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

SIGSEGV Oct 27, 2020 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9084535)
If it is Metra, I wonder how they will fund operations. Will the state make Boone and Winnebago counties join RTA and pay the sales tax? Or will they allow a direct purchase of service from the cities of Rockford and Belvedere, similar to how Kenosha gets Metra service? Huntley and Marengo are in McHenry Cty so they already pay the RTA tax and receive zero transit service currently.

A third option is that IDOT could fund the service directly, the way they do on the Amtrak corridor services.

Then there is the issue of turf - the new extension will be on UP’s tracks, which means it is subject to the ongoing dispute between Metra and UP, and will subject MD-W service to the various issues with the UP operations.

I kind of assume that these won't be normal MD-W pattern trains. Probably they'll be express to Elgin (maybe a stop at River Grove) or something, so MD-W commuters for the most part will be unaffected.

90 miles on a Metra coach is not ideal from a comfort perspective, though, although I guess Harvard is about the same distance. Maybe if it's Metra there can be a flag stop at the Illinois Railway Museum on weekends :).

ardecila Oct 27, 2020 4:10 PM

Metra coaches are plenty comfortable, unless you're on the upper deck. Hopefully by the time this service starts, Metra will have different rolling stock... there's a great opportunity now for them to upgrade to a more modern design. The gallery car design hasn't been touched since 1955 except to put new finishes in.

Maybe you're right about these trains running express to Elgin, hopefully with at least a stop at Mannheim and an O'Hare shuttle. This line has lower freight volumes than the MD-N line to Milwaukee which supports a pretty decent Amtrak schedule.

SIGSEGV Oct 27, 2020 5:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9086703)
Metra coaches are plenty comfortable, unless you're on the upper deck. Hopefully by the time this service starts, Metra will have different rolling stock... there's a great opportunity now for them to upgrade to a more modern design. The gallery car design hasn't been touched since 1955 except to put new finishes in.

Maybe you're right about these trains running express to Elgin, hopefully with at least a stop at Mannheim and an O'Hare shuttle. This line has lower freight volumes than the MD-N line to Milwaukee which supports a pretty decent Amtrak schedule.

I don't have any inside knowledge, but I imagine for it to be successful there'd have to be very few stops inside of Elgin to keep the runtime reasonable.

k1052 Oct 28, 2020 3:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9086703)
Metra coaches are plenty comfortable, unless you're on the upper deck. Hopefully by the time this service starts, Metra will have different rolling stock... there's a great opportunity now for them to upgrade to a more modern design. The gallery car design hasn't been touched since 1955 except to put new finishes in.

Maybe you're right about these trains running express to Elgin, hopefully with at least a stop at Mannheim and an O'Hare shuttle. This line has lower freight volumes than the MD-N line to Milwaukee which supports a pretty decent Amtrak schedule.

In my heart of hearts I think that somehow Metra will figure out how to buy hundreds more brand new gallery cars. I don't want that but I can't shake the feeling.

ardecila Oct 28, 2020 6:37 PM

Well, as people have noted in other forums Metra did not receive any bids for gallery cars the last time they requested them, so they were forced to consider other designs. Sumitomo/Nippon Sharyo was willing to build them in the past, but that was before their American operation crashed and burned spectacularly.

There are certainly other manufacturers making heavy-ass North American bilevels (Bombardier, Kawasaki, Hyundai Rotem) but they are a different design and they've shown no desire to retool.

Seems within the realm of possibility that we could end up with a Bombardier bilevel like GO Transit, or a Hyundai bilevel like Metrolink's Guardian fleet. The Hyundai ones even look like Metra gallery cars if you squint, and I'm sure Hyundai would build them in fluted stainless steel for an upcharge.

I suppose if Metra is dead-set on gallery cars, *anything* can be built as a custom order if you throw enough money at it... but an unproven or re-engineered design adds months or years in testing as well as the costs of re-tooling.

