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
This morning I arrived downtown on a red train, and as usual, the roll signs went haywire. It rolled to a "midway" designation with a brown background, not orange. Is this a sign that CTA plans to through-route the two some day?
  by Chicagopcclcars
This through routing has long been rumored. It has already happened on occasions when there was certain work being done in the Loop and the two routes were combined for efficiency. The Christmas Train sometimes does this through routing, turning at Tower 18 at Lake and Wells, and going straight at Tower 12 at Van Buren and Wabash.

David Harrison
  by Passenger
Tadman wrote:This morning I arrived downtown on a red train, and as usual, the roll signs went haywire. It rolled to a "midway" designation with a brown background, not orange. Is this a sign that CTA plans to through-route the two some day?
Planning it? Or just keeping their options open?
  by buddah
Very interesting sighting Tadman, I also heard of this type of rumors a decade ago, and pretty much left it at that, a no holds water rumor. However with the brown line now accommodating 8 car trains and longer late night hours I could actually visualize a possible 24 hr run for A combined orange/brown line train. Just my far out thinking here ( example hours) orange and brown lines keep there current routes during the hours of 5 am to 11 pm, and during 11 pm to 5 am run a straight through train from Midway to Kimball. giving the "L" three 24 hr routes.
  by sipes23
buddah wrote:giving the "L" three 24 hr routes.
Which would cover the majority of the system. That—were it to happen—would be astonishing.
  by justalurker66
How old are the roll signs?

Midway closes down at night ... is there anything else out that way that needs after 1am service? It might be nice if a flight was late.
Everyone: Midway-Ravenswood through route?
I say "Why Not?"

I wondered why the CTA did not consider through-routing Ravenswood trains to the Midway line when it opened in the 90s...

Was it because it would not serve the entire Loop L as both routes do now?

I recall that the Lake-Dan Ryan and Howard-Englewood/Jackson Park routes were a big mismatch of ridership...before the route changes were made. Do the Midway and Ravenswood routes have similar ridership and would a match like this work?

Some CTA thoughts from MACTRAXX...
  by orulz
The problem I see with this idea is that if brown/orange were through-routed, there would no longer be any trains that proceed around the northwest corner of the loop, going directly from Washington/Wells to Clark/Lake or vice versa. Somebody trying to move from one of those stations to the other would instead have to board a pink/purple line train and go the long way around. Is that a show stopper? No, I don't think so, but it does make some trips less convenient.
  by justalurker66
Currently the brown and orange share the loop with one running clockwise and the other running counter clockwise. A through route could continue to go around the whole loop losing one of the directions - although that might be confusing and the concept of a train running point to point would be lost (when one rides a train in to the loop and gets off at a station one expects to board a train at that station to get back home).

Perhaps running a loop circulator in whatever direction is lost would help? (ie: Run the brown-orange counter-clockwise and a new loop line clockwise to circulate passengers around the loop.)
JL: I recall when the CTA operated the LOOP SHUTTLE back in the 70s...

A two-car train that was signed "Loop-All Stations" continuously circled the Loop clockwise on weekdays via the inner track.
I believe it was a Ravenswood-based train and crew...

Does anyone know when the CTA discontinued this service?
It may be time to consider bringing it back if there is ever a Ravenswood-Midway through routing...

  by doepack
At this point, the two routes are imbalanced as far as ridership goes (tilted in favor of Brown), so I don't think a Brown-Orange through routing would make much sense right now. But if it ever did happen, bringing back the Loop shuttle would be a good idea, although it may have to be an outer-loop operation in its next life, assuming you'd be running the Brown-Orange line via the Lake and Wabash segments of the Loop...
Everyone: More 70s era thoughts that come to mind was that the Van Buren and Wells Street (S&W) sections of the Loop were once closed on weekends and there was no thru service to the Loop on the Ravenswood Line on weekends-back then it was a Belmont-Kimball shuttle only...and only the Lake/Dan Ryan trains served the Loop on weekends
on the N&E sections over Lake and Wabash Streets...

More CTA weekend thoughts: The Evanston Line was a shuttle between Howard and Linden and the Skokie Swift was closed for example on Sundays...

I now see that things have changed considerably for CTA riders on weekends...and I should have mentioned the best possible source for CTA history on the Internet:

Thanks to looking in the Loop Elevated section I found these Loop Shuttle dates: Service began on September 30,1969 and was discontinued on September 30,1977...
It ran for just eight years...I was a teenager when the service ended...

Thoughts from MACTRAXX
  by orangeline
A year or so ago I was downtown during late AM rush and noted an elevated train making the turn from Van Buren south onto Wabash. It had the orange Midway destination sign. Doesn't CTA already have 1-2 Brown Line trains/weekday that run from Kimball to the west and south Loop and then continue as an Orange Line to the airport? I don't know if such service (if it exists) returns from MDW to Kimball in the PM rush.
  by orangeline
More than 8 1/2 years after my original reply to the original post on this subject I have the following observations and a few questions.

Yesterday I was downtown walking along Wells St between the Quincy and Washington/Wells stations when I looked up and saw 2 trains, both marked Midway, passing each other. It was shortly before 8:50 am. I recalled that several Orange line trains originating at Midway become Brown line trains between Roosevelt and Adams/Wabash and several Brown line trains become Orange line trains after leaving State/Van Buren.

Out of curiosity, I looked up schedules for both lines and noticed that the Orange to Brown change occurs no later than 7:09 am while the Brown to Orange change happens no later than 8:54 am. The timing is such that it appears to me the Orange to Brown trains reach Kimball and then about 15 minutes later leave as Brown to return to Midway as Orange. There are 6 such trains each way Monday - Friday.

1. Is my assessment of the timing correct?
2. Why does CTA do this and only on weekday mornings?
3. Would there be any advantage to, say, instead extend Purple line Express trains (6 cars instead of 8) from the Loop to Midway in the am and pm?
  by justalurker66
It appears that there are six Brown Line trains that originate at Adams and run to Kimball each morning, followed by six trains that originate at Kimball and end at Harold Washington Library. The Adams originating trains are at 6:23a, 6:33a, 6:43a, 6:53a, 7:06a and 7:13a. Trains terminate at Harold Washington Library at 8:02a, 8:14a, 8:25a, 8:34a, 8:43a and 8:53a. There is one weekday late night train that turns at Belmont and runs Kimball-Belmont-Kimball instead of running to the loop (1:30a-1:45a then 1:53a-2:08a on the return).

I don't see anything except Midway to Midway runs on the Orange Line. I do not know where they are getting the train sets to run Adams-Kimball-Harold Washington for the six extra trains.