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Busy Bee May 17, 2018 4:29 AM

Those tracks aren't busy enough to be tied up by a handful of deadheading trains. We're no Tokyo.

ardecila May 17, 2018 4:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8190798)
Those tracks aren't busy enough to be tied up by a handful of deadheading trains. We're no Tokyo.

There are only two tracks crossing the river at Canal Street. That bridge will become a bottleneck if you have to deadhead every single BNSF train across it during rush hours, sending them to a new yard at 35th St while inbound SWS and HC trains are trying to get into the station. Not to mention the St Louis trains that also use that bridge.

Mr Downtown May 17, 2018 1:31 PM

^Not just St. Louis trains. Every Amtrak train to or from Michigan or the East Coast uses that bridge. And yard moves use it, too, going south a few blocks and then back to reposition trains onto the proper track for servicing.

orulz May 18, 2018 5:03 PM

How much of those yards are Amtrak and how much are Metra?

With functional through tracks at Union Station you wouldn't need as much storage so close. Every BNSF train could run through onto MD lines, and vice versa, meaning no more Metra storage needed in the West Loop.

All inbound BNSF trains could continue through to the existing Western Avenue station on the MD lines, stopping at a new Fulton Market station along the way. Some would terminate and turn there, or lay over at Western Avenue yard, while others could continue out to the end of the line.

In the opposite direction, all MD/NCS trains could continue through to Western Ave on the BNSF, stopping along the way at Halsted and a new station near Paulina for a transfer to the Pink line or a walk to Illinois Medical District. Again, some trains could terminate/lay over, while others could continue on to the end of the line.

This would benefit riders, because you both wind up increasing off peak frequency on the in-town portions of these Metra lines, and because in both cases you wind up serving a significant and growing job cluster (Fulton Market and Illinois Medical).

Anyway, this wouldn't move Amtrak, but it does move Metra. I would not, however, recommend using this land for a baseball stadium. Having office and residential development in this area would be way more valuable.

Mr Downtown May 19, 2018 2:29 PM

Roughly 55 percent Amtrak (which extends further south) and 45 percent BNSF (not Metra). You can easily distinguish in an aerial because Amtrak has fresher lighter ballast.

There are only two through-running tracks at Union Station, and they're not well positioned for heavy passenger loading. Can't add more unless you demolish 222 South Riverside. It simply wouldn't be possible to load all the people who show up for BNSF trains in the afternoon rush. BNSF alone has 12 trains departing between 5 and 6 pm, and a similar number depart on the two Milwaukee districts.

ChickeNES May 21, 2018 2:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 8193422)
demolish 222 South Riverside.

Sounds good to me! :nyancat:

orulz May 21, 2018 3:05 AM

Yes. I don't see any way to modernize Metra without tearing down 222 to add more run through tracks. Of course the downside is demolishing 1 million square feet of perfectly serviceable office space. And of course the owners just dropped $40 million on some updates.

But there is upside potential of building an even larger (2~3 million square feet?) and more modern building in its place, given that this would be pretty much the best location in town: literally right on top of Metra and also on the river. And even given all the cost, this would probably be 1/4 the cost of building the underground West Loop Transportation Center.

left of center May 30, 2018 12:22 AM

Isn't there any way to alter the foundation of 222 Riverside in order to squeeze in more tracks? It stands to reason that reinforcing and altering the foundation would be cheaper than full scale demolition, right?

ardecila May 30, 2018 3:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 8203788)
Isn't there any way to alter the foundation of 222 Riverside in order to squeeze in more tracks? It stands to reason that reinforcing and altering the foundation would be cheaper than full scale demolition, right?

Cheaper, probably. But in practice, the city and Amtrak would probably want to do this with Other People's Money - get a developer to cover the cost of this work. The best way to do that is to authorize additional FAR so that the developer can make a profit off of his trouble - that means tearing down the building and starting from scratch. The current building is about 1 million SF, but it could go up to 1.5MSF or even 2MSF like One Vanderbilt in NYC.

Ideally the new building would provide plenty of open space beneath, like Citigroup Center or (kind of) 150 N Riverside, and sit on a slender foundation so that a proper column-free concourse, and at least six through tracks, can be built beneath.

k1052 Jun 6, 2018 12:43 PM

Finally a bit of good CREATE news regarding the 75th Street CIP:


Quote:

The federal government has awarded a long-awaited $132 million grant to help pay for a project that aims to clear up rail congestion around 75th Street, cutting delays for Metra, Amtrak and freight railroads.

