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Standpoor May 24, 2012 7:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by untitledreality (Post 5711680)
I hate to rain on your parade, but I dont think a system that expansive could be justified. For a commuter system some of those lines are far too long of trips... and don't seem to have much potential ridership.

I am not going to say that those expansions are justified as I cannot even imagine what the ridership would be but most of them don't seem way too long. I did not check the distance on all of them but the end points are between 57-100 miles away from downtown. We already have a commuter train that travels 90 miles in the South Shore train and their ridership from South Bend is pretty good. Yeah 10 miles is a lot to tack on but hopefully with all new tracks, you could make better time than NICTD. I see these expansions as better use of resources than the Star Line, that is dead right, but I would take greater frequency on current lines first.

I will take back everything I said if you do not include a South Shore extension into Michigan paralleling CSX track on your next update. That would really help me out. There is only one bridge between Michigan City and St. Joseph and that would be about equal distance as South Bend, so I cannot imagine that the cost would be astronomical. But that won't happen because there is no way three different States can come together with an acceptable plan.

OT political rant-Those of us that live where four States intersect do believe that there is a place for the federal government in the world. My life is very much affected by the decisions Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan make. Pollution, transportation policy, education, etc. cannot be decided purely in a local void. -end OT political rant. Please feel free to ignore.

Nexis4Jersey May 24, 2012 8:28 PM

Between Population growth and Reverse Ridership I think those extensions are justified. I was just thinking about the servicing the Eastern Illinois , Southern Wisconsin & Northern Indiana as part of a huge Regional Rail network....100 miles of Electrified lines isn't that long , as 100 miles diesel....in terms of Travel times...

Vlajos May 24, 2012 8:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 5711544)
^^^^On the UP North line there is a proposed station at Peterson that I do not see listed. My sources tell me that this station is as good as set. between ridge and peterson north of peterson. Also neither rogers park nor ravenswood are in Evanston they are firmly in Chicago

If true, that will really help that area.

ardecila May 24, 2012 8:31 PM

Rather than an extension of South Shore, it would be easier just to add frequency to the existing Pere Marquette. A new track connection could allow the Pere Marquette to stop in New Buffalo as well.

Other outward expansions proposed by Nexis could also be operated by Amtrak, particularly the Rock Island (which should really go all the way to Peoria).

The state-subsidy model pretty much makes Amtrak into another commuter-rail agency, one that isn't legislatively restricted to six IL counties.

Nexis4Jersey May 24, 2012 9:15 PM

Current , Proposed & Planned Stations

South Shore Network

Main line
Millennium Station
Van Buren Street
Museum Campus/11th Street
18th Street
McCormick Place
55th–56th–57th Street
63rd Street
Hegewisch
Hammond
East Chicago
Gary Airport
Gary Metro Center
Miller
Portage / Ogden Dunes
Dune Park
Beverly Shores
11th Street
Carroll Avenue
Hudson Lake
Lydick
South Bend Airport


Lowell Branch
Millennium Station
Van Buren Street
Museum Campus/11th Street
18th Street
McCormick Place
55th–56th–57th Street
63rd Street
Hegewisch
Downtown Hammond
173rd Streeet - Hammond
Highland
Schererville
St. John
Lowell


Valparaiso Branch
Millennium Station
Van Buren Street
Museum Campus/11th Street
18th Street
McCormick Place
55th–56th–57th Street
63rd Street
Hegewisch
Hammond
East Chicago
Gary Airport
Broadway - Gary
Interstate 94/65 Park - Ride - Gary
Hobart
Wheeler
Valparaiso



Goshen Extension
Millennium Station
Van Buren Street
Museum Campus/11th Street
18th Street
McCormick Place
55th–56th–57th Street
63rd Street
Hegewisch
Hammond
East Chicago
Gary Airport
Gary Metro Center
Miller
Portage / Ogden Dunes
Dune Park
Beverly Shores
11th Street
Carroll Avenue
Hudson Lake
Lydick
La Salle Park
Downtown South Bend / (New Amtrak)
Ironwood Dr - Indiana University South Bend
Mishawaka
Elkhart
Goshen


