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
More late night track work at Kensington ...
The South Shore plans to temporarily bus passengers between 111th St. on Metra Electric District to Hegewisch Station late Friday evening and early Saturday morning. Busing is necessary as part of the Kensington upgrade project.

Affected trains include:
Friday October 14:
Westbound Train 22 arriving Millennium Station at 10:21 p.m.
Eastbound Train 121 departing Millennium Station at 11:15 p.m.
Saturday, October 15:
Eastbound Train 601 departing Millennium Station at 12:45 a.m.
Westbound Train 600 arriving Millennium Station at 7:00 a.m.

Passengers requiring accessibility assistance should alert the train crew as soon as they board so arrangements can be made.

NICTD regrets any inconvenience.
  by justalurker66
Kensington Interlocking

The new crossovers are in at the north end of Kensington ...
One crossover just north of the platform connecting between CN-IC Track 1 and Metra Track 3 (between the crossover to Track 2 and the crossover back to Track 3) and a second crossover north of the switch where Track 4 leaves Track 3. They still need to finish the connections between the crossovers at each location but the crossovers are in place on the mains.

It appears that NICTD has also shifted over their Track 1 as it enters Kensington to make room for the restoration of the 2nd track entering the interlocking.
  by justalurker66
Work between Michigan City and South Bend on Saturday night (from the NICTD News Page):
The South Shore will temporarily bus passengers on select regularly scheduled trains between South Bend and Michigan City (including Hudson Lake) on the following dates:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Train 509 arriving South Bend at 9:53 p.m. ET
Train 510 departing South Bend at 10:16 p.m. ET
Train 710 departing South Bend at 10:48 p.m. ET (terminates in Michigan City)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Train 511 arriving South Bend at 12:46 a.m. ET, and possibly
Train 513 arriving South Bend at 2:46 a.m. ET
This weekend is also the weekend of the USC Night Game at Notre Dame ... and NICTD has been running an extra 90 minutes after the game to return fans to Chicago. USC vs Notre Dame is usually a big game.

Can anyone share what the work is and if the extra will still be running through whatever that work is?
  by PRRGuy
Last I saw, there was some welding to be done on the mainline towards South Bend. Certain trains are going to be bused Shops to/from South Bend. I believe there are 2 extra trains running for the USC groups.


*Edit*, the dispatcher tells me that there are 3 chartered USC extras tonight (One 4 car and two 6 car trains) and appearently, we're running to South Bend to pick up the fans.
  by justalurker66
Yep ... I've been listening to the radio from today and the Extras that will bring fans back from the USC game are on the way to South Bend as I write this. I wonder if the busing of the regular trains was to get them around the extras. Without the bustitution NICTD would have to weave the regular trains around the extras for the ND game.

If I am understanding correctly, two of the extras would be the USC charters and the third would be the special "90 minute after the game" regular extra.

The welding should have ended last week (16 days over four weeks) ... I can't imaging them doing that at night when weekdays are still available.

It is good to see the USC trains running. If I understand correctly (from board meeting minutes) there were no chartered ND trains last year.
  by justalurker66
Kensington Interlocking
Two changes to note:
1st - Catenary work is underway placing a wire above the new bypass path through the interlocking.

2nd - Signalling is in place (turned away from the track) at the west end of the new CP 75.3.
Note: The signal on the left will be the one controlling entry to the Metra lines via the current crossover (one light over four, a diverging signal that can display Metra's white "Restricting" signal). The signal on the right will be the one controlling entry to the CN-IC lines and the new bypass connection (one light over three). The eastbound signals are three over two, similar to the current eastbound signal at CP 75.3 (an advance signal for CP 73.8). Diverging clear will not be able to be displayed (unless the signals are changed).

Note the signal location is just north of the underpass for Keywell. Something else to note from the photo ... the eastbound signals follow NICTD's practice of placing signals on arms that stick out from the support mast. The westbound signals follow METRA's practice of placing the top head directly on top of the support mast. (Other new Metra signals at Kensington follow that practice.)
  by justalurker66
CTCRailFan#1 wrote:The new signal system at CP 32.2 has been put into service!!!
Cool ... time for a road trip!
  by justalurker66
I need to sort through the photos to see what I saw (I always seem to see more in my pictures than with my naked eye).

What I recall:
The CP 32.2 sign has been moved to face eastbound traffic. I didn't see a westbound CP 32.2 sign.
The Begin CTC / End CTC signs have been moved to the easternmost signal (just west of the SouthShore Freight offices).
The first ABS signal (west of Karwick Rd) is out of service and turned away from the tracks.
The "Yard" and "End Yard" signs have been covered or removed at School St and Karwick Rd.
The "330" sign is missing from the intermediate westbound of the shop.