The $474 million 75th Street improvement project would eliminate the choke point at Chicago’s Belt Junction, near 75th Street and Racine Avenue, where more than 80 Metra and freight trains cross each other’s paths daily.

Located near the Dan Ryan Expressway, the project is intended to cut train backups at three rail junctions and one rail-roadway crossing. It includes a new CSX Railroad flyover bridge to eliminate intersections with other tracks, a 71st Street underpass just east of Western Avenue to reduce motorist delays, and new tracks and crossovers at belt railroads, where trains currently travel as slow as 10 mph, according to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...605-story.html

the urban politician Jun 6, 2018 1:55 PM

The more money that is spent on the CREATE project the better. It will continue to tighten Chicago’s grip on the nation’s freight rail system, since the cost of such infrastructure continues to go up and up

ardecila Jun 6, 2018 2:37 PM

That $474M total seemed low, so I checked into it...

This grant only covers a portion of the 75th St project. The total is supposed to be around $1B. The first phase will include a north-south flyover at roughly 75th/Oakley and a road underpass at 71st St, plus some unrelated rail work out in Bridgeview/Argo. The Metra SWS to Rock Island connection is notably not included in this first phase, although they will complete the engineering on that bit so it’s ready to start construction when funding becomes available.

It’s generally a good sign that the Feds are on board to fund Phase I, it’s the right size for them to take a bite and the remainder may be funded in a future round of grants.

k1052 Jun 6, 2018 2:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 8211565)
That $474M total seemed low, so I checked into it...

This grant only covers a portion of the 75th St project. The total is supposed to be around $1B. The first phase will include a north-south flyover at roughly 75th/Oakley and a road underpass at 71st St, plus some unrelated rail work out in Bridgeview/Argo. The Metra SWS to Rock Island connection is notably not included in this first phase, although they will complete the engineering on that bit so it’s ready to start construction when funding becomes available.

It’s generally a good sign that the Feds are on board to fund Phase I, it’s the right size for them to take a bite and the remainder may be funded in a future round of grants.

Yeah, I figured it didn't include the METRA flyover given the $ figure.

Sounds like Belt Junction will be rebuilt as well with more tracks and faster turnouts.

Fvn Jun 14, 2018 2:57 AM

Chicago taps Elon Musk’s Boring Company to build high-speed transit tunnels that would tie Loop with O'Hare
Quote:

Autonomous 16-passenger vehicles would zip back and forth at speeds exceeding 100 mph in tunnels between the Loop and O’Hare International Airport under a high-speed transit proposal being negotiated between Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s The Boring Co., city and company officials have confirmed.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...613-story.html

C. Jun 14, 2018 3:20 AM

^ This is really exciting news!!! Any detailed plans? How much will a trip from O'Hare to the Loop costs? How long will it take?

C. Jun 14, 2018 3:22 AM

Nvm. I should have read the article.

Busy Bee Jun 14, 2018 3:27 AM

How much will it cost and how long will it take are kind of if a tree falls in the woods kind of questions since it's never going to happen.

ardecila Jun 14, 2018 4:32 AM

^ Okay... the public investment here is literally zero, apart from what Daley already sunk into the Block 37 facility. Why not let Musk try? All the risk is on him.

As for feasibility... what Musk is proposing is essentially Deep Tunnel but with even smaller tunnels, so it's nothing that hasn't been done before. It sounds like this is a "dumb tunnel, smart vehicle" system so the concrete tunnel is pretty much all that needs to be built, plus the two station pits and a handful of ventilation structures along the route for smoke exhaust and emergency exits. There are no tracks, no signaling systems and no traction power. I assume safety concerns will be addressed with a wifi repeater system in the tubes or some such that shuts the entire system down if one vehicle reports a malfunction.

I mean, this honestly doesn't sound any different than the various "new" transit systems that were built over the last century, from Disney's monorail to rubber-tired metros to airport people movers. The only flaw, IMO, is the same flaw that those other systems shared: low capacity. That made them poor replacements for a true subway system. Musk's O'Hare Express, with tiny 16-passenger vehicles and a $25 fare, is wildly impractical for MASS transit. But for a niche market like serving business travelers between O'Hare and the Loop, it might be perfect. Just don't believe the rhetoric that this is the "future of transit".

Kenmore Jun 14, 2018 10:45 AM

imagine believing this will actually be privately funded, lol

k1052 Jun 14, 2018 11:59 AM

As long as no city money is at risk I'm fine with this. Maybe he can do it, maybe not.


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