St. Joesph Branch
Millennium Station
Van Buren Street
Museum Campus/11th Street
18th Street
McCormick Place
55th–56th–57th Street
63rd Street
Hegewisch
Hammond
East Chicago
Gary Airport
Gary Metro Center
Miller
Portage / Ogden Dunes
Dune Park
Beverly Shores
Michigan City North
Long Beach
Michiana Shores
New Buffalo
Union Pier
Bridgman
Lincoln Charter
St. Joesph
Benton Harbor


Next and last : Union Station Network

untitledreality May 24, 2012 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 5711899)
...but most of them don't seem way too long. I did not check the distance on all of them but the end points are between 57-100 miles away from downtown. We already have a commuter train that travels 90 miles in the South Shore train and their ridership from South Bend is pretty good. Yeah 10 miles is a lot to tack on but hopefully with all new tracksI see these expansions as better use of resources than the Star Line, that is dead right, but I would take greater frequency on current lines first.

Here is a quick summary of those fantasy extensions.

UP-N [Kenosha to Milwaukee]
35+ Miles

UP-W [Elburn to Rochelle]
33+ Miles

UP-NW [Harvard to Janesville]
35+ Miles

UP-NW [McHenry to Lake Geneva]
20 Miles

RI [Joliet to LaSalle]
60 Miles

ME [University Park to Kankakee]
25 Miles


I could see an extension to Milwaukee making sense as it would allow easier transit between both cities and could act as a commuter line for people who work in Mailwaukee as well. But none of the others make sense to me as full time lines that flow straight through to downtown Chicago.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 5711899)
I see these expansions as better use of resources than the Star Line, that is dead right, but I would take greater frequency on current lines first.

I would take greater frequency on the current lines first as well, but I would take the STAR line over any extension. With so many people both living and working in the outer suburbs creating a collar commuter line that connects to the CTA Blue Line, O'Hare International, NCS, MD-W, UP-W, BNSF and possibly the HC and RI is extended to Joliet makes a great deal of sense if the stations and connections are managed well.

Standpoor May 24, 2012 9:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5711946)
Rather than an extension of South Shore, it would be easier just to add frequency to the existing Pere Marquette. A new track connection could allow the Pere Marquette to stop in New Buffalo as well.

Other outward expansions proposed by Nexis could also be operated by Amtrak, particularly the Rock Island (which should really go all the way to Peoria).

The state-subsidy model pretty much makes Amtrak into another commuter-rail agency, one that isn't legislatively restricted to six IL counties.

Yes that would be a lot better and easier to implement. However, I propose the South Shore extension for two reasons.

1. Set price tickets. I routinely do not take Pere Marquette because GRR passengers push tickets to SJM above 20 dollars one way. NICTD South Bend fare is 11.75 so lets assume I can buy a fare from St. Joseph for 14 dollars at the last minute as opposed to being faced with 29 dollar Amtrak tickets.

2. Local funding would pay for South Shore operation, where as Amtrak expansion would hinge on Lansing support. If you can get costs low enough by piggy backing with NICTD, Berrien County could go it alone and not have to worry about convincing Detroit and Lansing politicians that such a connection is worthwhile. Berrien County is Republican territory but the majority I would describe as pragmatic as opposed to dogmatic. Present them with a plan that will have enough upside, and somehow get second homeowners to pay for the majority of the costs, and I could see a local funding source established. I don't see Michigan paying for increased Amtrak usage on its least busy route any time soon.

ardecila May 24, 2012 11:39 PM

The airline-style pricing on Amtrak is a consequence of the limited capacity (since the trains are so infrequent). I believe Hiawatha has fixed prices; so does the Capital Corridor in California.

With regard to the STAR Line: increased frequency on the existing lines is an absolute requirement for the STAR Line to be successful. The whole concept of an orbital line is based on the ability to quickly and easily make a transfer between lines; how are people supposed to do that when the frequency is so low? They'll face 20 or 30 minute waits at the transfer points.

Plus, those transfer points are in the middle of nowhere by design; the EJ&E was laid out a century ago to avoid the town centers. That means the line doesn't have any destinations along it. It would be like the Heritage Corridor or North Central, except with half the ridership and ten times the cost. The entire orbital part of the STAR Line is a gimmick to get all of suburban Chicago to support a line that really only benefits the I-90 corridor.

