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 lstone19
I've only been a regular Metra commuter for a little over four years so since the day the bar (I mean refreshment) cars turned their last mile (at least as bar cars, I know the cars are still in service as regular cars). I've seen lots of mention of which MD-N trains had them but little about the MD-W other than that the 5:17 (2237) had one. I assume the 4:50 (2231) had one as the third car from the rear is still the party car. Anyone have a list of which other MD-W trains had the bar cars?
  by doepack
According to one of the schedules in my collection (effective 4/27/86, the first actual Metra MDW issue), inbound train 2212 and outbound trains 2229, (4:55 dep), 2237 (5:22 dep), and 2245 (7:50) carried refreshment cars. All trains carried them daily except 2245, which was a Thursday/Friday operation only.

The second oldest MDW schedule in my collection, with an effective date of 10/12/87, shows no refreshment cars. Because there were two other schedules issued prior to this one which I don't have, this may or may not have been the first schedule where they were officially discontinued. Therefore, circa late '86 or early '87 are also possibilities, but definitely gone by October of 1987...
  by Milwaukee_F40C
Metra was definitely running some cars with refreshment stands in the vestibules until the 2000s. I think there was a thread or post about their discontinuance. Some commuters now running unofficial daily drink specials.
  by EricL
agreed .. there was a previous thread about this, at some point.

I rode the RID five or six days a week 2004-05ish and then the MDW at the same frequency from fall 2005 to mid 2006. I definitely recall that the bilevel bar vestibules were still a thing. The decommissioning was not all-at-once, IIRC: I remember the bar man going away on RI, but then was still on on Milwaukee. I dare say that the fellow I saw later on looked quite the same as the previous one I remembered - but that might just be coincidence or faulty memory. But then, too, the service was pulled from the Milwaukee as well, in pretty short order.
  by lstone19
Web searches turn up plenty to say the end of the bar cars was in August 2008. From http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2008 ... d-railroad" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; (which deals with Metra despite having LIRR in the URL),
Every weekday at 5:17 p.m., the bar car on Metra's Milwaukee District West line becomes the place where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came.
There are 10 trains with bar cars running on Metra's Rock Island and Milwaukee District West and North lines. There were more refreshment cars years ago, but Metra has been phasing them out as contracts with vendors expired. The last contract runs out this week.
I'm really interested in knowing which MD-W trains had them at the end. With just ten trains between three lines, I'd guess probably just three were on the MD-W. That the 4:50 (2231) still has it's de-facto party car where the bar car was says it was one and that article mentions the 5:17 (2237) so that's two. Were there any others on the MD-W is all I'm hoping to know.
  by doepack
So it's clear that the bar/refreshment cars on MDW ran "officially" up until 2008, according to the article. What puzzles me is that on those select trains, why was the designation removed from the schedule long before that...