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Bonsai Tree Apr 29, 2024 4:19 PM

That really depends- I've seen some doomer takes on it (that it'll be just like Septa or the Mta) but I'm not so sure. The composition of the board actually makes a lot of sense to me.

5 seats- Mayor of Chicago
5 seats- Cook County Board President
3 seats- Governor
1 seat each- Dupage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will

The Mta has much stronger involvement from the governor, and Septa is too heavily weighted towards suburban counties. The breakdown of the board in the bill seems sensible to me. I'm sure the board could be weighted more towards the city if necessary.

VivaLFuego Apr 29, 2024 7:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bonsai Tree (Post 10194812)
5 seats- Mayor of Chicago
5 seats- Cook County Board President
3 seats- Governor
1 seat each- Dupage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Will

:haha:

This is not *that* far off of the current RTA board representation, but state government is going to want a much bigger say.

Busy Bee Apr 29, 2024 8:22 PM

I'm not opposed to this governance restructuring in theory but I definitely want to see the details of what the big picture benefit wouid be exactly. Better coordination is the obvious top-of-list and the state role coukd bring additional funding. Beyond that I'm unsure how this is dramatically different than RTA and seems more like a potential marketing scheme that would be quite costly with dubious benefits though I'm keeping an open mind about that aspect.

The actual branding could be figured out later, but if approved, a huge if, my personal preference is for the entire metropolitan operating authority to be called the CTA. That preserves the most cherished of the three brands and makes complete sense when compared to other regional agencies who's core city creates the obvious branding --- TfL and RATP being two obvious examples.

Just back of napkin but under this scenario current cta operations would remain essentially the same but Metra could become cta regional rail in branding and current Pace cta suburban bus or regional bus or something along those lines.

Tom In Chicago Apr 30, 2024 2:41 PM

Without sounding too redundant, the RTA should be the over-riding agency that governs and integrates all three agencies. . . which - if dissolved - would hopefully see some efficiencies and better service for existing city commuters. . . but time will tell. . .

. . .

Klippenstein Apr 30, 2024 7:27 PM

CTA, the brand, won’t need to be replaced even if the governing body changes. RTA has a different name than the agencies it has jurisdiction over. I’d assume they keep CTA branding and probably even Metra.

Does anybody have any insight on the Van Buren station renovation? The station is just falling apart right now. Half of the seating is closed off and more than half of platform 1, but only because it’s crumbling. Still no sign of work moving ahead. I was hoping the closure was going to speed up the renovations.

Busy Bee Apr 30, 2024 7:54 PM

That could be but I wouldn't have any problem with them scrapping "Metra" or "Pace" as neither of them are particularly old and/or venerated.

I realize I'm focusing on the UX and brand end of this whole thing and this really isnt the right place to mention this again but the ordered universe designer side of me would love to see this be the perfect opportunity to have a nomenclature revamp for the entire system (like Septa just completed) where rapid transit lines received numbered designations or a letter/number combination like "L1" "L2" with current color coding intact AND commuter/regional rail receiving a lettered designation or a letter/number destination mirroring the L like "R1" "R2" etc. In the big scheme of things it may seem unimportant but as for the Cta I've always disliked the color based naming of the L lines. Yes it was better than the clunky mouth full that existed before but a character system is cleaner and better. That may not be the predominant opinion but I'm sure I'm not completely alone on that.

twister244 Apr 30, 2024 10:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10195767)
I realize I'm focusing on the UX and brand end of this whole thing and this really isnt the right place to mention this again but the ordered universe designer side of me would love to see this be the perfect opportunity to have a nomenclature revamp for the entire system (like Septa just completed) where rapid transit lines received numbered designations or a letter/number combination like "L1" "L2" with current color coding intact AND commuter/regional rail receiving a lettered designation or a letter/number destination mirroring the L like "R1" "R2" etc. In the big scheme of things it may seem unimportant but as for the Cta I've always disliked the color based naming of the L lines. Yes it was better than the clunky mouth full that existed before but a character system is cleaner and better. That may not be the predominant opinion but I'm sure I'm not completely alone on that.

