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 orangeline
The Metra BNSF line is the commuter line I use when going into the city. Something I've noticed but never understood is why some 700-series cars have either "BNSF Railway" or "Burlington" over the doors, but none of the 800-series appear to. Aren't both sets of cars owned by BNSF?
  by wda4449
The 700 series cars (specifically 741 through 787) have a letterboard above the doors. The 800 series cars (actually 797-820) do not. The 700's were originally designed by the Budd Company based on design criteria of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy railroad, and placed in serice starting in 1950. In the late 1960's, before the Burlington Northern merger in 1970, the CB&Q started an effort to obtain public support of the suburban service as the fairbox revenue did not meet the cost of the service (that is: they were losing money). Around the time of the BN merger, the West Suburban Mass Transit District was formed and, as part of the arrangement with the CB&Q/BN, the equipment in service at the time was donated to the WSMTD. They are the owners of the 700's and the 800's, not the BNSF. In the arrangement between the CB&Q/BN, the WSMTD agreed to allow the railroad to letter the equipment with the the railroad's name. When the cars were renovated in the early 1970's the above-the-door letterboards were plated over and new, larger letterboards were installed on the lower half of the sides, near the end of the car. By that time, the Burlington Northern was in charge, so their name was placed on the cars. When METRA was formed, they wanted the top billing on the equipment. The Burlington Northern was removed from the large letterboard on the sides of the cars and replaced with the blue METRA sign. BN (and later BNSF) placed their smaller logo next to the doors. Within the past few years, BNSF decided to re-use the old letterboards with either 'BURLINGTON' or 'BNSF RAILWAY'. They could still do that since the original agreement between the railroad and the WSMTD is still in effect.