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
justalurker66 wrote:I have seen what appear to be new feed lines to deliver power from the north side of the street to the contact wire.
Correction. The coiled wire I saw was not new feed lines ... it is the new support wire that will stretch across the street between poles. Nearly every pole on the north side of 10th and 11th have these wires. The power feed is on the poles on the south side of the street, with a segment of wire along 10th St now hanging from pulleys (apparently being prepared to be pulled out and replaced by new wire?).
  by justalurker66
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.
I see the problem ... initially the old plate was reused (I have a photo from last October that shows it). The current plate is much worse. (I had not seen the sign since last October - I didn't realize that it had been changed.)

It is interesting to see the lower signal head in use at 166 and 121 - although seeing those signals while not on a train isn't easy. Steps toward getting the rest of the signals working between Michigan City and Grandview.

In other notes for those who have not seen them:
The new Grandview signals are in place and active in both directions. An exact replacement for the old ABS signals 31 amd 32 (no number signs as they are absolutes). The new dwarf signal for leaving the freight yard remains bagged (and for the second weekend NS has their Grandview road crossing torn up).

The signal support for the new westbound main line signal at Shops is in place ... no signal heads yet. The dwarfs for the yard leads are in place and bagged.

No other changes noted between Michigan City and South Bend.

102 was set out across the track from the platform yesterday evening. I occasionally forget that track is electrified.
  by justalurker66
Metra has announce the last trains of Saturday night and possibly the first of Sunday morning will be bused around Kensington for track work.
Due to track work, the last train on Saturday night, July 9, 2011 and the first train early Sunday morning July 10, 2011, will be bused between Kensington and 111th Street (Pullman). Inbound commuters will detrain at Kensington and board a bus that will transport them to 111th Street where a train will make all scheduled stops to Millennium Station. Outbound commuters will detrain at 111th Street and board a bus that will transport them to Kensington, where a train will make all scheduled stops to University Park.
NICTD has announced their late night train will be bused (as well as possibly the morning one):
Eastbound Train 601 departing Millennium Station 12:45 a.m.

"This temporary busing is necessary in order to install signal and overhead wire support structures for the Kensington By-Pass project."

This is also another catanary weekend ... but a special one as the crew takes it to the streets of Michigan City.
  by justalurker66
justalurker66 wrote:This is also another catanary weekend ... but a special one as the crew takes it to the streets of Michigan City.
Ooops ... wrong weekend!

It looks like the signal crew was out working ... new crossing signals at Tulip Rd. Either that or I missed them the last time I crossed that crossing. I saw the contractors trucks on US20 westbound returning to Michigan City on Sunday Afternoon ... so they were out somewhere to the east.

The new mainline signal at the shops is up ... and unless it changes (very possible) the least restricting aspect will be approach? There does not appear to be a clear signal on the top head. (I say "unless it changes" because two of the new signal heads at shops have already changed - the new EB west of Carroll Ave was originally installed with no clear signal and the new WB east of the diamond was originally installed with a narrow background behind the signal. Both signals have been changed to three lights with a wide background ... the same as most of the signals on the line.)

BTW: Is there a story behind the new "NO SEMI TRUCKS BEYOND THIS POINT" "NO OUTLET" signs at the entrance to the Shops parking lot?
  by JLJ061
That does make sense, since it's not practical to string constant-tension wire in single span area.

I was wondering why there was practically no activity whatsoever in the streets, until around 6 pm the MTW-100 rode west and ducked into the Power Siding west of Sheridan.
  by justalurker66
I'm surprised how little was done ... School St to Roeske Ave is not a long path (0.8mi - probably 0.9mi of wire from tie off to tie off) and is mostly straight.

They have a rope strung along 10th St (tied off a pole or two east of where the tracks join 11th St) where the feeder wire can be replaced. There are pulleys on each pole. I expected to see new feeder wire there. In other areas the crew has pulled the new feeder wire FIRST ... generally on a weekday with no service disruption. The crew has managed to put up the pull rope with no service disruption so I don't see why they can't pull the feeder on a weekday.

I wonder if they will close 10th St when they do the actual overhead wire replacement? I expect they will at least close each blocks they are working in - moving the closure as they move down the line. I certainly would not want traffic driving past while trying to string wire across the street then connect the single strand contact wire. That kind of closure will likely be announced in advance in the local newspaper - so perhaps the next closure weekend (July 30th?).

BTW: I was in Michigan City on Friday evening and saw all of the equipment, including MTW-100, lined up at Sheridan. That choice of parking would have delayed Train 19 ... holding it at Tamarack for the meet with Train 22. That meet is the last scheduled meet at Sheridan-Power.
  by justalurker66
JLJ061 wrote:Will the entire Shops Yard be rewired or just the mainline?
Based on what I've seen just the main line ... and just to a steel post east of Roeske Ave. I didn't check from the bridge over the weekend but the new wires should end there. The electricians were parked in the station entrance and at Carroll Ave (the street) when I went by so I didn't go into the station itself to see how the wires ran through ... Trying to stay out of the way of the workmen.
  by justalurker66
Carroll Ave
The new catenary, main line only, terminates on two new poles barely east of Roeske Ave. It does not extend the full length of the yard to where the steel post was put in.

South Bend CTC
Over the past week the new intermediate signals at 121/122, 145/146 and 165/166 were converted to approach lit. Either that or they failed again. The signals were dark Saturday.
  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 voted a 5 1/2 month extension on Friday ... so it will be the end of the year before the Kensington connection is in use.

Key South Shore project completion pushed back
http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/ ... 5f37b.html
A new crossover at the Kensington Interlocking, a key railroad choke point on on Chicago's South Side, will not be in use until December, according to Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District General Manager Gerald Hanas.

Originally, that new crossing across four Canadian National Railway tracks to Metra tracks was supposed to be in use this summer. But construction crews have been restricted to working only Saturdays and Sundays because they can't interfere with the 180 Metra trains and Canadian National trains that use the tracks every week day.

"We are frustrated," Hanas told the NICTD board of trustees at their regular meeting at Chesterton's Dune Park station. "The big issue now is getting that new track in service by December."

The NICTD board voted 8-0 to extend construction manager STV Inc.'s contract by five-and-a-half months as well as paying the company $325,000 more. Hanas said that money still keeps the project within its budget, which earlier was estimated at $18 million.
  by justalurker66
OK ... I'm confused.

I drove through Michigan City Saturday evening and found all of the contact replaced. The new wire was strung through pulleys (which will have to be removed by Monday morning). It does not look like the feeder wire had been replaced ... perhaps that is what the next three weekends will be used for. But it appears that by the end of the weekend all the contact wire from Roeske Rd to Kensington will be new.
  by JLJ061
The new configuration through Michigan City looks exactly like the old configuration, except the contact wire is now 1 inch thick, instead of 0.6 inch thick, so it appears the street running section is not constant tension like the rest of the new system.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2663973

However instead of being one continuous section of wire like the old system the single span literally begins at Sheridan and ends at School Street, breaking off where the new catenary begins.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2663978
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