I agree with this. Instead of Metra UP-NW - Give it something like what you are describing above.

Busy Bee Apr 30, 2024 10:44 PM

Yep. It's also well past time to divorce line names from the completely irrelevant freight railroad corridors they operate over. That was logically kept at the beginning of Metra's creation when the legacy railroads ceased their own historic commuter services (along with long distance passenger trains with the creation of Amtrak) and passed the torch to Metra but hasn't meant anything to the average rider since.

Randomguy34 May 6, 2024 2:17 PM

Steely Dan, you got your wish for an additional train arriving at Ogilvie at 6:55am: https://metra.com/newsroom/north-lin...-station-opens


Also, the Daily Herald has an article about the proposed transit merger. They point out that the RTA is going to pilot a regional day pass!
Quote:

Interestingly, the RTA plans to pilot a regional day pass that works on CTA, Metra and Pace this summer or fall. The regional day pass will allow riders to seamlessly transfer between transit agencies and be a step forward in simplifying fare policy, officials said.
https://www.dailyherald.com/20240506...medium=twitter

Busy Bee May 6, 2024 4:45 PM

This Youtube creators' videos aren't particularly good, but I thought I'd post this here anyway:

Video Link

VKChaz May 8, 2024 7:21 PM

City Hall thrown under the bus: Report rips 'do nothing' effort to save Greyhound terminal

The city has offered no substantial plan to either purchase the station or propose an alternate site before Greyhound’s lease ends in October, according to the report by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development. “There could be a real mess for our city if no action is taken,” said Joe Schwieterman, one of the authors.


https://chicago.suntimes.com/transpo...rt?tpcc=cst_cm

Crawford May 9, 2024 2:35 PM

So I was just watching a video clip of the new CTA chief. Holy sh-t. We are so screwed in the U.S. when it comes to transit.

The second largest transit system in the U.S. is going to be run by a prosperity preacher who apparently doesn't know jack sh-t about the agency or transit, and proudly proclaims he's now blessed to drive his car. Someone save us.

Can we please have transit experts, not preachers, run transit agencies? Is that asking too much? Can the position be something other than a political patronage job?

JMBasquiat May 9, 2024 3:04 PM

He's not the new chief, he's a board member. Still bad but not as bad as him being the new chief.

Busy Bee May 9, 2024 3:17 PM

The culture of board appointments is nearly as nauseating.

jtown,man May 10, 2024 8:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10199555)
This Youtube creators' videos aren't particularly good, but I thought I'd post this here anyway:

Video Link

What a silly idea. A neighborhood that isn't very dense for Chicago gets that many lines?

A classmate and I did a project comparing the Red Line extension to simply upgrading the metra lines in the area.

The amount of people served and cost differences were astounding.

But that isn't a sexy project like the RLE, so no one cares to even consider it.

Busy Bee May 10, 2024 10:48 PM

^Whether or not it comes across in the video, the current lame RLE route is being compared to the median running expressway routes that were originally intended.

OhioGuy May 14, 2024 11:15 PM

The double tracking of the South Shore line between Gary and Michigan City is now complete. This upgrade removed the unique street running section in Michigan City, but as someone who has ridden the train between South Bend and Chicago on several occasions, any improvement in speed is worth it!

NBC5 Chicago: Chicago South Shore Line Improvement: South Shore ‘double track' to streamline commute times

Video Link



Trains.com: Officials celebrate South Shore Line’s improved capacity, speed, and frequency

Quote:

Beginning Tuesday, May 14, a completely revamped schedule features 14 additional weekday trains, with nonstop and skip-stop express trains sprinkled through both peak and reverse peak departures. This brings the total number of weekday trains to 53. Dramatic changes to and time savings on the new schedule include 67-minute, limited-stop expresses to Michigan City; the previous average was about two hours.

