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-   -   CHICAGO: Transit Developments (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=101657)

Mr Downtown Feb 21, 2024 9:47 PM

The countries you have in mind were heavily reliant on coal-fired electricity, and didn't have easy access to diesel prime movers (patents still in place) during the interwar and postwar years when they made the decision to electrify. (More recent high speed rail networks are electrified for other reasons). Branch lines throughout Europe commonly use DMUs.

In the US, we had diesel-electrics by the 1930s, and so didn't have to face the insane expense of stringing wires for a few dozen trains each day. Only the Illinois Central had to bite that bullet, and now Metra faces the cost of maintaining that expensive legacy.

Nouvellecosse Feb 21, 2024 9:49 PM

Battery vehicles tend to be heavier depending on how much range they have, but nowhere near enough to outweigh their greater efficiency. A battery powered vehicle has near universal efficiency advantage over internal combustion vehicles of the same size since so much energy is lost through the process of burning fuels to convert it to usable power. Over half the energy in the fossil fuels is lost as waste heat. And unless it's a hybrid vehicle which is also heavier than a standard ICE setup, you also lose energy every time you stop since all your momentum is also converted back to waste heat by the braking process.

And ICE vehicles aren't all that light either. They have to carry big tanks of fuel which battery vehicles don't, and the fuel burning engines are also much bigger and heavier than electric motors. So yes ICE vehicles are usually a little lighter but that's pretty much irrelevant for most aspects of operation. The only thing that really beats battery vehicles in efficiency are those using overhead wires.

Chicagoguy Feb 22, 2024 2:04 AM

Speaking of Metra, the new bi-level Alstom cars were originally scheduled to be delivered beginning in 2024. Do we know if these are still in line for delivery this year?

JMBasquiat Feb 22, 2024 2:38 PM

I think they said that production would start this April.

Alstom is very late with these, which is a real shame. Metra needs the new cars badly.

electricron Feb 22, 2024 4:51 PM

While discussing batteries on Stadler built trains, I just wanted to point out Merseyside Rail in Liverpool experience with battery equipped EMU third rail metros. These are 4 car, 5 trucks, first and last trucks motorized, metro trainsets. They have the two options besides third rail shoes, they have space for batteries or transformers under the cars for catenary power through a pantograph.
They have found the range they could extend the train using batteries is around 15 miles, some have reported up to 20 miles, in normal weather. They are studying how far they could go in winter weather this winter, so the results have not been published. Many speculate as low as 10-15 miles in winter. So I suggest an extension beyond third rail will probably be limited to 5-6 miles.
Regular operations have to run in the cold of winter just as much in the heat of summer.
Of course, they could run the trains further, up to the 10-15 miles if they were willing to park the train at the terminus, non-third rail station for multiple hours, because the batteries will charge much slower in cold weather. Not likely to occur with a service frequency of every 10-15 minutes.

Whenever looking at using batteries for propulsion, do not ignore the effects of cold temperatures on battery performance, in both the discharge and charge cycles. Too many of us have in the past.

Randomguy34 Feb 22, 2024 5:47 PM

Here's a video of the new Stadler trainsets. Since they're charged by overhead wires, they could implement partial electrification on some of the lines so that trains can turnaround faster after completing their route

Video Link

electricron Feb 23, 2024 3:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10149415)
Here's a video of the new Stadler trainsets. Since they're charged by overhead wires, they could implement partial electrification on some of the lines so that trains can turnaround faster after completing their route

Video Link

From an accommodating news release, these trains from 100% full charge will have a range between 45 and 65 miles. The Beverly branch of the ex-Rock Island Corridor is 16.3 miles. So even in winter, a round trip 32.6 miles in length, should easily be achieved by these trains. So they probably only need to recharge the batteries at one of the terminus stations. Stadler reports it takes 25-30 minutes to recharge the battery from 20% to 80% charge. If they had charging stations at both terminus stations, after just 16 miles of travel, it would take far less time to recharge the batteries to 80%.

Those are ifs. Another if is at what battery temperatures these facts occur at? Will the battery compartments on the trains be heated, and if so how?

The news release also suggests 8 two car FLIRTS (BEMU) have been ordered, 80% of the funding coming from CMAQ funds, and 20% form Illinois sales taxes. METRA has options at the same price for an additional 8 two car trainsets, and 32 additional trailers. If all the options are used, that would be 16 four car trainsets. How the options would be paid for was not mentioned.

If you are wondering how the interiors of these trains could appear, besides the video linked, there are many videos on line from TexRail in Fort Worth and Arrow from San Bernardino on youtube. Even reviews from several youtube train reviewers, like Simply Railways.

ardecila Feb 29, 2024 4:22 PM

Metra CEO Derwinski announced yesterday they are looking to boost speeds on Metra Electric from 65mph up to 79mph, and maybe even 90mph. Apparently it just requires some minor upgrades to the signaling and OCS power systems.