K 22 May 25, 2012 12:29 AM

Anything new on the new Cermak station on the Green Line? Have they started building it? I read it's going to be two years before it's done.

nomarandlee May 25, 2012 2:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 5711503)
As CTA Gray Line notes, the Union Station Master Plan is out.

It's a big report and it makes a lot of recommendations. Here are a few that caught my eye.

1. Through tracks for all platforms are out of the question. The tracks don't line up and demolishing everything built over them to make them line up is just not feasible. Demolishing 222 Riverside would allow for some of the tracks to be linked, but extremely long platforms with a jog in the middle, or two sets of platforms arranged end-to-end with crossovers in the middle, with no discernable way to access them from the head house, is also not particularly useful..

Ughhhh, I find these report findings to be very disappointing. I was really liking the idea of knocking down 222 Riverside and doing away forever the dark and dingy concourse that sits there. Unfortunately no matter how it is spruced up I think a lifetime of a dark and cramped concourse quarters are in our futures. Shame.

ardecila May 25, 2012 3:18 AM

The report allows for the possibility of demolishing 222 S. Riverside, but only if it is replaced with another office tower. Presumably, this could be designed with huge column spans like the Daley Center and substantial open space at grade and below.

Standpoor May 25, 2012 3:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5712144)
The airline-style pricing on Amtrak is a consequence of the limited capacity (since the trains are so infrequent). I believe Hiawatha has fixed prices; so does the Capital Corridor in California.

Which reminds me. A third reason why I would call for a South Shore extension is because of the broken ass system to board Amtrak trains. I have to get to the station at least ten minutes before hand, I have to stand in a crappy line that snakes its way out the door, then show my ticket, then maybe I get stopped by security, then stand in line waiting for the conductor to tell me what car to get into even though I know which one, and then sit in the train waiting for those ten minutes to go by. Or I can just roll over to Randolph station and hop on the old emu's with no worries. Last weekend being the exception.

The good thing about the Union Station master plan is that the short and medium solutions will do a lot to improve operations. Moving ticketing and the Lounge out of the basement, redoing the bathrooms and coach waiting areas, moving escalators, and removing walls will do a lot to open it up. Granted it would be nice to see 222 Riverside go but what I really care about is improving the experience. Get me on and off a train as easily as possible and I will be happy, even if that means that there are no through tracks and 222 stays.

Jenner May 25, 2012 4:25 AM

I was wondering if there was a rail engine that ran exclusively on batteries, and I found these articles:http://rps.psu.edu/indepth/norfolk_southern.html and http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nsco...batteries.html. If this technology improves, you wouldn't need to electrify the entire rail line, especially those which are owned by freight companies.

I don't know if the batteries would have enough juice to go the entire day, and power all the remaining passenger cars (lighting, doors, etc).

In fact, here is another article about trying to use fuel cells to power a locomotive http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...fuel-cell.html. This is much more experimental than the battery locomotive, but would still be cheaper than converting to an electrified system.

CTA Gray Line May 25, 2012 5:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenner (Post 5712443)
I was wondering if there was a rail engine that ran exclusively on batteries, and I found these articles:http://rps.psu.edu/indepth/norfolk_southern.html and http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nsco...batteries.html. If this technology improves, you wouldn't need to electrify the entire rail line, especially those which are owned by freight companies.

I don't know if the batteries would have enough juice to go the entire day, and power all the remaining passenger cars (lighting, doors, etc).

In fact, here is another article about trying to use fuel cells to power a locomotive http://www.railwaygazette.com/nc/new...fuel-cell.html. This is much more experimental than the battery locomotive, but would still be cheaper than converting to an electrified system.


I had an idea like that last year, and created an extremely unsuccessful Website for it: http://regenerativehybridunit.yolasite.com/

denizen467 May 25, 2012 10:48 AM

Also, we discussed something along the lines of battery-powered locomotives a couple months ago, in this thread I think.

CTA Gray Line May 25, 2012 12:44 PM

A man, a mission, a new Metra
 
http://chicagomaroon.com/2012/05/25/...n-a-new-metra/

A man, a mission, a new Metra

One former Chatham resident has drafted a proposal for solving the South Side's transit woes, which most—but not all—have discounted.

by Celia Bever - May 25, 2012 6:13 am CDT

photo: sydney combs/the chicago maroon


The proposed CTA Grey Line "L" Route would run along the Metra tracks closest to the lake. Michael Payne moved to the western suburbs from his South Side home nearly five years ago, but he still remembers the drudgery of commuting into the Loop for his job as an office repairman—and the hour-long bus rides that he had to take to the closest Red Line stop before moving even an inch northward.


