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
MikeF wrote:The old Highliners are ADA-compliant (sufficiently compliant, at least). The case in which an ADA-compliant car would need to be borrowed is if regular push-pull bilevels were borrowed from Metra's diesel lines, since the most "available" ones (the ex-C&NW Pullmans and the early stainless cars) are not wheelchair-accessible. As Metra's ridership is itself booming too, I'm not so sure they would be willing or able to give up any ADA cars
Ah, ok then. I guess it'll come down to whether South Shore is willing to acquire a set of old Highliners, which would seem to be the most feasible option, or if they'll just be content to limp along until the new cars arrive, that is, assuming funding can be secured for such, which is always a dicey proposition at best. But with the current capacity crunch, maintaning the status quo for long wouldn't be a good idea...

  by byte
Tadman wrote:And would it be that tough to create a 1500vdc electric locomotive? MNCR has dual mode diesels, and while they aren't the best for electric running, eliminating the engine frees up a lot of space for larger and more robust components. Further, 1500v on CSS compared to 600v on MNCR means the components don't have to be the same size, as when your voltage goes up, the amperage drops.
It wouldn't be that tough - the question is, can it be done in a timely and by spending as little money as possible? That's probably a "no" on both fronts. The whole idea behind piggybacking the South Shore's next order of cars onto the remainder of the Metra Highliner order is to save on R&D/engineering costs. This is also why the new Highliners lack platform-level cabs - someone at Metra deemed it not worth spending the money on the extra engineering costs to change the configuration from the base 8500-series type frame that the new Highliners are built on. The piggybacking method of purchasing is also, IIRC, how the F40Cs were purchased (they were tacked on to Amtrak's SDP40F order).

  by MikeF
Tadman wrote:huh? buried? where?
Near the old Pullman plant in Michigan City, there is a former CTA 600-volt steeple cab locomotive hidden in the bushes between two buildings. It was acquired years ago by the group that owns the 1100 and a number of the orange cars, with the idea that it would be repainted and rebuilt to resemble one of the South Shore's steeple cabs.

  by JLJ061
Do you know exactly what street it is supposed to be by? I feel a "scavenger hunt" a-brewing! lol

  by Tadman
Yeah me too - is it at one of those old brick factories off tenth?

  by dinwitty
in my emails to Bob, he said he has 2 steeple cabs to rebuild into the SS engines. Where theire hidden, I dunno, maybe I can shoot an email to him.

  by MikeF
Yes, the CTA steeple cab is hidden in the trees between two of the old brick buildings north of 10th Street. If memory serves, it's on the north side of 6th Street about a block west of Huron Street. (Don't hold me to that ... next time I'm in MC I'll try to remember to find the exact location.) You really have to look carefully to see it -- PRRGuy and I went looking for it last year and we drove right by it several times before we noticed it.

For those who are interested in other old railroad junk, there's an ancient wooden boxcar a few hundred feet north of the steeple cab. It's quite accessible if you drive back behind the buildings.

  by dinwitty
yep, Bob confirmed the one in MC is one he has, the other in East Troy.

The plan is to Build them to SS specs and run them.

sounds too cool if it can get going.

  by AArnett
Seriously, reguarding the ridership surge (which I notice is happening):

Which trains are the most crowded (Meaning, having the most people)? Which trains are the "Standing Room Only"? It seems that Morning Train 104 is pretty much standing at Hegewisch, though I have to think that later morning RH trains would be busier. I think Train 11 is the most crowded of the Eastbounds. But, what are their busiest trains?


  by dinwitty
The only alternative to not using Diesel and ordering new cars is to grab standard passenger cars and run as trailers in the train.
South Shore had a few standard cars modded to handle the MUing.
And the SS always had trailer cars often mixed in a large train.
I presume that has always been the solution to get more passenger carrying without added motorized cars.
Even if the IC double deckers had motors removed, they could be modded to run in a train as trailers.
Maybe it could spare a motored car or 2 to run in other trains making more trains available if not a longer train or a 2nd section.

I dunno if there is a limitation that the motored cars can pull.