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
 
We all know that, come Sunday, the hotshots are no more, replaced by the standard Locals. I rode the last 3:58 hotshot today, and it was an experience. Crews announced ten times over that we skip Hegewisch, Hammond, EC, Clark, and Metro Center. Repeatedly. Again. Again. Again... You get the picture. We stopped at Hegewish anyway. Come to find out, a lady stormed the cab and demanded the engineer let her off. They did, straight into the hands of the police. Storming the cab is not a good idea. Then, upon stopping at Miller, the first scheduled stop, a rather attractive girl pushed her way through waiting passengers to get in line to be first off. She called a number of them names in the process and was quite rude. The conductor explained that she was rather huffy because they wouldn't let her off in Hammond, despite the 20-30 announcements made between Randolph and 115th that "WE DON'T STOP AT HAMMOND, GET OFF AND RIDE THE FOLLOWING LOCAL IN TEN MINUTES".

It was an experience. Unfortunately, is it really a hotshot when you cruise through the skipped stations at 25 mph? I understand it probably saves the dwell time, but otherwise it wasn't that fast.
  by jb9152
 
Sorry to see 'em go. Those were my trains...

But, it's the right decision at this time. Good thing is, the slots are shown to exist - it's possible to reinstate the expresses at some point in the future if the ridership warrants. We'll just have to wait and see.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote:We all know that, come Sunday, the hotshots are no more, replaced by the standard Locals. I rode the last 3:58 hotshot today, and it was an experience. Crews announced ten times over that we skip Hegewisch, Hammond, EC, Clark, and Metro Center. Repeatedly. Again. Again. Again... You get the picture. We stopped at Hegewish anyway. Come to find out, a lady stormed the cab and demanded the engineer let her off. They did, straight into the hands of the police. Storming the cab is not a good idea.
I believe I saw your train at Portage/Ogden Dunes. I was following 20 and watching the signals change behind it. (I still have not quite figured out intermediates. Some fall to yellow before the train passes the next signal - some don't.)
Then, upon stopping at Miller, the first scheduled stop, a rather attractive girl pushed her way through waiting passengers to get in line to be first off. She called a number of them names in the process and was quite rude. The conductor explained that she was rather huffy because they wouldn't let her off in Hammond, despite the 20-30 announcements made between Randolph and 115th that "WE DON'T STOP AT HAMMOND, GET OFF AND RIDE THE FOLLOWING LOCAL IN TEN MINUTES".
It is a shame an officer wasn't available to give her an escort as well. Oh well. That all changes now.

BTW: 211 following you was a Gallery Car train. I saw it running as an extra back to the shops just ahead of 111.
It was an experience. Unfortunately, is it really a hotshot when you cruise through the skipped stations at 25 mph? I understand it probably saves the dwell time, but otherwise it wasn't that fast.
Seems to me to be more of a load sharing thing. Give the people going to Miller and beyond a chance to have a seat at Randolph or Van Buren instead of waiting for the local passengers to get off. The only time savings I see is unloading time - which isn't much at the high platform stations.

The focus of my trip today was to see the last 215 before 115 run. I caught 215 running on Track 2 as it entered Hegewisch (not Track 1 as usual for Eastbounds). I also managed to see it leave Hammond's Track 1. I saw it make the Track 1 flag stop at Clark Rd and Gary Metro last week and watched 115 on Track 2 leave and the CP signal run though all of it's through train iterations (STOP - Restricting - Approach - Approach Diverging) with 215's presence keeping the signal lit. I assume that next week with 215 following 115 it will become a Track 2 train and run through the add track like the rest of the trains that turn at Gary.
  by dinwitty
 
I used to trainwatch years ago as a kid at Waterloo, Indiana back when it was still NYC. One passenger train would stop there, but another without a stop would just fly right on thru. We are sitting at the station and there it goes, like 70mph not 15-20 feet away...WHOOSH! Same with the freight trains, no slowing, but its a hot spot because of the crossovers there with trains switching tracks for CTC movements.

I would think the 25mph past the stations is a safety measure, but I don't think that woulda happened on the North Shore!, not with an Electroliner! I think a lot of rules, laws have slowed down the South Shore Schedulingwise. No wonder they are talking about high speed trains.
  by jb9152
 
justalurker66 wrote:I believe I saw your train at Portage/Ogden Dunes. I was following 20 and watching the signals change behind it. (I still have not quite figured out intermediates. Some fall to yellow before the train passes the next signal - some don't.)
If you give me the signal numbers, I could probably find out why that is at certain locations.
  by vxla
 
dinwitty wrote:I used to trainwatch years ago as a kid at Waterloo, Indiana back when it was still NYC. One passenger train would stop there, but another without a stop would just fly right on thru. We are sitting at the station and there it goes, like 70mph not 15-20 feet away...WHOOSH!
Trains on the UP-N line still express by stations rather quickly, but it's rare to see one at 70mph due to current construction. Having a train go by that fast (especially at a platform only 10-feet in depth) really sucks in the rain!
  by justalurker66
 
dinwitty wrote:I would think the 25mph past the stations is a safety measure, but I don't think that woulda happened on the North Shore!, not with an Electroliner! I think a lot of rules, laws have slowed down the South Shore Schedulingwise. No wonder they are talking about high speed trains.
It seems passengers were expected to be more responsible for themselves back in the day ... the idea of standing clear when an express passed was their responsibility. It isn't like being hit by a 25 MPH train is better than a 50 MPH train. But blowing people around on the platform might be a little uncomfortable. (One must watch the Mythbusters episode where they busted the myth of being sucked under a train by standing too close. The train blew people and objects around but it was more of a level of discomfort than danger.)

