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 mgbcab
I work for a commuter RR in the Northeast. I have been tasked to find a better way of installing our mainline turnouts. Does anyone have any knowledge of the process for Chicago based railroads? How many days, contionuous outages or just weekend? Panels or build in place?
  by doepack
UP will be constructing two new interlockings on the UP/W line, one of which is just about done. All four crossovers for the new Lombard plant are in, and they appeared to be from scratch; with the rails, ties, plates, and switch frogs all assembled on-site into a total of eight turnouts. As background info, in Lombard, UP/W is a triple-track ROW, mains 1, 2, and 3 are numbered north to south, with Metra using mains 1 and 3 generally. Until completion, I didn't know the order in which the crossovers were to be built, but in hindsight there seemed to be three distinct phases, to wit:

Phase 1: Installation of two turnouts on track 3, one at each end of the plant.

Phase 2: Installation of two turnouts on track 1, again, one at each end.

Phase 3: Installation of four turnouts on the center track (2), to match up with the two turnouts each on tracks 1 & 3.

At each location of the eight turnouts, the existing track, ties, and ballast were removed to make way for the new switches, then re-ballasted after installation. As far as track outages, there was never any continuous outage for any track; much of the work was done during midday and on weekends, but the window never seemed longer than 8 hours or so, which is part of the reason this project took several months to complete. And any time tracks 1 or 3 were affected, Metra service was shifted to the center track, which caused minor delays since they have to load/unload at the nearest street crossing to the station due to no center track platforms...
  by mgbcab
Thanks for the info. We are trying to do things more "efficiently". So normally we do it over 4 weekends where the track is out the whole weekend but then it goes back Monday morning for the rush. We have since looked at 3 weeks where the track stays out of service the whole time. This has cut our costs down by about 15%. The next task is to find a better way, is there a better way and should we go look at other RR's?. We have 3rd rail and catenary in most of our territories so that always complicates the installation. We have mostly 4 tracks, all the way down to single track. Operations does not like to give up much so it tends to be a uphill struggle for MofW.