Noland told reporters the line’s maximum authorized speed remains unchanged at 79 mph, but slow orders were eliminated. Elimination of street running in Michigan City resulted in increases from 15 mph to 25 and 35 mph. Twenty crossings were closed and the remaining 13 have been upgraded with warning devices.
Quote:

Next up: completion of the $950 million West Lake project south of the main line at Hammond to Dyer, Ind., utilizing the abandoned Monon right-of-way, and a $200 million downtown Chicago capacity expansion in conjunction with Metra.

Busy Bee May 14, 2024 11:26 PM

:cheers::cheers::cheers:

ardecila May 14, 2024 11:51 PM

It looks like NICTD is now referring to the existing line as the "Lakeshore Corridor", and the new line to Dyer will be known as the Monon Corridor.

I guess this continues the Metra tradition of naming lines after the fallen flags - West Lake was always an odd name.

SIGSEGV May 15, 2024 3:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10199427)
Steely Dan, you got your wish for an additional train arriving at Ogilvie at 6:55am: https://metra.com/newsroom/north-lin...-station-opens


Also, the Daily Herald has an article about the proposed transit merger. They point out that the RTA is going to pilot a regional day pass!

https://www.dailyherald.com/20240506...medium=twitter

If I had a nickel for every time I've seen an ME conductor explain to some hapless tourist or convention attendee that their ventra day pass doesn't work on the ME...

VKChaz May 18, 2024 6:33 PM

fyi:
APTA 4th quarter ridership report

The Public Transportation Ridership Report is a quarterly report of transit passenger ridership for U.S. and Canadian transit agencies. The report includes quarterly and year-to-date estimated unlinked transit passenger trips for the current and previous year by transit mode. In addition, agency specific ridership is provided for participating transit agencies. Reports are published approximately 60-75 days after the end of the quarter.

https://www.apta.com/research-techni...ership-report/

https://www.apta.com/wp-content/uplo...rship-APTA.pdf

Busy Bee May 19, 2024 4:48 PM

For no particular reason...

I wish Cta would go back to the classic white, lime and pine paint scheme... It looked so good... Chicago transit fans have been saying for years the '76 derived patriotic scheme took Chicago from distinctive to "anywhere USA."
I couldn't agree more and really wish Cta would do something different. Who knows, maybe if this superagency idea gains traction, a Cta refresh might be in the works.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/04AAA...v/s-l1600.webp
linky dinky

OhioGuy May 21, 2024 12:42 AM

The Peterson/Ridge infill station on the UP North line finally opened today.

Video Link

lakeshoredrive May 22, 2024 6:02 PM

Possible Western BRT development happening

WrightCONCEPT May 24, 2024 6:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 10201505)
So I was just watching a video clip of the new CTA chief. Holy sh-t. We are so screwed in the U.S. when it comes to transit.

The second largest transit system in the U.S. is going to be run by a prosperity preacher who apparently doesn't know jack sh-t about the agency or transit, and proudly proclaims he's now blessed to drive his car. Someone save us.

Can we please have transit experts, not preachers, run transit agencies? Is that asking too much? Can the position be something other than a political patronage job?

Sounds like this can turn into SEPTA outside of Philadelphia which will make things worse than they currently are.

SolarWind May 27, 2024 4:59 PM

Damen Green Line Station - Lake Street and Damen Avenue
 
May 6, 2024














ardecila May 29, 2024 3:10 PM

They have 12 weeks to get this station open before the DNC at the United Center... clock is ticking.

sammyg May 31, 2024 10:50 PM

The Clinton station was closed for testing for around 12 weeks even after everything was complete. This will just sit there during the DNC looking impressive but unable to be used.

VKChaz Jun 2, 2024 4:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sammyg (Post 10216169)
The Clinton station was closed for testing for around 12 weeks even after everything was complete. This will just sit there during the DNC looking impressive but unable to be used.

I would think the city would be happy to have the site less accessible to the public

ardecila Jun 3, 2024 2:38 PM

I'm guessing they open the station temporarily during the convention, maybe with some barricades and temporary fare equipment then close it again to do punchlist. Seems unlikely they can get everything done by August.

