it's a safe bet its days are now numbered.
I took a closer look today. There is a new concrete base in place in the traffic island being rebuilt on the west side of the road that will be able to support a new cantilever. The east lane of the road is marked for where they will be cutting it away and putting in the new curb (taking away the parking lane).

Other changes observed: Signals 132/133 at New Carlisle are out of service, bagged and turned slightly toward "the field". Signals 145/146 are now in service at the county line. No other new signals in use (although the new crossing signal on the north side of the Birchim road crossing is now in service).
  by justalurker66
 
doepack wrote:According to the details of this weekend's "bustitution" plan, MED train 148 will drop off two cars at 111th, then continue north. Those cars will then be picked up by its follower, 150; after the south half of 150's schedule terminates at Kensington, and crew + passengers are bused to 111th. The equipment terminating at Kensington will eventually return south when it resumes 153's schedule. Meanwhile, NICTD train 510 will drop cars at Kensington on its way downtown, which will be used to continue 601's schedule east. While it appears that NICTD equipment will be stored at 111th overnight (the set used on the Randolph-111th portion of 601), I've heard that Metra plans to have a crew deadhead on 153 out of Randolph, then bring the train back downtown after it terminates at 111th, but I'm still wondering about what NICTD's plans are for 600's equipment after it terminates at Kensington. Will it be held there, then added to 503 when it arrives at Kensington heading east, or will an extra crew take it back to Indiana after the passengers and 600's crew are dropped off?
I would be surprised to see NICTD leave equipment at 111th St overnight. Millennium Station is a more secure environment for NICTD to tie up equipment.

I'd expect 600's equipment to run as an extra to Millennium Park after the line is reopened.
Metra 802 is bussed northbound at 6:22am.
NICTD 600 arrives at Kensington at 6:33am.
Metra 803 is bussed southbound at 7:01am.
Metra 822 leaves Kensington at 8:22am (the first scheduled train not affected).
NICTD 502 is at Kensington at 8:48am with NICTD 503 at Kensington at 9:07am. 600's equipment would just be in the way at Kensington.

My bet would be that 600's "first leg" equipment will sit at Kensington until the track is reopened (8am?) just in time for 822 to be the first revenue train behind it. The other option would be an extra run back to Michigan City. Which compared to paying a crew to hold at Kensington's platform for 90 minutes might be the better option.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:Train 600 coupled up to the NICTD cars left at 111th st on Track 4, they made a head end add.
What cars were left at 111th for 600 to couple to? Or was the line open early enough that 600 could run through and not be bussed?

BTW: One new support structure across all eight tracks ~200ft north of 113th St was added this morning. The second new support structure closer to 113th was not raised and no work on the track was done.

BTW2: South Bend's freight yard and Fishers emptied out this weekend.
  by PRRGuy
 
The cars used for the Randolph St-111th segment of Trains 601 and 510. The installation of the beam was the only reason for the busing. I haven't head any news on when the switches connecting to Metra property will be installed. Rumor has it that the connection should be in service by the end of the summer but we'll see. The tracks were opened to NICTD traffic at 3:00am according to our Track Permit. There was a flagman there until 6:15am.

As to your question on the South Bend yards, South Shore Freight stores a NIPSCO unit coal train set on the line a couple times a year, usually cars are stored in Bendix yard, Fisher Siding as well as Parrish siding or State siding if space isn't available out east.


Currently work is also being done on the overhead wire on track 1 at Power. More new signals have been activated between South Bend and Michigan City, replacing the signals between New Carlisle substation and Birchim. Get your shots of the original 1930's ones before they are gone, and they will be gone before the end of the year.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:I haven't head any news on when the switches connecting to Metra property will be installed. Rumor has it that the connection should be in service by the end of the summer but we'll see.
The board meeting minutes noted "June" as the completion of Kensington. Perhaps there was a delay.
PRRGuy wrote:As to your question on the South Bend yards, South Shore Freight stores a NIPSCO unit coal train set on the line a couple times a year, usually cars are stored in Bendix yard, Fisher Siding as well as Parrish siding or State siding if space isn't available out east.
Were these cars from Bailey? I thought they were returns from ND coal trains. With the connection in South Bend gone the won't be from ND again.
PRRGuy wrote:Currently work is also being done on the overhead wire on track 1 at Power. More new signals have been activated between South Bend and Michigan City, replacing the signals between New Carlisle substation and Birchim. Get your shots of the original 1930's ones before they are gone, and they will be gone before the end of the year.
Signal activity at Shops seems to be slowing down (or they are just working on things not seen). I have not seen a new signal in use west of Birchim or east of Olive ... but Birchim to Olive is all new signals with new white number plates on the new signals. (The number plates were reused at Birchim, Olive and 165/166.)
  by PRRGuy
 
The cars in storage in South Bend and Fisher are from the UP run through trains to the Michigan City Nipsco plant. The CSX unit coal trains from Miller go to Bailly and the steel mill.