Steely Dan Oct 28, 2020 6:49 PM

does anyone know why metra is so myopically married to gallery cars that they won't even consider other options?

i mean, if other commuter rail operators in NA are doing just fine with bombardier bi-levels, then why can't metra?

ardecila Oct 28, 2020 7:19 PM

^ It's just the culture of the US railroad industry. They do what they've always done. It's a weird wounded pride, in the 20th century the railroads went from the mightiest corporations on Planet Earth, conquering the Rockies, tunneling under the Hudson, etc to being almost irrelevant by 1975. You'd think that would be a wake-up call to reform, but all it did was make the taxpayer responsible for funding all passenger ops while the railroads (including the new commuter railroads) continued their obsolete practices.

Metra is especially proud of the gallery cars because they were invented here (originally for the C&NW) and because they simplified the conductor's job in an era of selling and punching paper tickets. They're also fairly consistent, so mechanics don't have to understand multiple car types.

Problem is, they're terrible for riders. The lower deck is comfortable enough but the upper deck is worse than sitting on an airplane. Getting in/out of the car means ascending steep steps, which are often slippery in the winter - and there's only one door per car so boarding is painfully slow. The advantages to the conductor don't really matter if most riders are using the Ventra mobile app. They are poorly designed for bicycles, leading to Metra's awful retrograde bike policies. Any commuter who wants to bike the last mile to their destination is out of luck. This is actually surprisingly common in SF, tons of people bike from Caltrain to sprawly office parks in Silicon Valley that are difficult for buses/trains to serve efficiently. Chicagoland could see similar patterns if Metra allowed it, at least in the warmer months.

OhioGuy Oct 29, 2020 3:23 PM

If Metra service is extended all the way to Rockford, I assume any extension past the current terminus in Elgin could/would function similar to Metra service on the UP North line, where most service ends at Waukegan, but several trains/day continue to Kenosha.

In other news...

South Shore line expansion work begins in Lake County, Indiana; project estimated to cost $945M

Quote:

MUNSTER, Ind. -- Officials broke ground Wednesday on an expansion of the South Shore commuter rail line through part of western Lake County, Indiana.

The 8-mile line that will extend from Dyer to Hammond and connect to Chicago will be the largest public transit investment in Indiana history, Gov. Eric Holcomb said.

"By bringing commuter rail through the heart of Lake County, the West Lake Corridor project is a game changer for Northwest Indiana and the entire state," Holcomb said.
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Elf_FfzW...g&name=900x900
img link

SIGSEGV Oct 30, 2020 4:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 9089096)
If Metra service is extended all the way to Rockford, I assume any extension past the current terminus in Elgin could/would function similar to Metra service on the UP North line, where most service ends at Waukegan, but several trains/day continue to Kenosha.

In other news...

South Shore line expansion work begins in Lake County, Indiana; project estimated to cost $945M



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Elf_FfzW...g&name=900x900
img link

Interestingly nearly half the catchment area is in Illinois...

ardecila Oct 30, 2020 8:52 PM

^ Exactly! Indiana spends money that benefits Illinois' south suburbs!

This covers the same territory as Metra's old SouthEast Service proposal, except it doesn't have to negotiate a bunch of freight-choked junctions. And it's fully electrified instead of being diesel-powered.

jpIllInoIs Oct 30, 2020 9:13 PM

NICTD west lake
 
I am having difficulty finding any mentions of MED capacity to add trains on the Metra ROW into Millennium station and for that matter WITHIN Millennium station. Are the West Lake trains going to require riders transfer to the South Shore at the new Hammond station? Has Metra signed off on added trains on the MED line? Does Millennium station have capacity to hold additional trains for afternoon departure?

All the West Lake line information is specific to the construction of the physical plant of the West Lake.

Randomguy34 Oct 30, 2020 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9090525)
^ Exactly! Indiana spends money that benefits Illinois' south suburbs!

This covers the same territory as Metra's old SouthEast Service proposal, except it doesn't have to negotiate a bunch of freight-choked junctions. And it's fully electrified instead of being diesel-powered.

In particular, Lansing's downtown and its airport are within a 15-minute walking distance to the new stops. Now if there was Pace service to the new stops, that could really encourage more ridership from IL residents

Also something that hadn't been discussed much is that Hegewisch-to-downtown frequencies will increase with the new branch, so ridership could potentially increase there

SIGSEGV Oct 30, 2020 10:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 9090525)
^ Exactly! Indiana spends money that benefits Illinois' south suburbs!

