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
 
The vote is in (on Friday):
Fares are going up 5% on the South Shore line effective February 15th.
As previously announced South Shore trains will no longer stop at Kensington Station.
Military riders that can ride free with proper ID will (effective February 15th) only be able to ride at half price (and only if in uniform - otherwise full fare applies).

And the weekend late train to South Bend (513) is being cut short at Michigan City. The train will be renumbered 613. This means the last train to South Bend from Chicago will depart at 9:15pm CT instead of at 11:15pm CT - meaning South Bend passengers will have to leave Chicago early or drive to Michigan City (or west of there) to catch a train. It is still better than the old "memory schedule" last departure of 8:00pm CT.
  by BrianLM007
 
I've been "lurking" around this board for the past year or so, but I thought I would share with you all that the new ladder track in Kensington is now in service for the NICTD trains. I'm a regular on the South Shore (10½ years tenure and counting), and Train 112 has used the new ladder track for the past 2 days and I would imagine the other trains would shift over in the next week with Kensington service officially ending.

From a passenger standpoint, while we're not going much faster through the new route than through the traditional route crossing all the tracks (I doubt we're going much more than 10-15 MPH, and I'm not sure if that's simply due to the speed limit or caution by the engineer or a mix of both), it IS much smoother and much quieter than the rattling you get on the original route!
  by PRRGuy
 
The last day of service to 115th St is 2/14/12, which means the first train to bypass the station will be the 12:45 train out of Randolph St, Technically, on the 15th. Crews are currently being qualified on the new route on certain trains and as stated in an earlier post, some trains are already using the new route, since they do not stop there anyways. The new route currently has a speed limit of 10 mph. CN will be working on the crossovers in April after which there is talk of raising the speed limit to 25 mph. Also planned for this spring is the replacement of the diamonds on the ladder track over the course of a few weekends during the spring.
  by justalurker66
 
BrianLM007 wrote:I've been "lurking" around this board for the past year or so, but I thought I would share with you all that the new ladder track in Kensington is now in service for the NICTD trains. I'm a regular on the South Shore (10½ years tenure and counting), and Train 112 has used the new ladder track for the past 2 days and I would imagine the other trains would shift over in the next week with Kensington service officially ending.
Thank you for the report (and welcome to posting!). I was wondering if trains were using that new connection yet. I have only been able to get over there on weekends when trains are still stopping at Kensington.
PRRGuy wrote:The last day of service to 115th St is 2/14/12, which means the first train to bypass the station will be the 12:45 train out of Randolph St, Technically, on the 15th. Crews are currently being qualified on the new route on certain trains and as stated in an earlier post, some trains are already using the new route, since they do not stop there anyways. The new route currently has a speed limit of 10 mph. CN will be working on the crossovers in April after which there is talk of raising the speed limit to 25 mph. Also planned for this spring is the replacement of the diamonds on the ladder track over the course of a few weekends during the spring.
It is good to see that the diamond will get some attention. They will still be needed for eastbound trains.
  by PRRGuy
 
As the plan stands, after the diamond replacement all westbound trains will use the new connection and most eastbound moves will continue to use the ladder track.
  by justalurker66
 
PRRGuy wrote:As the plan stands, after the diamond replacement all westbound trains will use the new connection and most eastbound moves will continue to use the ladder track.
Does Metra use Track 4 for southbounds during the afternoon peak? I understand that they have been using Track 1 for northbounds (along with 3 and 4) for many years but had not looked to see if the schedule was open enough to allow southbound use of Track 4 in the afternoons.
PRRGuy wrote:Another change that's taken place is the raising of the speed limit in Michigan City between Carroll Ave and School St it is now 40 mph.
Is it 40 MPH all the way to Karwick Rd (where last I knew it was 50 MPH between Karwick Rd and east of Royal Rd)? I assume it is still 25 MPH on the street running (except the curves).
  by doepack
 
justalurker66 wrote:
PRRGuy wrote:As the plan stands, after the diamond replacement all westbound trains will use the new connection and most eastbound moves will continue to use the ladder track.
Does Metra use Track 4 for southbounds during the afternoon peak? I understand that they have been using Track 1 for northbounds (along with 3 and 4) for many years but had not looked to see if the schedule was open enough to allow southbound use of Track 4 in the afternoons.
I would guess not. NB Metra 132 and WB NICTD 218 are reverse peak trains that both hit Kensington within a few minutes of each other, and I've observed both trains using track 4 northbound. South of 67th, tracks 1, 2 and 3 are used for peak direction in the afternoons...
  by BrianLM007
 