At the stations with gauntlet tracks the extra distance should be enough to allow faster passing. (In my opinion, of course.)
  by justalurker66
 
jb9152 wrote:
justalurker66 wrote:I believe I saw your train at Portage/Ogden Dunes. I was following 20 and watching the signals change behind it. (I still have not quite figured out intermediates. Some fall to yellow before the train passes the next signal - some don't.)
If you give me the signal numbers, I could probably find out why that is at certain locations.
The one I watched closest was the one in Miller at Clay St (557 EB, 558 WB). Watching 557 (the eastbound signal) as a westbound train passed the signal was dark with the segment unoccupied then displayed stop/restricting (red over red) as the train passed. It stayed red after the train passed for about a minute then changed to approach (yellow over red) and stayed approach until the train cleared the block (assuming at CP 57.5 EJ&E Interlocking). Watching 558 (the westbound signal) as an eastbound passed there was no approach phase. The signal displayed stop/restricting (red) until it went dark (with the train clearing the block at CP 54.0). I've also noted the use of approach at 491-1/491-2 and 492-1/492-2 behind an opposite bound train but I cannot say that is consistent.

My expectations on intermediates are that they are "dumb" signals that only reflect the condition of the track ahead to the next signal and the condition of the next signal. Do they also reflect the direction of travel authorized in that block? As a "dumb" signal falling to approach is what I would expect (based on the control point behind the train not being cleared in the opposite direction yet). But it appears that there is some logic I'm missing.

Signals for trains following seem to be logical ... but the signal for a train that passed and might stop and reverse are throwing me off.
  by F40CFan
 
justalurker66 wrote: It seems passengers were expected to be more responsible for themselves back in the day ... the idea of standing clear when an express passed was their responsibility.
Amen to that. Express trains on the MILW-West still fly through stations provided there isn't another train anywhere near.
  by JohnD1
 
F40CFan wrote:
justalurker66 wrote: It seems passengers were expected to be more responsible for themselves back in the day ... the idea of standing clear when an express passed was their responsibility.
Amen to that. Express trains on the MILW-West still fly through stations provided there isn't another train anywhere near.
And the BNSF deadheads roll through the stations at speed, regardless of the presence or absence of other trains. They do lean on the horns in those cases. But it still is interesting to be standing on the platform 5 or 6 feet from one of those locomotives.
  by F40CFan
 
That reminds me of when I was a kid and would go to the Gladstone Park station on the C&NW northwest line and watch Es and Fs fly through with their trains. Impressive.
  by eolesen
 
Expresses on the UP-NW line maintain speed thru stations (between 60 and 70, depending on the stretch) *unless* there's a train boarding/de-boarding and there is a pedestrian crossing at that location (which is just about every station outside the Chicago city limits except for Pingree Road). Then they'll stop until the other train is moving again. More often than not, the local trains will slow to let the express pass and avoid the meet.

Sad to see express trains going away on the South Shore. What was the rationale?
  by jb9152
 
eolesen wrote:Sad to see express trains going away on the South Shore. What was the rationale?
Ridership gains, that made the express/local schedule combinations necessary, were reversed and the railroad is looking to cut costs. Unfortunately, these trains were "low hanging fruit". The slots are there though, and once ridership comes back I would fully expect the railroad to dust off the express/local schedule and implement it.
  by F40CFan
 
Eliminating express trains can have a negative effect. People who travel from farther out locations favor express trains due to the lesser commute times. If local schedules add enough time to the commute, it starts to make driving an option. Especially for the increased flexibility it provides. Hopefully this won't happen.
  by justalurker66
 
eolesen wrote:Expresses on the UP-NW line maintain speed thru stations (between 60 and 70, depending on the stretch) *unless* there's a train boarding/de-boarding and there is a pedestrian crossing at that location (which is just about every station outside the Chicago city limits except for Pingree Road). Then they'll stop until the other train is moving again. More often than not, the local trains will slow to let the express pass and avoid the meet.
Even on the old schedule there were very few trains that skipped stops to run express on the South Shore. The flag stops at Beverly Shores and Gary Airport were skipped more than any other stations (6 of 28 skipping Beverly Shores and 9 of 39 skipping Gary Airport in the entire day, WB and EB totaled). Hegewich, Hammond and East Chicago had one WB and three EB run express per day (of 19 WB and 20 EB). Gary Metro 2 WB 1 EB skips. Miller 2 WB skips, Ogden Dunes 2 WB 1 EB skips. Dune Park 1 WB skips. MC 11th St 2 WB skips. With the majority of trains stopping and only five limited stop/express trains of 39 people on or near the platforms expected trains to stop (unless they were freights).
F40CFan wrote:Eliminating express trains can have a negative effect. People who travel from farther out locations favor express trains due to the lesser commute times. If local schedules add enough time to the commute, it starts to make driving an option. Especially for the increased flexibility it provides. Hopefully this won't happen.
In this case I don't believe it will hurt. The expresses were not that much faster. The Hotshot Tadman rode was scheduled to run from Millennium Station to Miller (the first scheduled stop) in 64 minutes. The all stop train 30 minutes later made the run in 69 minutes. Both ran under rules allowing departure up to four minutes early after passengers were discharged. The full run Millennium Station to South Bend on the Hotshot "11" was 149 minutes. The next peak train to South Bend took 153 minutes. I don't believe the extra few minutes will make a difference.

It may make a difference as to when a customer gets a seat on the train. Eliminating the customers only going 19-31 miles gave those going 45-90 miles a chance to have a seat the whole way instead of standing for the first 40-50 minutes of the trip. But with ridership down there are more seats available. So that too is probably not a problem for now.