These memories, coupled with a lifelong interest in trains, prompted Payne to
work for 16 years on a proposal to improve public transit to the South Side: the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Gray Line L Route Project.

Though neither Metra nor CTA are currently considering his plans, Payne, 63, has opened the way for other projects and has caught the eye of advocates for transit reform.

His stint at a railroad company in the 1970s allowed him to plan, perfect, and
lobby for the Gray Line, which would convert the two inner tracks of the Metra Electric District into L lines. Trains with new decals would run every 10
minutes instead of every hour, as they sometimes do now, and turnstiles and fare boxes would be installed at stations. Metra personnel would continue to staff the trains.


Payne estimates that the project would cost $200 million, create 8,000 to 10,000 permanent jobs, and encompass 40 stops over 25 miles. In contrast, he said, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed Red Line extension would cost about $1.4 billion for three stops along five miles.

The Gray Line was ranked first in a 2003 study of city public transit projects
by the Chicagoland Transportation and Air Quality Commission.

However, CTA found that Payne's plan inadequately addresses South Side
transportation needs that are better served by the Red Line extension, which
would run up to Howard Street, while the Gray Line would stop at Millennium
Park, according to CTA spokesperson Catherine Hosinski.
Payne responded that passengers could transfer from the Gray Line to other CTA trains to go farther north.

Hosinski also said that the Gray Line would not be able to run as frequently as
Payne desired because the Metra tracks cannot be shared between trains as
efficiently as CTA tracks.

Payne claims that the real problem is tensions between Metra and CTA.
"It's completely, 100 percent political," he said.


The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is leaning toward the less
ambitious Gold Line, whose designers were inspired by Payne's work. "The Gray Line wasn't the option the community was most interested in," said Brenda McGruder, the coordinating planner at CDOT.


The Gold Line, spearheaded by Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
(SOUL), would convert only the Metra's South Chicago branch, which runs along Lake Park Avenue. SOUL originally supported the more expansive Gray Line, but opted for a plan that seemed more feasible at the time. "We thought that was the most practical thing to do," SOUL board member Linda Thisted said.

SOUL, along with Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns, has successfully lobbied for the introduction of a universal fare card for CTA and Metra systems that will take effect in 2015.

Payne, who also anticipated fares as one of the largest hurdles in improving
transportation, is grateful for SOUL's work. "I never could have come up with
that," he said.


While struggling to find support for the Gray Line, Payne was let go from his
repairman job in 2006, leaving him homeless, spending many nights sleeping on
the L for six months.

After finding his current job at a B.P. station outside the city, he moved and
bought a car.

"I'm a gas station attendant. I have no political power whatsoever."
Yet Payne remains optimistic. Social security checks and a discount from a
former employer have allowed Payne to print fliers that he plans to pass out at community meetings and on L stops.

Though the Gray Line would no longer benefit him personally, he has no
intentions of giving up now. "It's been a part of my life for too long," he
said.

Standpoor May 25, 2012 5:25 PM

The weekend needs to get here because I certainly have not been doing much work the past two days. In furtherance of this here are the extensions, I used 39 mph as the average speed for the extensions to estimate the travel times, that may be a little fast but it seemed reasonable. Populations are only for the city limits listed or noted otherwise, as bored as I am I could not do anything more.

line
extension miles, total miles, travel times, population served

UP-N [Chicago to Milwaukee]
32.4 miles, 84.3 miles, 2:29, Milwaukee+Racine 673,000

UP-W [Chicago to Rochelle]
-,74 Miles, 2:05, Rochelle+DeKalb 50,000

UP-NW [Chicago to Janesville]
28.8 miles, 90 miles, 2:28, Sharon+Janesville 65,350

UP-NW [Chicago to Lake Geneva]
19.7 miles, 69.2 miles, 1:54, -

RI [Chicago to LaSalle]
58.6 miles, 99 miles, 2:40, Morris-Seneca-Ottawa-LaSalle 49,039

ME [Chicago to Kankakee]
24.6 miles, 55.6 miles, 1:32, Kankakee-Bradley MSA 113,698

NICTD [Chicago to St. Joseph, MI]
33 miles, 91 miles, 2:30, 60,000 to 65,000 my estimate of SJ/BH area including SJ and Benton townships, etc.

