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 Tadman
 
I think the point we need to remember is the hotshots weren't really an "express" train, just a load balancing train.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote:I think the point we need to remember is the hotshots weren't really an "express" train, just a load balancing train.
True. The printed schedules of the South Shore did not denote those trains any different than other trains. When the trains were announced online the PDF schedules referred to them as "LIMITED" trains. The notice posted 4-22-09 referred to the arrangement as limited and skip-stop trains.

The only train I've seen noted as an express recently is a weekend train - #504 - which in a draft of the 11/22/09 schedule released 3/19/09 was noted as "EXPRESS" (leaving South Bend at 9:01am ET and after a flag stop at Hudson Lake only stopping at Dune Park at 9:02am CT before making normal drop off stops in Chicago) but the express notation was removed when the draft became reality in September (stops were also added in East Chicago and Hegewich). 504 makes the run in 135 scheduled minutes while other weekend trains from South Bend take 146 to 154 minutes.
  by justalurker66
 
One more note from the NICTD News Page ...
TRAIN 11 TO CHANGE PLATFORM ALIGNMENT AT EAST CHICAGO
Effective September 13, 2010

Eastbound Train 11, departing Millennium Station at 4:02 p.m., will no longer open the first two cars when discharging passengers at East Chicago. If you are traveling to East Chicago please remain in cars 3 thru 8.

We are making this change to enable passengers traveling east of Michigan City to occupy the first two cars of the train.
  by jb9152
 
This is all essentially true. When the new schedules were formulated, the idea was to add more seats, not necessarily dramatically reduce travel times. The weekday trains couldn't be sped up too much, because of the reality of meets and/or catching up with the train ahead. I did fight for the removal of the 4 minute early time constraint on the eastbound "leave early" trains, which would have sped them up considerably (on the basis that there is little to no inter-station Indiana travel in the PM peak, so it's OK if the trains run early), but in the end we stuck with the 4 minutes.

The trains were very successful in balancing the loads across heavy demand times, and improved on time performance by evening out dwells and reducing crowding. Unfortunately, as has been noted, the ridership no longer justifies the additional trains, given the reductions in state tax revenues and passenger receipts.
  by justalurker66
 
Express trains are returning!

The South Shore commuter railroad is launching a pilot express train service March 16 in response to calls for speedier trips to Chicago.
Mike Noland, general manager for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, which operates the South Shore, told the NICTD board Friday the train will originate in South Bend and make just two other stops — at Dune Park in Chesterton and East Chicago.

The train will originate in South Bend and 6 a.m. (EST), arrive at Dune Park at 5:56 a.m. (CST) and East Chicago at 6:17 a.m.

A train will also return eastward as an express, leaving Millennium Park at 3:57 p.m., but it will make an additional stop at the Museum campus.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by jb9152
 
justalurker66 wrote:Express trains are returning!

The South Shore commuter railroad is launching a pilot express train service March 16 in response to calls for speedier trips to Chicago.
Mike Noland, general manager for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District, which operates the South Shore, told the NICTD board Friday the train will originate in South Bend and make just two other stops — at Dune Park in Chesterton and East Chicago.

The train will originate in South Bend and 6 a.m. (EST), arrive at Dune Park at 5:56 a.m. (CST) and East Chicago at 6:17 a.m.

A train will also return eastward as an express, leaving Millennium Park at 3:57 p.m., but it will make an additional stop at the Museum campus.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
This is good news. Must mean ridership has increased enough at those stations to justify them having their own train. It'll be interesting to see how loaded they are or not.
  by ohioriverrailway
 
High platforms, newer signals, newer overhead probably have helped in the decision. Hopefully these will meet with rider acceptance.
  by justalurker66
 
An interesting note from last week's NICTD board meeting (courtesy of the NWI Times):
The board also approved an amendment to its trackage rights agreement with Metra in Chicago. In four months, NICTD will start paying Metra $12,500 per train for its new Sunrise Express into Chicago and its companion train that returns to South Bend in the evening.
  by justalurker66
 
Milwaukee_F40C wrote:Per train? That seems insane. Does train revenue even come close to $12,500?
I am assuming that it is a monthly fee per train added ... not a per trip fee.

$12,500 per train per month would work out to $300k per year for both trains.
$12,500 per train per weekday trip would work out to $6.5 million per year for both trains.

NICTD currently pays less than $7 million per year for all of its trains. ($7 million is what NICTD will pay in 2016.)
METRA pays NICTD $3.7 per year for service to Hegewisch.


The additional service increase NICTD's weekday usage from 35 to 37 trains serving Chicago. Weekend service remains 18 trains. Roughly 211 trains per week (before the Sunrise Express) 10,972 trains per year would put the per trip cost at $637 (2016 rate).

$12,500 per train per month works out to about $576 per trip. Which sounds about right for a scale that increases to 2016.