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 doepack
Today I saw a refreshment car on outbound train 2143 to Fox Lake, and it occurred to me that I've never seen these cars on any other route except the Milw North line. Is that an accurate observation? Also, are these cars assigned to the same train every day, and if so, why aren't they indicated on the schedule accordingly? Anyone with info, please fill in the blanks, TIA...

  by metraRI
MILW and RI have "refreshment cars". I'm not exactly sure how many RI currently has running, they seem to be on fewer and fewer trains. On RI they are placed as the 2nd to last car. I don't know if the same train number has the refreshment car everyday. It depends on the equipment cycles for the district.

As to why they are not indicated in the timetables I have no idea... In Metra's 1986 RID timetable... they are indicated. Just checked the 1986 MD-N, it also has them indicated.

  by Tadman
After seeing refreshment cars on those trains, I suggested it half-jokingly to a CSS conductor. He thought I was out of my mind for a two hour ride.

  by CNW5022-A519
Hello the Bar Cars are on all of the Milwaukee north line express trains, the one to Lake cook Road and the ones to Glenview and all stops after, they are on the same trains. and have the same persons working them in the morining and evenings. As with all types of refreashment areas you do have your regulars, riding to and from Work on the same train.

  by JamesT4
I like the refreshment cars, I remember buying juices from that car when I use to use the milwaukee lines regular.
Tadman wrote: I suggested it half-jokingly to a CSS conductor. He thought I was out of my mind for a two hour ride.
Hey they have a snack cart on amtrak's Hiawatha to Milwaukee, and thats is only an hour and 30 min. ride, but wait Amtrak is an national rail system, as the south shore is only a commuter railroad.
Last edited by JamesT4 on Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by SlowFreight
C&NW ran two (I think) bar cars converted from the St. Louis-built coaches. They had blanked vestibule windows and big red circle emblems on the doors, but come to think of it, I don't ever remember closely reading what those said. I just remember that they did it so you wouldn't think you could enter through the bar car vestibules. Used to see them on the Northwest line every rush hour.

Back when Metra started publishing its own timetables (1986), the bar cars were clearly listed in the timetables with a little coffee cup logo over the train number. But when drinking and commuting became politically taboo (I can't imagine why), Metra quit indicating these cars in the timetables that I had collected years ago, even though they still ran.

Having been away from Chi-town forever, do any Metra timetables show which trains have bar cars anymore? Do they still serve alchohol?

  by PRRGuy
"After seeing refreshment cars on those trains, I suggested it half-jokingly to a CSS conductor. He thought I was out of my mind for a two hour ride."

You have no idea how many people ask me that on a daily basis during the summer...I wish we did have something on our trains.

  by CNW5022-A519
Slowfreight and Everyone
The CNW bar cars had the same wording that the Milw Dsk. The sign said Commuter Club car enter on either side, the CNW usualy had the cars in the middle of the train or five cars back from the engine.
Train number 608 from Harvard Dp 0545 ar CHi 0724 would Dead head to Winnetka train number 3221. Leave CH 0745 arrive 0810, cross over at the switches between Pine st and Eldorado and head back as train number 324 from Winn 0820 arrive Chi 0857. That Scoot was a sight to see. 10 cars long and up to 1973 or 74 had a single level car. If Any one has Chicago Oddsey part two she is in their at the Wilmette shots, she is after train number 320 that had four single level cars at the time.
In the words of Archey and Edith Bunker, Those were the days.

  by SlowFreight
Oh. Yeah! That big red round emblem on the doors with the blanked windows... As you say, enter only from adjacent cars.

As late as the mid 90's, at least one of the two private single-level club cars could still be found on the north line. By then it had been repainted into an abbreviated version of the RTA smooth-side colors (everything but the orange stripe, account it being single level). Of course, Metra had assigned Budd-built cars to that trainset, making it look even stranger. I don't know the heritage of the private club car, but I have photos from Kenosha showing that the vestibule had apparently been cut into a car (parlor car?) that didn't originally have one--it had some very strangely blanked partial windows.

I don't know when that thing finally quit running, or if it can still be found out there. I just know I couldn't afford the membership to ride it. :wink:

  by Tadman
There's still one left, CNW-N route, later train inbound, earlier train outbound. As a north shore friend explained it earlier this summer, it's the old men that have more than paid their dues that can go in whenever they want.

When I get that kind of scratch laying around, I'm picking up an office car with open platform, adding some amenities like 60" flat screen, wetbar, etc... Next, I'm adding a cab so the open platform can be placed at the end of the train - in the morning, the operator uses the cab, in the afternoon, the operator uses the locomotive and I relax on the open platform with a cocktail while Trump uses the satellite phone.

  by byte
Is there a trainman on that private car, and do the doors open/close from the controls in the bilevels? Seems like Metra wouldn't want to pay someone just to sit in that car, yet surely there would need to be some measure of security to make sure us mongrels of the general public don't ride it. :P

And did they ever repaint it to "current" Metra colors (big blue stripe with red pinstripes), or does it still have the brown RTA-era stripe on the side?

  by MikeF
Like most intercity passenger cars, Metra 553's doors are manually operated. I'd imagine one of the trainmen aboard the train patrols the car and operates the doors as needed.

  by doepack
byte wrote:And did they ever repaint it to "current" Metra colors (big blue stripe with red pinstripes), or does it still have the brown RTA-era stripe on the side?
Nope, 553 is the last active car remaining in RTA colors, still making the rounds on UP-N Kenosha runs 322/335...

  by CNW5022-A519
553 is still running as of Oct 10th I see it every day, I work out at a Gym that is next to the tracks and I see it when I do my cardio, the machines I work on are right next to a picture window that faces the tracks. The car was built in 1949 and at one time there were four and seven Bileveles.

  by CNW5022-A519
Also 555 was on the same train up until the early 90s, she was moved to train number 343 also known as the Winnetka express, 530PM from Madison St station and then first stop Winn, the car was retired. And the Winnetka Express got a few more stops between Chi and Winn.