For comparison South Bend is one of the fastest growing in terms of ridership:
South Shore [Chicago to South Bend, IN]
-, 90 miles, 2:25

So the only one that is ridiculously long is out to LaSalle and electrification could drop some of those travel times. What South Shore does is run short trains from South Bend and add cars down the line. Gary Metro I think is one station where they add trains, others could probably help on how that works. So these extensions are not probable, nor worthwhile, but not too long as compared to South Bend.

ardecila May 25, 2012 7:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Standpoor (Post 5712962)
So the only one that is ridiculously long is out to LaSalle and electrification could drop some of those travel times. What South Shore does is run short trains from South Bend and add cars down the line. Gary Metro I think is one station where they add trains, others could probably help on how that works. So these extensions are not probable, nor worthwhile, but not too long as compared to South Bend.

You're still thinking of these as primarily commuter lines. Nobody in their right mind will take a 2:40 train trip, twice a day, every day. These trains are really intercity trains, and as such they should run limited-stop through Chicagoland on a very low frequency (every 2 hours, max). The LaSalle line, which should really go to Peoria, would stop at Joliet, Blue Island, and 35th while skipping all the other Rock Island stations. The low frequency would prevent this from mucking up the commuter schedule too much.

Nexis4Jersey May 25, 2012 9:58 PM

METRA RER Network

Metra RER : North Central & BSNF Railway line

Milwaukee Intermodal
West Allis
Parkland Green
Waukesha
Sunset Heights
Mukwonago
Burlington
Silver Lake - Camp Lake

Antioch
Lake Villa
Round Lake Beach
Washington Street - Grayslake
Prairie Crossing / Libertyville
Mundelein
Vernon Hills
Prairie View
Buffalo Grove
Wheeling
Prospect Heights
O'Hare Transfer
Rosemont
Schiller Park
Belmont Avenue
River Grove
Western Avenue
Chicago Union Station
Halsted Street
Western Ave
Cicero
La Vergne
Berwyn
Harlem Avenue
Riverside
Hollywood
Brookfield
Congress Park
La Grange
Stone Avenue
Western Springs
Highlands
Hinsdale
West Hinsdale
Clarendon Hills
Westmont
Fairview Avenue
Downers Grove – Main Street
Belmont
Lisle
Naperville
Route 59
Aurora
Montgomery
Oswego Village Square
Plano
Sandwich



Milwaukee Disrect North line & Heritage Corridor

Richmond
Spring Grove

Fox Lake
Ingleside
Long Lake
Round Lake
Grayslake
Prairie Crossing
Libertyville
Lake Forest
Deerfield
Lake Cook Road
Northbrook
North Glenview
Glenview
Golf
Morton Grove
Edgebrook
Forest Glen
Mayfair
Grayland
Healy
Western Avenue
Chicago Union Station
Brighton Park
Summit
Willow Springs
Lemont
Lockport
Joliet
Presont Heights
Elwood
Wilmington



Milwaukee Disrect West line
Janesville
Beloit
Rockton
Machesney Park
Loves Park
Rockford
Valley View
Belvidere
Marengo
Huntley

Big Timber
Elgin
National Street
Barlette
Hanover Park
Schaumburg
Roselle
Medinah
Itasca
Wood Dale
Bensenville
Mannheim
Franklin Park
River Grove
Elmwood Park
Mont Clare
Mars
Galewood
Hanson Park
Grand/Cicero
Western Avenue
Chicago Union Station

untitledreality May 25, 2012 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey (Post 5713282)
METRA RER Network

Metra RER : North Central & BSNF Railway line


Come on, you can't propose mating a 64,600 ride/day line with a 5,400 ride/day line to form a 150+ mile RER route. Im no transportation expert, but I would think you would want the mating to be as equal as possible. The MD-W with added inner city infill stations to boost ridership would seem like a more logical mate for the BNSF.


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