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 PT
Any news on expansions to Valpo?
  by KHP
I read about two possible routes. One would continue the proposed extension to Munster, the other would be a straight shot down 49 from Porter. The second would be easy to implement, and wouldn't be contingent on the Munster extension, so maybe it will actually happen soon.

  by Raakone
Is Valpo the same as Valpraiso? If so, then in effect a commuter service would be ressurected....albeit electrified, and a different station on the Chicago side.


  by Raakone
And another thing.....would this mean that the South Shore service would split into two routes? *curious*


  by MikeF
Yes, "Valpo" is a nickname for Valparaiso, Ind. And yes, the proposed Valpo line would be a branch off the existing NICTD mainline.

  by Irish Chieftain
Funny how the Amtrak service between Chicago and Valaparaiso was killed, despite it doing well...
  by PRRGuy
Being that I live in the area, It seems that NICTD bought up the old Monon main between where stateline tower was and Munster,In...up to the GTW line, I heard that they plan to use that line to get to valpo, then extend to lowell later on, going straight down the monon..but doesnt amtrak use that line for the Hoosier State/ Cardinal?

  by PRRGuy
Also, I heard this from a friend of mine that works for NICTD...he says that the lines to Valpo and Lowell are most likely going to be run as a separate company but owned by NICTD.

  by AmtrakFan
Irish Chieftain wrote:Funny how the Amtrak service between Chicago and Valaparaiso was killed, despite it doing well...
Then why was it killed?


  by Irish Chieftain
Congress didn't want to keep funding it. The spirit of wanting Amtrak to put revenues in front of serving passengers was rearing its ugly head around that time...

  by Raakone
I didn't know the service was Amtrak...I just heard it used Amtrak rolling stock, especially towards the end, but I read somewhere that Conrail ran it...and it was the last pax service run by Conrail (the 1983 law that let Conrail "get out" only referred to the NEC and area around it)


  by PRRGuy
Conrail did run it..from 1976 to 1983 after that Amtrak took it over until the end.
  by edkyle99
There's a story today (10/31/04) in the Chicago Tribune Transportation section about studies for the extension. The project is known as the "West Lake Project". A study of the first phase, which involves the addition of a branch from Kensington to Hammond and then south to Munster, is expected to begin next year. A second study of extensions to Valpo and to Lowell, splitting at Maynard apparently, will begin late next year. One estimate says that the project could cost $340 million to complete.

I'm wondering why they're looking at the so-called "light rail" option in favor of simply running conventional commuter trains on existing tracks. Surely it would be cheaper to startup with a few F40 rebuilds and some used Metra coaches. Not to mention that South Shore is often shut down by ice, etc., while Metra keeps running.

- Ed Kyle

  by Scotty Burkhardt
i dont think that ex-metra cars would work because of several problems. first off theres the problem of size. the pullman bilevels are huge cars plus theres the problem of reverse moves to the city, the cabs would have to be rebuilt or at least updated to conform to federal standards. theres also a problem of where the trainsets would go. they almost have to go into nictd's terminal now because union station is full and theres no real way to get them to lasalle. that being said we have the problem of fumes from a diesel locomotive because randolph street isnt vented. wires to valpo is a waste of money and new equitment has to be bought one way or another...

scotty says....

a modified DE30AC with pantagraph and Kawasaki bilevels

  by Nasadowsk
If you'd like the LIRR's DM-30s, please TAKE THEM!!!!!

I don't think any piece of equipment on the LIRR is hated by commuters more than the DM-30s.

Well, because they don't work. And they're lousy diesels too - noisy, slow as heck, can't pull a long train. Nothing's more fun than finding your morning train's cancelled at Jamacia and having to pack into an already overstuffed Babylon or Ronkonkoma train. It's even more fun when the locomotive decides to torch itself, or break down altogether some other way.

Ask any LIRR rider (as opposed to railfan), and they'll tell you that the DM-30s suck.

Light rail? Well, it's cheaper to run than commuter rail because there's no FRA involved.....