At 65mph, the express trains on the Main Line do Homewood-Hyde Park in 20 minutes, and Homewood-Millennium in 37 minutes. Per my back-of-envelope math, boosting speeds to 90mph would reduce this to about 16 minutes and 32 minutes respectively. There's not as much benefit for local trains, since they won't have time to get up to 90mph between stops.

Busy Bee Feb 29, 2024 4:37 PM

Wow... that is good news.

Randomguy34 Feb 29, 2024 6:21 PM

There were a lot of tidbits Derwinski shared at the meeting during the Q&A portion. He mentioned the CTA is looking at a station near Ogden/Lake, which Metra has to account for when considering transfers to their potential Fulton Market station

moorhosj1 Feb 29, 2024 7:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10154926)
There were a lot of tidbits Derwinski shared at the meeting during the Q&A portion. He mentioned the CTA is looking at a station near Ogden/Lake, which Metra has to account for when considering transfers to their potential Fulton Market station

This is a perfect argument for consolidating the RTA.

Mister Uptempo Feb 29, 2024 10:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10154810)
Metra CEO Derwinski announced yesterday they are looking to boost speeds on Metra Electric from 65mph up to 79mph, and maybe even 90mph. Apparently it just requires some minor upgrades to the signaling and OCS power systems.

At 65mph, the express trains on the Main Line do Homewood-Hyde Park in 20 minutes, and Homewood-Millennium in 37 minutes. Per my back-of-envelope math, boosting speeds to 90mph would reduce this to about 16 minutes and 32 minutes respectively. There's not as much benefit for local trains, since they won't have time to get up to 90mph between stops.

I believe the work is being done in conjunction with the South Shore. I read somewhere Metra and NICTD will be jointly applying for federal money to make the improvements (track improvements, bi-directional signalling, constant tension catenary). For the South Shore, the goal is to get South Bend-Millenium Station times down to 90 minutes or less.

ardecila Mar 1, 2024 2:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10154926)
There were a lot of tidbits Derwinski shared at the meeting during the Q&A portion. He mentioned the CTA is looking at a station near Ogden/Lake, which Metra has to account for when considering transfers to their potential Fulton Market station

That's interesting, but it's still a 2 block walk... less than ideal. The Fulton Market station would have entrances at Ashland and Ogden, so Metra riders would already have a CTA transfer at Ashland/Lake.

If CTA is doing an infill station it should be at Elizabeth, exactly halfway between Morgan and Ashland. Ogden doesn't have a bus, there's no reason to put a station there (although a new bus route could be useful).

Chi-Sky21 Mar 1, 2024 3:38 PM

I am with ardecila on this Ogden and Lake makes no sense. Ashland stop is right there.

moorhosj1 Mar 1, 2024 3:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chi-Sky21 (Post 10155609)
I am with ardecila on this Ogden and Lake makes no sense. Ashland stop is right there.

The Ashland stop is in pretty rough shape. Maybe the plan is to finish the Damen stop, build an Ogden stop, and remove the Ashland stop altogether?

Doesn't make much sense considering the high ridership on the Ashland bus, but I can't think of another reason you would build another stop so close.

Chi-Sky21 Mar 1, 2024 3:51 PM

I suppose you could make it one really long canopy from Ogden to Ashland and have the stop right in the middle with entrances at both streets.

ardecila Mar 2, 2024 9:27 PM

I wouldn’t say Ashland is in rough shape. It was rebuilt completely in the late 90s. It just needs a deep clean, a paint job and maybe an elevator overhaul.

Also I forgot the auxiliary stairs at Justine have high barrier gates, so you can already enter there, just 700 feet from Ogden.

bnk Mar 3, 2024 2:31 PM

Not personally transit of people on rail but rail traffic that has do deal with Metra and Amtrack.
I like of the investments in the video but felt like there was more to explain about the future expansion in this video. Who here follow CREATE and how many more years and dollars are still in the pipeline too flush it out the best we can get from the Feds? I hope none of their original goals got scaled back because the timeline and the money is like a little Deep Tunnel. So that said Scaling back the new O'Hare terminal is worrisome.

Video Link

ardecila Mar 13, 2024 5:31 PM

No local announcements yet, but CTA was awarded $111M from the USDOT Reconnecting Communities program, for reconstruction of the Blue Line Congress Branch from Kedzie to Pulaski. (A previous grant awarded in 2022 also included funding to rebuild the Pulaski station for accessibility.)