This covers the same territory as Metra's old SouthEast Service proposal, except it doesn't have to negotiate a bunch of freight-choked junctions. And it's fully electrified instead of being diesel-powered.

About time Indiana contributed something instead of taking!

ardecila Oct 30, 2020 10:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 9090547)
I am having difficulty finding any mentions of MED capacity to add trains on the Metra ROW into Millennium station and for that matter WITHIN Millennium station. Are the West Lake trains going to require riders transfer to the South Shore at the new Hammond station? Has Metra signed off on added trains on the MED line? Does Millennium station have capacity to hold additional trains for afternoon departure?

All the West Lake line information is specific to the construction of the physical plant of the West Lake.

No forced transfers. The information you're looking for is here:

http://www.nictdwestlake.com/assets/..._ROD_AppG1.pdf

Apparently there is space to add 3 more platforms at Millennium Station? I'm not too familiar with the underground layout there but it make sense that they would try to future-proof it when they decked it over.

the urban politician Oct 31, 2020 12:02 AM

This is very good news. Do any of the new stops occur around walkable downtowns or have the potential for walkable TOD like you see in a lot of other Chicago commuter suburbs?

Steely Dan Oct 31, 2020 12:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9090680)
Do any of the new stops occur around walkable downtowns or have the potential for walkable TOD like you see in a lot of other Chicago commuter suburbs?

from what i can tell from google maps, no.

these will primarily be park n' ride stops.

galleyfox Oct 31, 2020 1:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9090680)
This is very good news. Do any of the new stops occur around walkable downtowns or have the potential for walkable TOD like you see in a lot of other Chicago commuter suburbs?

http://www.nictdwestlake.com/assets/...ternatives.pdf

the urban politician Oct 31, 2020 1:59 AM

^ Thanks for the link, but my lazy ass is unlikely to through it all in much detail so for anybody in the know, here are two basic questions:

1. Why is so much money being invested in the “Hammond Gateway” station when there is already a station literally right next to it?

2. I don’t know diddly squat about what Downtown Hammond is like, but it seems like a natural fit to put a station in a city’s downtown to help with revitalization efforts. I mean, this is not some risky new venture—Chicagoland has an abundance of examples that walkable downtowns near commuter rail are desirable and attract people and investment. Not sure why they didn’t go with a station there.

galleyfox Oct 31, 2020 4:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 9090763)
^ Thanks for the link, but my lazy ass is unlikely to through it all in much detail so for anybody in the know, here are two basic questions:

1. Why is so much money being invested in the “Hammond Gateway” station when there is already a station literally right next to it?

2. I don’t know diddly squat about what Downtown Hammond is like, but it seems like a natural fit to put a station in a city’s downtown to help with revitalization efforts. I mean, this is not some risky new venture—Chicagoland has an abundance of examples that walkable downtowns near commuter rail are desirable and attract people and investment. Not sure why they didn’t go with a station there.

1. It’s to allow transfers from Dyer heading to South Bend. Apparently it might operate as a short train shuttle during off-peak?

2. ”This alternative includes the Downtown Hammond Station rather than the Hammond Gateway Station and a different siting for the maintenance and storage facility options. This alternative was not selected as preferred because of impacts to freight railroads, lower projected ridership, and the unfavorable maintenance facility site (i.e., the choices would be the South Hammond or Munster/Dyer Main Street, which were not preferred by the City of Hammond or the Town of Munster). In addition, the weekday off-peak and weekend proposed shuttle train service would not be feasible because this alternative does not include a transfer station in Hammond.”

the urban politician Oct 31, 2020 1:40 PM

^ Got it, much appreciated.

I’m not an Indiana taxpayer so let them throw away their money, I guess, but I’ve gotta say that creating a new transfer station at Hammond (when a station that serves Hammond already exists) just seems to make no sense.

I mean, I just don’t see a lot of people riding the train from Dyer to places further East. If this were Central London that would be a different story. But this is friggin Indiana—cornfields and all. People are just going to drive.

Seems like the top priority should be providing Chicago Loop service to communities that don’t yet have it.


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