Randomguy34 Jun 9, 2024 7:47 PM

Metra is working on a Systemwide Network Plan to support Metra's transition to a regional rail system. They emphasized the study is focused on infrastructure investments for local service rather than to the suburbs (like the STAR Line): https://chi.streetsblog.org/2024/06/...-metra-meeting

Some ideas on the table include trains every 15 minutes on some lines, through-running service, and service to O'Hare & Fulton Market. Some of these ideas aren't new, but what is new is potential service to Midway Airport. The only two options I can see being possible is if Metra extended the Heritage Corridor (which would add additional congestion to Union Station), or revived some version of the Midcity Transitway.

https://activetrans.org/sites/active.../lime_line.jpg
https://activetrans.org/blog/lime-li...t-to-west-side

Nouvellecosse Jun 9, 2024 9:42 PM

What are the main barriers to increasing Metra rail frequency? Is it just the North American classic of freight operators not allowing enough track access? Or are there unique local challenges?

IrishIllini Jun 14, 2024 12:47 AM

Why can't we just start with a N/S line under Ashland or Western? Even Damen. Most everything Metra could do is too far west to make any meaningful difference and the circle line isn't much better.

Crawford Jun 14, 2024 2:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 10222081)
What are the main barriers to increasing Metra rail frequency? Is it just the North American classic of freight operators not allowing enough track access? Or are there unique local challenges?

A lot of the Metra corridors are potentially pretty high capacity. There are 3 and 4 track corridors that I imagine could handle both increased freight and passenger, in tandem. But that obviously costs a lot of money, and not sure if there's currently anything near the ridership demand.

k1052 Jun 14, 2024 4:09 PM

Buy more battery trains and run 15 minute headway service to Davis on UP-North. Install a crossover just south of the station and partially reactivate the west most track as a stub at the station.

Crawford Jun 14, 2024 5:16 PM

I'm pretty sure the heaviest present Metra service is on the Naperville line. They have the highest frequencies and biggest passenger loads. Pretty sure it's three tracks most of the way, too.

The South Shore electric main line has the highest capacity (four tracks) but I don't think ridership is great.

VivaLFuego Jun 14, 2024 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Randomguy34 (Post 10222044)
Some of these ideas aren't new, but what is new is potential service to Midway Airport. The only two options I can see being possible is if Metra extended the Heritage Corridor (which would add additional congestion to Union Station), or revived some version of the Midcity Transitway.

Or just any opportunities for improving connectivity with the Orange Line - potentially 16th/Clark if the 'crossrail' concept is built.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 10222081)
What are the main barriers to increasing Metra rail frequency? Is it just the North American classic of freight operators not allowing enough track access? Or are there unique local challenges?

It varies quite a bit by route - whether Metra owns the ROW or not, and whether there are conflicting freight movements. The ME, RI, and MD lines are owned by Metra and are generally easiest to expand service, but will still have limits due to scheduling, infrastructure, staffing, etc. as well as some coordination conflicts for crossings.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 10225777)
The South Shore electric main line has the highest capacity (four tracks) but I don't think ridership is great.

ME ridership has suffered pretty drastically over the past 15-20 years with a combination of general continual economic decline in the South suburbs and Metra fare increases. Recent fare policies and the re-scheduling to provide ~20 minute service to Hyde Park helped stabilize the decline.
https://www.rtams.org/ridership/metra/lines

Busy Bee Jun 14, 2024 6:26 PM

I had an old friend that used to travel from Kankakee to University Park to downtown on ME and then to DePaul four days a week. Now that's a shitty commute. I just looked up and saw that Kankakee suspended their Univ Park shuttle.

Nouvellecosse Jun 14, 2024 6:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 10225420)
A lot of the Metra corridors are potentially pretty high capacity. There are 3 and 4 track corridors that I imagine could handle both increased freight and passenger, in tandem. But that obviously costs a lot of money, and not sure if there's currently anything near the ridership demand.

Would be great if that capacity could be put to good use. Might work if they bought a fleet of DMUs for off-peak services.

