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 lstone19
erie910 wrote: Fourth, is there any consideration given to running more trains into and out of LaSalle St.? Can the station handle more trains during rush hours? If there are any more trains considered, to where will they go, and how easy will it be to run them into LaSalle instead of Union Station; I assume that Millennium Station can handle all that it now handles and possibly more, and that connecting to the IC electric/South Shore line would not be easy.
There has been a plan for some time that I believe is now starting to move forward to reroute Southwest Service trains to La Salle St. It will involved building a new connection around 74th St. where the two lines are closest.
Fifth, before the flyover (63rd St.?) was constructed, how were Rock trains routed through this area?
Across the ex-PRR on diamonds pretty much directly below the current flyover (I believe the flyover is just slightly east of the old alignment since the old tracks needed to operate during construction but for all practical purposes, it is the same route horizontally, just changed vertically).
Seventh, I saw two MARC coaches in Burr Oak Yard. Any ideas as to their purpose?
Probably ex-Metra cars being returned to Metra for return to Metra service. Metra needs more cars.
It is curious that there is no whistle-blowing for most road crossings. Apparently, the FRA loosened its requirements for allowing quiet zones.
There have been lots of quiet zones in the Chicago area for years. I believe requirements have actually been tightened for new quiet zones with the old ones grandfathered.
  by doepack
erie910 wrote:Third, right around 40th St., there's a wye. There formerly was an east-west track coming out the center of the wye, but which is no longer used, and the bridge over the RI has been removed. What railroad was this, and to where did this east-west track go to the east?
The wye at 40th St. are the leads to what was once the Chicago Junction Railway. It operated between the IC lakefront line and the stockyards, with the wye connection at 40th St. with the NYC and/or the Rock. I'll inform some and remind others that historically, the NYC and the Rock used the same ROW between LaSalle St. and Englewood, but I don't remember if both roads connected to the CJ at 40th via a universal connection on either the north or south legs of the wye (I have a book or magazine article that lays this out in great detail, I'll see if I can dig it up as a refresher). Nowadays, I think NS and/or Chicago Rail Link operate the other leftover remnants of the CJ on the SE side of the city.

As a side note, CTA's Green line has a short E-W segment that runs along the south portion of the old CJ ROW on 40th St. between Wabash and Prairie Ave.
erie910 wrote:Sixth, no doubt, the closeness of stations on the Beverly Sub preceded Metra. Has Metra ever planned to eliminate some of these stations? At most, this would mean an 8-block walk for some riders, which still seems to be less distance than between some L stations.
Most of the stations in this corridor are located in either Beverly or Morgan Park, which is home to many influential aldermen, lawyers, and bigwigs that work at City Hall. I recall reading awhile back that when the Rock placed a few of these stations on the chopping block during their cost cutting purge of the 60's and 70's, they met much resistance from the powers that be (or the powers that were at the time). Knowing too well this city's well-earned reputation with politics done with a wink and nod plus some greasing of palms on the side, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some kind of deal involved. Can't say for sure of course, but as I understand it, the Rock didn't put up much of a fight, and just left it alone. But I'm curious to know more of the story myself.

I haven't heard of Metra rekindling the movement to close some Beverly branch stations, they just seem to be satisfied enough to let the ticket agent jobs die via attrition. 103rd St. is, I believe, the last branch station to currently staff an agent. Once that person eventually retires or is reassigned, there will be no more staffed stations on the branch. But the stations themselves will remain, they aren't going anywhere...
erie910 wrote:Ninth, the Beverly Sub connecting train that I caught at Blue Island blocked the Grove Street road crossing for at least six minutes, and likely longer. Is this a common practice, and don't the locals object?
Even for a connecting train, a dwell time of that length is likely an exception and not the norm. Many possibilities, such as door problems, signal problems, engineer copying a directive, a wheelchair lift in use, etc. could be at work here...
  by erie910
My next METRA travel plan is to ride the electric line to University Park, 95th St., & Blue Island. This, of course, will require some doubling back. A common station among all 3 lines is Kensington. Does this station have a ticket office? Is it a relatively safe place to wait during the day for a train?

  by lstone19
erie910 wrote:My next METRA travel plan is to ride the electric line to University Park, 95th St., & Blue Island. This, of course, will require some doubling back. A common station among all 3 lines is Kensington. Does this station have a ticket office? Is it a relatively safe place to wait during the day for a train?
South Chicago branch trains do not go through Kensington. The last main line station for them is 63rd St. I believe all Metra Electric stations have ticket machines. And there is also the Ventura app for purchasing tickets you can display on your phone.
  by justalurker66
Keep an eye on the schedules for the Blue Island branch. If I were attempting to run all three legs I'd probably build the schedule around the Blue Island link.

Kensington should be fine during daylight hours. I have gone there to watch trains go by (including NICTD South Shore trains entering Metra territory).
  by erie910
Thanks for the information. I have an RTA reduced fare card. Can those tickets be purchased through vending machines? I'd probably change from returning from South Chicago at 59th St., which isn't a flag stop.
  by justalurker66
"Metra Electric customers: The credit card vending machines sell only full fare tickets. RTA Reduced Fare Permit-holders who purchase tickets can receive a rate adjustment at one of the downtown station ticket windows."
https://metrarail.com/riding-metra/riding-metra-faqs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;