Similarly in the morning, Metra runs trains Northbound from Kensington to 67th Street on Tracks 2, 3, and 4 (which I've also observed). Perhaps with the new connection in place, train traffic can be re-optimized. That said, I think CTC needs to be extended (and perhaps another full crossover or two) to at least 11th Place (if not the Randolph Terminal area) if one was to fully optimize the 4-track territory.

I can also attest to Track 4 being in use for Northbound trains on the reverse-commute during the evening rush hour.
  by justalurker66
 
doepack wrote:I would guess not. NB Metra 132 and WB NICTD 218 are reverse peak trains that both hit Kensington within a few minutes of each other, and I've observed both trains using track 4 northbound. South of 67th, tracks 1, 2 and 3 are used for peak direction in the afternoons...
3 southbound would work nicely for what I was thinking ... NICTD being able to use the new connection and not pass the platform. I have now seen a Youtube video taken at the beginning of the month showing outbound (eastbound) NICTD trains passing on either side of Kensington's platform depending on what was needed to keep the trains out of the way of other moves. If there are no northbound locals between 67th and 113rd Track 3 would be free for southbounds.
  by justalurker66
 
Posted on NICTD's website under purchasing ...

The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District is seeking sealed Proposals from qualified consultants for Engineering Services for the Design of a High Level Boarding Platform at the Dune Park Commuter Station located in Porter County, 33 E US Highway 12, Chesterton, IN, 46304. All Proposers must meet NICTD’s specifications as further described in the Workscope of the Proposal Packet.
Proposals will be received not later than 2:30 p.m., local time, Friday, May 18, 2012.

It looks like the next big project will be the long awaited upgrades at Dune Park. With Gary and Miller waiting for an agreement on possibly relocating or combining the stations and Michigan City tied up for the next few years on relocating the rail line it looks like attention can be given to Dune Park.


NICTD is also looking for a design for a new bridge over Lake Park Rd in Hudson Lake. This is an old timber bridge ... rails and ties only with poles forming braces ... over what was once a private road. The character of the current bridge looks like the original tressle rail line that was built and filled over 100 years ago east of Michigan City.
  by JLJ061
 
Dune Park should be a very simple conversion process that will not impede freight traffic at all.

I believe you're correct about the Lake Park Road bridge, which I'm sure does date back to the railroad's very beginnings over a century ago.
  by dinwitty
 
if for any crazy reason trains can still stop at Kensington? Like if Metra has an emergency NICTD can accept riders to disembark Kensington etc? Its not like Kensington has been a major stop for the SS.
  by justalurker66
 
dinwitty wrote:if for any crazy reason trains can still stop at Kensington? Like if Metra has an emergency NICTD can accept riders to disembark Kensington etc? Its not like Kensington has been a major stop for the SS.
Outbounds still pass the platforms and inbounds can be routed past as needed (with some conflicts with outbounds). Anything can happen in an emergency. For example, there are walkways in place that would allow trains to stop on tracks 1 and 4 for the stations north of Kensington that have a single platform between tracks 2 and 3.

I can't envision an emergency where NICTD trains would be used for Metra traffic. Even during the 9/11/2011 evacuation NICTD trains were needed more for NICTD passengers as both services ran "load and go" evacuation trips to get commuters who had just arrived in downtown back to their home stations. While NICTD trains are physically capable of running anywhere a MED train would go I just don't see it happening.

An emergency stop for police activity or medical situation could be a reason for a NICTD train to stop at a non-scheduled location. NICTD also schedules trains to stop at 23rd St on weekdays during the Auto Show (in addition to the normal weekend stops) and at 18th St for Bears Games. If there were a suitable event trains could stop.