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 Tadman
Today I noticed around 10am a string of 10 locomotives moving northward out of NW station, with locomotives in pairs shuttling into the station a few minutes later. Any idea what this is? Is it normal? I've never noticed the 10am migration before.

  by doepack
The migration you witnessed is a small part of Metra's daily locomotive cycling program. The 10 locomotives going out were being swapped out from either other trains or from the fuel pit just north of the terminal, and were headed to UP's locomotive servicing facility at M19A for midday servicing and storage. While a few may be held at M19A for minor repairs if necessary, the majority of that power will be backing down to the California yard later that afternoon and become equipment for the various PM rush hour trains after hooking onto the cars. Meanwhile, many of the inbound rush hour trains head to California yard after dropping their passengers off downtown, and after arriving in the yard, most of the locomotives drop the cars off and head to M19A from there. However, some of the power is needed back at the terminal for the midday trains, while others may be sent to the fuel pit, and are stored there until needed. So basically, what you have is a certain number of diesels that return from the yard to get reassigned, which explains the inbound power move that you saw...