The Reconnecting Communities program also awarded $2M to the city for a study about how to better link West Side neighborhoods that were split by the Eisenhower. This is good timing, since IDOT will be rebuilding many of the bridges over the Eisenhower in the next 10-15 years, so now is the time to plan for pedestrian bridges, widened sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and even maybe deck parks. Oak Park has already launched a planning effort for that stuff, so this will cover the city side from Austin to Damen.

left of center Mar 13, 2024 6:34 PM

Will this also coincide with the widening of the Eisenhower to 4 lanes between Austin and Hillside? I'm normally not an advocate for widening expressways, but having 290 go from 4 lanes down to 3 makes for some traffic headaches. Inbound is currently poorly configured as well, with the merging of the north leg of 290 and I-88.

Tcmetro Mar 14, 2024 12:39 AM

IDOT still hasn't found funding for the Eisenhower reconstruction from Austin to 88/294. With this news CTA still needs to figure out:
  • IMD to Kedzie including Western Station
  • Pulaski to Forest Park including Cicero, Austin, Oak Park, Harlem stations
  • Forest Park terminal and yard

CTA previously applied for a MEGA grant for Cicero to Austin but didn't receive it.

ardecila Mar 14, 2024 1:04 AM

Yes, the whole Congress Branch needs to be rebuilt and CTA is doing it one section at a time, as funding allows. Track is the priority but they need to do stations as well since most are not handicap-accessible. Most of the line is under 15mph slow zones for several years now, it is a painfully slow literal crawl out to Forest Park.

Last year they rebuilt the track from IMD to Clinton, and there is an ongoing project to rebuild the Racine station that should be gearing up very soon.

Busy Bee Mar 14, 2024 2:20 AM

How exactly is it possible for track to get so bad they have to have multiple slow zones anyways? Is this an erosion issue?

ardecila Mar 14, 2024 2:55 AM

Yes. The storm drains ain't draining, so the ballast and subgrade under the tracks is permanently soaked.

Busy Bee Mar 14, 2024 3:32 AM

That's what I thought but couldn't remember.

bnk Mar 14, 2024 9:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 10163741)
Will this also coincide with the widening of the Eisenhower to 4 lanes between Austin and Hillside? I'm normally not an advocate for widening expressways, but having 290 go from 4 lanes down to makes for some traffic headaches. Inbound is currently poorly configured as well, with the merging of the north leg of 290 and I-88.

What your not a fan of the Hillside Strangler?

https://www.urbandictionary.com/defi...de%20Strangler

left of center Mar 14, 2024 2:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10164110)
Yes. The storm drains ain't draining, so the ballast and subgrade under the tracks is permanently soaked.

Wow, awful. Is that new pumping station being built along the Des Plaines River going to help with any of that? Granted, its about half a mile west from the Forest Park terminal, so might not have that much of an effect on the majority of the track bed.




Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 10164201)
What your not a fan of the Hillside Strangler?

https://www.urbandictionary.com/defi...de%20Strangler

Hah, you can count me as a hater of the strangler :haha:

I don't have to drive it all that often thankfully, but my in laws live in the far western burbs, so it is a necessary evil from time to time.

ardecila Mar 15, 2024 3:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by left of center (Post 10164364)
Wow, awful. Is that new pumping station being built along the Des Plaines River going to help with any of that? Granted, its about half a mile west from the Forest Park terminal, so might not have that much of an effect on the majority of the track bed.

The pump station increases capacity downstream, but I believe the problem is more localized. The expressway and the CTA tracks share a common storm drain system and many of those branch lines are collapsed or clogged. They're also hard to repair with 8 lanes of roaring traffic going 24/7. CTA has been repairing these when they close the tracks for construction.

Randomguy34 Mar 15, 2024 5:45 PM

Looks like they won't begin construction on Kedzie-Homan to Pulaski until summer 2027....

https://chicago.suntimes.com/transpo...-accessibility

Randomguy34 Mar 18, 2024 7:44 PM

Holy shit, RTA is flexing their ability to bypass municipalities' home rule after transit advocates pointed out Chicago/Halsted's redesign being auto-centric. They're now calling for bus lanes in both directions for the surrounding intersection. This is a major paradigm shift for the RTA. This could be the start of RTA pushing bus lanes across the city without needing CDOT's approval!

https://www.rtachicago.org/uploads/f...d_bus_memo.pdf

twister244 Mar 18, 2024 7:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10167360)
Holy shit, RTA is flexing their ability to bypass municipalities' home rule after transit advocates pointed out Chicago/Halsted's redesign being auto-centric. They're now calling for bus lanes in both directions for the surrounding intersection. This is a major paradigm shift for the RTA. This could be the start of RTA pushing bus lanes across the city without needing CDOT's approval!

https://www.rtachicago.org/uploads/f...d_bus_memo.pdf

More cow bell please.....

