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
I caught a westbound NICTD train passing at Olive on Saturday afternoon. A CSS freight was holding the main westbound when I first arrived and I realized that I was about to see the new (upgraded in 2011 to CTC) passing segment in action.

I was disappointed.

I expected the NICTD train to slow down for the diverging routes through the CPs but it appeared that the train was running at restricted speed - perhaps even being talked through the CPs (I did not have a scanner running and could not see the westbound signals so I cannot be sure what the crews were facing). The crews did not have to change the switches for the pass, but the NICTD train ran dead slow on the siding past the CSS freight on the main ... walking speed.

Was this a bad day or is this normal? I had hoped that the CPs at Olive would have sped things up ... and seeing a freight on the main and a passenger train pass on the siding was a goal of mine, but not at that speed. (Previous to CTC freights would clear the main to allow passenger trains to pass and, in general, the only time a passenger train was on the siding was when two passenger trains passed in opposite directions).

Shortly after the NICTD train left the CSS train followed it westbound.
  by PRRGuy
It is faster, now we don't have to stop and hand line the switches. Speed limit through the turnouts are 10 mph when lined for the siding.
  by justalurker66
Thanks for the detail. I looked back at the timestamps on my photos. It looks like it took just over 3 minutes to travel the length of the siding and get back on the main ... which would be about 10 MPH. I expected a little more speed between turnouts.
  by JLJ061
If a freight crew is switching at Olive, do they still have manual control of the switches or do they now need the dispatcher to line them up for them?
  by PRRGuy
It's just a smoother ride by keeping it at 10 mph rather then speeding up then braking again for the other end.

As for the freight crews, the dispatcher always has the option to let the freight crew take the switches off power, but I don't believe they do because then they would have to get permission by the stop indications every time.