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 doepack
I've always wondered why the Burlington is only assigned two mains between CUS and Union Ave, especially when there is available capacity for more traffic. In addition to the two mains curving west just south of the Roosevelt Rd overpass, there is a third track to the south, that connects BNSF's MT3 at the Union Ave 'B' plant with MT3 running out of CUS, and is actually the north leg of the Amtrak wye, used primarily to reverse the lite engine moves between CUS and Amtrak's 16th St. diesel shop. It would seem feasible to use this connector for Metra traffic during rush hours, although whether or not it's fit for passenger train standards right now would obviously have to be considered (I think it is, but I'm not sure). But even it isn't, an upgrade shouldn't be that big of a deal for a stretch of track that isn't more than a 1000' long, while the benefits would include the elimination of many Union Ave switching movements, streamlining operations in the process. This would be especially true in the evening, since all outbound traffic arrives on track 1, and many express trains currently have to cross 1-2 at Union Ave to pick its center track assignment.

In other words, instead of reducing capacity about a mile short of the terminal, you'd just be extending BNSF's peak direction tracks all the way into CUS, which should be a no-brainer anyway. Besides, I hate to see unused capacity go to waste, especially when it could serve other, more productive purposes...