As much as we all love to see shiny new train lines, BRT is the path of least resistance of getting more rapid transit options to folks in the city.

nomarandlee Mar 19, 2024 9:43 PM

Quote:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/2024/...i5hPXUIHHm9TqM

With more funding rolling in and planning underway, a redesign of Chicago Union Station is moving forward


The aging station, last renovated in 1991, is in line to get nearly $134 million in federal funding for the project so far.

The project is expected to include overhauling the concourse to improve the way passengers move through the area, renovating and expanding station platforms — including those on the south concourse used primarily by Metra’s BNSF line — and bringing platforms into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Amtrak also hopes to rehab old, unused platforms that once served trains carrying U.S. Postal Service mail, now littered with the remnants of decaying booths and unneeded station infrastructure, and the tracks alongside used to store trains. Returning the platforms to service would expand the station’s train capacity......

Amtrak was awarded up to $93.6 million in federal grants in December for the project and is in line for another $40 million for Union Station in the federal budget. Still, in an earlier 2022 grant application, Amtrak sought $251 million for the project, which at the time was expected to cover more than half the cost of construction.

Magliari said the estimated costs at that time included track construction outside the station intended to shorten the running time of some trains and reshuffle the tracks on which they run. The passenger rail service is seeking more money for work both at Union Station and for the tracks connecting to it, Magliari said. He declined to specify how much more funding could be needed for the station, saying the total cost will depend on the design work that is underway......
..

Randomguy34 Apr 1, 2024 8:10 PM

The IMD is floating plans to add protected bike lanes, curb bumpouts, remove curb cuts, and close short sections of streets for pedestrian plazas. This would go a long way towards improving the streetscape: https://blockclubchicago.org/2024/04...ians-cyclists/

Randomguy34 Apr 6, 2024 7:51 PM

Metra is equalizing BNSF's Saturday and Sunday schedules and adding additional trains starting April 29th. This now means roundtrip weekday service is hourly or less, and roundtrip weekend service is almost hourly! I've been impressed, and honestly proud, with Metra the past few years. They've been serious about becoming a regional rail agency

New BNSF schedule: https://schedules.metrarail.com/pdf/...ative/BNSF.pdf

Busy Bee Apr 6, 2024 8:27 PM

Maybe they've been sending an executive or board member to Toronto to ride GO and come back ashamed?

twister244 Apr 6, 2024 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10179463)
Metra is equalizing BNSF's Saturday and Sunday schedules and adding additional trains starting April 29th. This now means roundtrip weekday service is hourly or less, and roundtrip weekend service is almost hourly! I've been impressed, and honestly proud, with Metra the past few years. They've been serious about becoming a regional rail agency

New BNSF schedule: https://schedules.metrarail.com/pdf/...ative/BNSF.pdf

Great news..... Chicago has a major benefit of having rail infrastructure already in place that we can ramp up without the need for super expensive new investments.

SIGSEGV Apr 6, 2024 10:44 PM

The real travesty are the lines that don't run on weekends at all, IMO.

orulz Apr 8, 2024 1:08 PM

The 2 hour gap in the inbound weekend schedule between the 12:05 and 2:05 departures from Aurora still doesn't make sense to me.

It seems like it would be so easy to just fill those gaps by running one more train on Saturday and another on Sunday. Are those two, 2-hour gaps each week, somehow ESSENTIAL for BNSF's national freight operations? Or is it just the vestiges of "Old Metra" acting like a commuter railroad, where keeping schedules regular is not all that important during mid day? But it seems like they are taking strides to break away from that past - so why? What is it with the 1pm gap on weekends? From a passenger perspective that seems like it could be a fairly busy time for the train. So why don't they just run another train?

Mr Downtown Apr 11, 2024 3:04 PM

^Not sure exactly, but you don't just "run another train." It has to be staffed.

It could be that BNSF feels it serves more people to have the afternoon crews stay later into the evening, or it could be that the midday crews both take their mandated lunch breaks at that time because they're at terminals rather than out on the road.

Randomguy34 Apr 11, 2024 10:43 PM

The RTA is applying for a grant to purchase MORE battery-electric trainsets for the RID, UP-N, and MD-W/NCS. The goal is to run more frequent local service to Blue Island, Wilmette, and O'Hare. Metra is slowly becoming Chicago's rapid transit service, while the CTA is decaying into a commuter rail service

https://i.imgur.com/VDi991L.png
https://www.rtachicago.org/uploads/f...ectSummary.pdf

twister244 Apr 12, 2024 12:52 AM

I find it interesting the NCS doesn't run more often, and maybe this is a move in that direction. It makes sense 15 years ago before we had a multi-modal facility with a people mover at O'Hare that can take you to the main terminals, but if Chicago is serious about a rapid option to O'hare without building new infrastructure on the Blue Line, this would be the path of least resistance.


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