Restricting is shown on both signals for terminating eastbound trains. Top light blinking on the first signal at Carrol Ave, bottom light blinking on the second signal at the platform.
Restricting is also shown on the first signal if the second signal has not been cleared (not "Approach").
Clear is shown on both signals for South Bend trains passing through the station (in either direction).
Clear is shown on the dwarf signals when a train can leave the yard or enter from the CSS line.

All the switches inside the interlocking are remote controlled. This includes the eastbound division between CY-0 and the main and the first crossover CY-0 to CY1. The leads to the CSS Kingsbury track are also remote controlled.

BTW: What is up with Car 26 having big "A" "B" "C" labels on the side (black letters on a red background)?
  by JLJ061
Looks like all the trackwork is done at Kensington, not sure about the signals though.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2819565

All that's left is stringing the rest of the catenary from the new ladder track to SouthShore Track 2.
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=2819564

Modern cantilever signals have been installed at Michigan Blvd and 11st Street in Michigan City, complete with gates. There are no longer median flashers at this crossing.

Even though the NICTD/CSS diamond at Shops is now interlocked, it seems several engineers are still in the habit of the stop-and-proceed across the diamond.
  by justalurker66
The pictures don't show it ... (it would have been before the first shot at Kensington) but the full crossover in place? Do you remember if it was it 2 to 1 then 1 to 2 (westbound)?

A couple of weeks ago the only new signals that I noted were missing were the new westbounds before CP 75.3. The new westbounds beyond the crossover and entering Kensington Interlocking were in place and new eastbounds entering the new CP 75.3 crossovers were in place (all out of service).
Jamie Joyce wrote:Even though the NICTD/CSS diamond at Shops is now interlocked, it seems several engineers are still in the habit of the stop-and-proceed across the diamond.
Probably a hard habit to break ... although Eastbounds stopping short and rolling up would prevent going past the platform. Westbounds shouldn't be stopping when leaving the platform (unless they are rolling up to allow additional cars to board or for an add).
  by justalurker66
Metra has announced busing of two late night and possibly two morning trains this coming weekend (Dec 3-4, Saturday Night) for track work at Kensington. The busing will be between Kensington and 111th St.
  by justalurker66
Changes noted this weekend ...

The new siding signals at Olive and Birchim are lit (when a train is present). It was too dark to see if the switches were remote controlled but I believe they are. I saw a westbound freight take the siding at Birchim after stopping to look at the alignment of the switch that did not stop after moving over the switch. Similar moves were being made at Olive.

Westbound signs are up for CP 32.2 and CP 33.0. CP 33.0 was an eastbound only CP. The intermediate signal sign was noted gone two weeks ago ... now there is a CP sign there. Can anyone confirm that this is now a CP in both directions? (Such operation would be a good idea ... especially with trains that need to be cleared past 32.2 in order to reverse into the yard or to South Bend.)

The work at Kensington included catenary work. Platform 2 was out of service with Kensington single tracked on Platform 1 and using tracks 1 and 2 north of the station while two catenary vehicles took care of business connecting the new connection to tracks 3 and 4. There are also new signals (turned toward field) north of Kensington controlling CN-IC track 1 in both directions.

Signaling System in need of some tweaks ...
I saw a couple of bad situations with crossing signals. The first was at Carroll Ave. An 8 car train arrived and stopped at the platform with the tail just clear of the east sidewalk. The Carroll Ave crossing stayed active with some cars patient and others not willing to wait, violating the crossing signal to cross behind the train. It is understandable that Carroll Ave would not clear with the train still on the island circuit but at least two crossings to the west were also activated. After a long delay the train rolled backwards about 5 ft (blocking the sidewalk) and eventually a signal was given for the train to go into the yard. Carroll Ave cleared when the train was a couple of car lengths east (past the points of the Kingsbury lead). The other crossings to the west did not clear until the cut cars were clear of the main.

Smilax Rd and Tulip Rd were blocked while the SouthShore freight did some switching there. It seems that as long as a train is in the approach segment for the signal, regardless of track or direction, the gates are activated. I saw the same behavior at Sage Rd ... an eastbound cleared the crossing but the gates stayed down until the train was well east of the crossing, likely the WB start point. This is NOT normal operation as observed on other railroads and other crossings on NICTD. A passing train should trigger crossing protection at the start point and the crossing protection should end when the train clears the island. Crossings should NOT be active unless a train is approaching.
  by justalurker66
CTC to South Bend
The CP signs are up at CP 3.0, CP 9.8, CP 10.3, CP 18.5, CP 19.1 and CP 31.3.
END CTC / BEGIN ABS and begin yard limits signs are up at CP 3.0 (westbound - opposite signs eastbound).

Also the final CTC intermediate signal at 45/46 is in service with the former ABS signal at 41/42 removed (along Ardmore Rd between the US 20/31 bypass and Mayflower Rd.
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