The number plate on Signal 166 was not re-used. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with a plate with smaller (and harder to see) numbers.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:The cars in storage in South Bend and Fisher are from the UP run through trains to the Michigan City Nipsco plant. The CSX unit coal trains from Miller go to Bailly and the steel mill.
It seems odd to take them all the way to South Bend for storage but it is income for the railroad. That is always a good thing.
PRRGuy wrote:The number plate on Signal 166 was not re-used. Unfortunately, it has been replaced with a plate with smaller (and harder to see) numbers.
That is a shame. The newer signals have nice size number plates (121-122 and 145-146). I thought from my picture of 166 that it was the same plate ... the same size as the other older plates. I'll have to take another look.


The catenary crew did well this weekend ... 1.24 miles of main line and the Power/Sheridan siding. Both CPs 36.0 and 35.2 and all that work on a curve. I'm surprised the got that much done.

The new wire merges with the old just west of Sheridan Rd with the new wire anchored one pole east of Sheridan Rd on the north side of 10th St. Hopefully they won't have problems with the next segment ... working the middle of a public street can't be fun. Will the city close the road for NICTD (local traffic only)?
  by JLJ061
 
justalurker66 wrote:The new wire merges with the old just west of Sheridan Rd with the new wire anchored one pole east of Sheridan Rd on the north side of 10th St. Hopefully they won't have problems with the next segment ... working the middle of a public street can't be fun. Will the city close the road for NICTD (local traffic only)?
Sounds like they're on target for the next shutdown period in July, definitely a "must-see" project!
  by Amtrak7
 
At this rate we won't need all the remaining service outages! Maybe 2 or 3 more.
  by justalurker66
 
Amtrak7 wrote:At this rate we won't need all the remaining service outages! Maybe 2 or 3 more.
The crew has been getting a lot more done in advance this year (replacing the support arms before the weekend outages) which saves the time of taking all the old ones down on the outage days.

There are six scheduled weekends left ... cutting that down to three would be optimistic. I suppose we'll get a hint after the next outage. I'm hoping they get across CP 34.5 and end at the west end of 11th St. If they get much further there would be hope for three weekends ... but four or five of the six would be my guess.
  by JLJ061
 
justalurker66 wrote:There are six scheduled weekends left ... cutting that down to three would be optimistic. I suppose we'll get a hint after the next outage. I'm hoping they get across CP 34.5 and end at the west end of 11th St. If they get much further there would be hope for three weekends ... but four or five of the six would be my guess.
It's possible working in the city streets will slow the work down quite a bit, that could be why they scheduled six more weekends. We shall see.
  by Amtrak7
 
JLJ061 wrote:It's possible working in the city streets will slow the work down quite a bit, that could be why they scheduled six more weekends. We shall see.
Isn't the catenary support structure totally different on the street? According to the videos I've seen, it's more like a trolley system with the wire supported by the telephone poles. I wonder how you could constant tension that!
  by justalurker66
 
Amtrak7 wrote:
JLJ061 wrote:It's possible working in the city streets will slow the work down quite a bit, that could be why they scheduled six more weekends. We shall see.
Isn't the catenary support structure totally different on the street? According to the videos I've seen, it's more like a trolley system with the wire supported by the telephone poles. I wonder how you could constant tension that!
That is another "we shall see" aspect of the construction ...

It would be good to note at this point that the catenary between CP 58.1 and CP 35.2 has been replaced - along with much of the support system including moveable support arms and pulleys that allow the catenary to move between the anchor points (which are approximately 9/10ths of a mile apart). The feed wire is no longer a part of the catenary itself ... moved to the side of the track leaving just the messenger wire and contact wire over the tracks. At the anchor points the messenger and contact wire from one direction cross over the messenger and contact wire from the other direction before being anchored to a steel beam in line with the catenary support poles. The constant tension features - weights at the anchor points that keep the wire taught (as seen between East Chicago and Emerson on the steel beems) have not been installed on the new construction. So even though wire replacement will be completed in a few months there is still some work to be done (although Kensington to East Chicago is constant tension without counterweights).

You are correct that the current wire over the streets is basically a trolley wire system ... and there is no pre-construction work that shows any change from that. We may see more of a simple wire replacement without changing the character of the wire through Michigan City. I have seen what appear to be new feed lines to deliver power from the north side of the street to the contact wire.

While in the rural areas weights tensioning 9/10ths of a mile seem to be common, I expect the "constant tension" in street running to be applied in smaller segments. If my calculations are correct, they would have to plan for about a 4ft of expansion/contraction per mile for a 0 to 90 degree (F) temperature range. I expect the planned range is slightly wider (isn't Indiana weather wonderful?). Designing a system that handles the "short" wire of the coldest day without snapping and the "long" wire of the hottest day without sagging is the key. Some of that summertime slack can be taken in by pulling the wire toward opposite sides of the street at every pole. It would be interesting to compare a photo taken down the street on a 0 degree day vs a 90 degree day.

In any case, "we shall see". I suppose we should also take this opportunity to take final "pre-construction" photos in Michigan City ... although there have been several new poles put in place along the line.
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