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 MetraBNSF
When I rode out of Union Station yesterday afternoon, there was one lone 7-car trainset remaining at 14th St. 182 was the engine, there were several 700 series cars in the consist, and an 8500 was at the rear. This cannot be a BNSF set, as the last set out of 14th St. is the 11-car set that does the 5:44 Naperville express. How many sets does SWS have now since the service expansion?

  by metraRI
SWS has 5 sets, one which does sit in 14th Street until 6:00 or so. Because this set sits at 14th Street until 6, I don't know why Metra did not add a train leaving around 3:30, it isn't because lack of equipment.

Just for the heck of it...here are the assignments:

Set #1 (8 Cars - 179th Street): Train #'s 802, 803, 812, 819, 834, 827, 838, 837, 842, 841
Set #2 (7 Cars - 179th Street): Train #'s 804, 805, 818, 811, 826, 831
Set #3 (8 Cars- Manhattan): Train #'s 806, 825
Set #4 (9 Cars - 179th Street): Train #'s 808, 815, 830, 823, 836, 833, 840, 839
Set #5 (7 Cars - Manhattan): 810, 807, 822, 829

  by doepack
Do they cut some of those cars for the later evening runs, or do those sets stay intact throught the day? I know ridership is up since the expanded service came online, but I don't think 8 or 9 car trains are necessary after 9pm or so...

  by metraRI
SWS does not cut cars like other lines. Majority of Inbound afternoon trains only use one car. As for outbound trains: 831 uses 4 of 7, 833 uses 3 of 9, 837 uses 2 of 8, 839 and 841 have a single car open.

  by doepack
Assigning switchmen to cut cars at 179th might not be practical from a cost standpoint, since its a small yard, but I still think it could be at least theoretically possible for switchmen at CUS to cut longer trains into smaller consists during the midday off-peak hours, then re-attach the cars in time for the afternoon rush, as is done elsewhere on the system. To make it work though, SWS would have to have a few more cab cars assigned there, and there could indeed be enough cabs to go around if Metra wasn't so insistent on running a five-car NCS train with two extra cabs in the consist...

  by AMTK84
If the most these trains use is 4 out of 7 and 3 out of 9 cars, why on earth do they drag around the extra equipment? That is equipment thatt is not being used and could be dammaged if the train were to derail badly enough.

Why not run 5 or 6-car trains? You could have an extra car or two if the crowds start to build.

  by metraRI
Outbound rush hour trains 823, 825, 827, and 829 do use all cars...off-peak service is where unneeded cars are pulled to the trip downtown and back. The way 179th Street Yard is set up might play a role in why cars are not cut from trains.

  by MetraF40C607
Hehe, ya, but from a fans standpoint, catching the doubleheader with a good engineer when they have the back three open is quite nice. Hit the platform at about 50MPH and still have change to spare.

  by bones
One reason we don't cut is because we don't have enough time for that. Besides, making cuts has always been a big pain in the ass, it's not worth the time or trouble. Not only that but we already have waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time in the schedule as it is. If I make a cut, now I have to drag my feet even more than already.

As for running the double header, on trains 833 and 839 I will hit the platforms at Worth and Palos Park at about 50 or 60 mph.

  by doepack
I know Metra padded the schedules on SWS to compensate for possible freight delays, but I didn't realize it was that bad, especially on the outbound side. Perhaps when the new Laraway Rd. station opens this summer it's possible the schedules might be tweaked with more accurate running times. Possible, but unlikely...

  by MetraF40C607
Not even the outbound runs. The inbound evening runs are horrible! If there's a mile between stations, Palos Park and Palos Heights, they give ya four minutes. You haven't even encountered any freight problems yet, and you're still draggin your ass! D Palos Park: 8:39P.M. D Palos Heights: 8:43P.M. WAY to much time in there.

  by metraRI
As bones and John said SWS's off-peak schedule gives too much time. During rush hours, I think the timing is a lot better, except for #829 which likes to run 5 or so minutes early. A good 5 minutes could be cut from each off-peak train.