Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

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  by justalurker66
Work is progressing at Dune Park, with the track closed for a few hours this weekend and next to upgrade the siding.
The heavy work this weekend is at CP 43.0 (Tremont Rd). A lot of heavy equipment and lights as it appears the turnout there is being replaced.

At CP 43.7 the westbound siding signal has been removed and placed (not yet in service) to the west of the current eastbound signal (as a replacement for the eastbound). A new signal support is under construction for a cantilever signal over both tracks (the signal between the tracks for westbound track 1's days are numbered). The cantilever is in the same location as the existing westbound signal.

The cantilever should allow NICTD to take the bump out of track 2 (it currently shifts north around the track 1 signal) and the new placement of the eastbound signal should allow NICTD to move the turnout to the west ... giving a little more room for the new high level platform on track 1. (The access to the Calumet Trail has been moved to the far west end of the parking lot beyond the new eastbound signal.)

Also along the Dune Park platform new bases are being installed for steel catenary supports on both sides of the tracks for the length of the platform and "one pole east".
  by Amtrak7
Looking at the service advisory I see that a few of the trains being bused are South Bend runs. Are they running a Carroll Ave-SB shuttle train, or just extending those buses?
  by justalurker66
Amtrak7 wrote:Looking at the service advisory I see that a few of the trains being bused are South Bend runs. Are they running a Carroll Ave-SB shuttle train, or just extending those buses?
It looks like shuttle trains.

BTW: An error in the initial post. The next closure is in two weeks (April 27th/28th).
  by justalurker66
I made it back to Dune Park last night ... a lot of activity in the past two weeks.
The new catenary supports are up (the wire remains on the old supports).
The new signals are in place ... westbound above each rail on a cantilever support from the north side of the tracks and eastbound moved to the west.
(The old signals have been removed.)
The motor and switch gear for the old switch at CP 43.7 was removed.

Signs have been posted noting the closure areas for the high platform project ... no date on the signs. The signs have a diagram of the new platform with coloring to show the closed section of the platforms. Phase 1 will close the east end of the platform from just east of the station building (the walkway on the east side) to the east parking lot.Part of the new platform will be built there with two warming shelters and a ramp down at the east end. A new walkway will be built from the east end of the platform to a point further east in the east parking lot. Handicap parking will be on either side of the new walkway access.

Once that is complete, that part of the platform will open and the platform will be extended west past the station building. A raised walkway will connect the station building to the new platform (straight out from the current door from the building instead of to the left down the stairs and down a ramp). A ramp will be built on the west end of the platform - ending at about the west end of the general office building. The existing walkway to the west parking lot will remain in the same location and the connection to the Calumet Trail along side the tracks and crossing at a signaled crosswalk will be restored.

I was surprised by the plan and the lack of a new catenary support at the east end of CP 43.7 - I expected the second track to extend further west but it appears that the new switch will be at the "narrow" catenary support where the current switch points were.
  by justalurker66
Back out at Dune Park yesterday evening. The new switch is in place (although Track 2 is not in service ... there is a gap between the switch and the Track 2 rails).

The frog of the new switch ended up under that narrow catenary support I mentioned. As far as I can tell the points of the switch are about 60 ft further west than they used to be. The crossing to the Calumet Trail will be west of that (still just west of the points and the switch machine).

If I had to guess I'd say that this was a #20 ... but it might be a #15. Not easy to measure from the platform (if anyone knows for sure I'd like to know).
  by BrianLM007
Looks like the first part of the new platform is going into service in late August. Links to article and video from the Northwest Indiana (Hammond) Times website:

http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transp ... 4e188.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.nwitimes.com/digital/video/n ... 1f481.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Video is of John Parsons of NICTD.
  by justalurker66
Interesting ... I was down at Dune Park on Tuesday Morning (passing through on the way to Wisconsin) and watched an eastbound unload a bus load of elderly passengers mostly through one door of the train. A prime example of why they need the high level platform. Opening all three doors on the car would have allowed all of the passengers to quickly get off ... with no stairs to climb down. Even if you don't take into account the extra time to go down the stairs opening all the doors makes a big difference in loading and unloading the train.

I was back late Friday night and stopped again at just the right time to see car 311 lead a train eastbound. The platform is coming along nicely.
  by justalurker66

Our contractor expects to OPEN Phase 1 of the high level boarding platform on or near August 30. The boarding area north of the station building will CLOSE when Phase 1 opens.

The platform ramp located in the east parking will also open. At that time passengers using wheelchairs or other mobility aid devices must access the platform from the east parking lot. There will be handicapped spaces near the ramp entrance. We will discontinue using the wheelchair lift when Phase 1 opens.

The contractor will construct temporary staris east of the station building for ambulatory passengers to reach the platform while Phase 2 is constructed.

Passengers must be on the platform and ready to board when the train arrives. Please arrive in plenty of time to purchase your tickets and board the train. At Dune Park passengers may purchase one-way tickets on the train with cash.

There is still work to be done on Phase 1. Dune Park platform area remains a construction site. Please use caution when accessing and moving about the parking lot and platform.
There will likely be construction delays to trains (as there have been over the past few months) while the rest of the platform is completed, but the first phase of the high level platform is 456 ft long ... or just over five cars ... so all but the 8 car trains should be able to open all doors. An immediate improvement over waiting for passengers to climb up and down the steps on the train while the train waits.
  by justalurker66
FYI: The new platform opened as predicted on August 30th ...

  by justalurker66
NICTD's website reports that the entire eight car platform is open:
"The full 8-car hi-level platform is now open and can be reached from either the west or east parking lot. The elevated walkway between the station building and the platform remains closed for construction.

Passenger using wheelchairs or other mobility aid devices must access the platform from either the east or west parking lot.

There are temporary stairs east of the station building for ambulatory passengers to access the platform after purchasing tickets. This stairway will remain in service until the elevated walkway is open connecting the station building to the platform."

Recent photos:
  by justalurker66
NICTD has opened the walkway between the station and the platform. There is still work to be finished, and while my wife and I were walking the platform Saturday we noticed cracks in the concrete holding up the canopy. Nothing major but something that will need to be repaired.