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 Otto Vondrak
When I went to check out Wikipedia for info on the Heritage Corridor, it doesn't tell me much at all.


Who was operating this service before Metra took over? Was this a new service Metra started? Details, please...

Last edited by Otto Vondrak on Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by JamesT4
Before Metra took over the HC is was operated by the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.

Metra took over the line in 1987, the same year when they took direct control of the ICG Electric(Metra Electric) lines.
Last edited by JamesT4 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 4:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

  by doepack
In pre-Metra days, commuter rail service was originally provided by the Chicago & Alton. In 1964, the C&A was acquired by the Gulf, Moblie and Ohio, which itself was acquired by the Illinois Central, and became the Illinois Central Gulf in 1972. All three roads operated just one commuter train in each direction on weekdays only, eastbound (to Chicago) in the morning, and westbound in the afternoon. In the 70's, the GM&O/ICG commuter equipment consisted of an E unit plus three or four heavyweight steam-heated coaches that had been originally used by the various predecessor roads in intercity passenger service until their displacement by the 1971 creation of Amtrak. This equipment was then used under ICG ownership for the rest of the decade, until it was finally upgraded to the newer gallery bi-levels in 1978 by the RTA.

Today, the line is owned and operated by Canadian National, and is known as the Joliet subdivision. Metra continues to operate commuter service on this line via a trackage rights agreement with CN, and has added two addtional daily round trips, bringing to the total to three. Long-term plans call for an eventual expansion to a full-service Metra line, but of course, that's going to take time, and money...

  by Tadman
Locals used to call this train the "Plug". It was never a very high-class affair. The high-water mark for the service is very clearly August 29, 2006 - in other words, it's a work in progress, although a nice one. Most pics I've seen of this train in the 1970's show a beat-on GM&O F3 and two heavyweight coaches that had seen their better day, by quite some time. IC always kept their electric service in quite good repair - although I understand they didn't want invest much on a loosing proposition, I'm surprised they never put an ICG-liveried unit on the point and repainted the 2-3 coaches used. Now the ride is exceptionally fast after Brighton Park, and there's three trains per day. Each train only stops about five times, so there's also prolonged hi-speed running on what must be about 40 or 50 miles of route. Also you might want to quiz Gil Norman about what he knows - he worked in the same station the plug has used for years, and it goes fairly close to his current suburb (does not stop). Not sure if he lived there in MILW days.
Last edited by Tadman on Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by Tadman
Some pics of the Plug, and Metra HC service:
Plug http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=90034
HC http://www.drgw.net/~f40c/locos/117a.jpg

Also worth noting the HC line runs along the "L" orange line for a few miles.

Finally, if you make it to chicago, Joliet is always worth an hour or two at rush hour. Bring a camera, the Rock Island district also terminates there and makes for some great sunset shots.

  by Otto Vondrak
AH HA! I had guessed that perhaps ICG sold them this line with the electric in 1987. When did Metra name it "Heritage Corridor?"


  by Otto Vondrak
Wow, this actually answers a couple of questions. So this is "that train" that you always see pictures of leaving Union Station. Must have been a fan favorite!

If RTA came to the rescue in 1978 with newer equipment, that would have made the F3's and coaches surplus for ICG.

In 1979, MBTA purchased the rebuilt F3's for use on the Boston commuter lines. The units emerged as F10's from ICG's Paducah Shops ("Paduchabilt").

Also at the same time, I think a former member of ICG management moved to Boston to help run the MBTA. Which would probably explain the idea for bringing the F3's to Boston.


  by metraRI
I have a HC timetable dated September 7, 1986... so I'm guessing when RTA/Metra took control of operations the name Heritage Corridor was given to the line. Which was probably in 1978 as thats when the "new" equipment was put into use.

  by byte
It's called the Heritage Corridor because it parallels the Illinois & Michigan canal, the first man-made transportation infrastructure into Chicago. I think it's a state park through it's 90+ mile entirety.

  by Tadman
HC still strikes me as a silly name. Most lines are named after their respective legacy road, except the IC lines - electric and heritage. I think one should have been metra IC district, and the other should have been metra alton district. I can understand not naming the WC district after WC or CN, as nobody rode the line in legacy years as a commuter (it was Soo back then)

  by c604.
I'm pretty sure the timetable color for the HC is called "Alton Maroon."

  by Otto Vondrak
Maybe they dont want to remind riders of the days of The Plug.


  by Tadman
that could be a very true response - everything I see gave the impression of a low-budget operation