Quote:

Originally Posted by VivaLFuego (Post 10225842)
It varies quite a bit by route - whether Metra owns the ROW or not, and whether there are conflicting freight movements. The ME, RI, and MD lines are owned by Metra and are generally easiest to expand service, but will still have limits due to scheduling, infrastructure, staffing, etc. as well as some coordination conflicts for crossings.

Oh that's interesting. I wasn't aware that Metra owned any of the corridors.

ardecila Jun 17, 2024 2:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 10225777)
I'm pretty sure the heaviest present Metra service is on the Naperville line. They have the highest frequencies and biggest passenger loads. Pretty sure it's three tracks most of the way, too.

The BNSF is all three tracks to the end in Aurora and was optimized for high speeds during the streamliner era. There's a reason they call it the "Racetrack". A fourth track has been contemplated, but the wealthy NIMBYs in western suburbs will fight that tooth and nail, similar to LIRR's Main Line.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 10225883)
Would be great if that capacity could be put to good use. Might work if they bought a fleet of DMUs for off-peak services.

Metra is rolling out battery EMUs on Rock Island in a few years and they are open to using that rolling stock on other parts of the system if they can work the kinks out. I'm skeptical that battery technology will be reliable enough for Chicago winters, though.

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 10225699)
Buy more battery trains and run 15 minute headway service to Davis on UP-North. Install a crossover just south of the station and partially reactivate the west most track as a stub at the station.

Any "regional rail" overlay service should go to the North Shore, which historically had the interurban as well as CNW commuter service. It's low density but at least highly walkable, and there's been a trickle of new housing developments in those downtowns too. If you're just going to where the density cuts off, I would suggest Wilmette as the terminus, but you could go all the way to Lake Forest before there is any kind of freight conflict.

Busy Bee Jun 17, 2024 2:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10227188)
The BNSF is all three tracks to the end in Aurora and was optimized for high speeds during the streamliner era. There's a reason they call it the "Racetrack". A fourth track has been contemplated, but the wealthy NIMBYs in western suburbs will fight that tooth and nail, similar to LIRR's Main Line.


Not if it's seasoned with some hugely beneficial grade separations. That might get them to roll over.

Busy Bee Jun 17, 2024 2:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10227188)
Metra is rolling out battery EMUs on Rock Island in a few years and they are open to using that rolling stock on other parts of the system if they can work the kinks out. I'm skeptical that battery technology will be reliable enough for Chicago winters, though.


Plus god knows what the affect will be with the sharks.

ardecila Jun 17, 2024 3:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10227194)
Not if it's seasoned with some hugely beneficial grade separations. That might get them to roll over.

LOL, I doubt it. Grade separations are big, ugly and disruptive to downtowns. Caltrain has run into the NIMBY buzzsaw on plenty of grade-sep projects, I don't think Metra/BNSF is any different.

BNSF also doesn't really have an issue with blocked crossings like some other parts of the country, so keeping the status quo isn't very painful to residents/drivers. BNSF keeps freight trains moving, with colossal staging yards at Eola and Cicero and trains shuttling non-stop between them. The high train volume means a lot of overall downtime at grade crossings, but only for short periods. And the busiest roads are already grade-separated.

k1052 Jun 17, 2024 4:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10227188)
Any "regional rail" overlay service should go to the North Shore, which historically had the interurban as well as CNW commuter service. It's low density but at least highly walkable, and there's been a trickle of new housing developments in those downtowns too. If you're just going to where the density cuts off, I would suggest Wilmette as the terminus, but you could go all the way to Lake Forest before there is any kind of freight conflict.

I'm not opposed to that but those towns would probably throw a major hissy over accommodating a layover area and charging infrastructure.

Nouvellecosse Jun 17, 2024 4:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10227188)
Metra is rolling out battery EMUs on Rock Island in a few years and they are open to using that rolling stock on other parts of the system if they can work the kinks out. I'm skeptical that battery technology will be reliable enough for Chicago winters, though.

Fortunately I haven't heard of cold temps affecting battery reliability. Batteries have less range when cold but the reduction is quite predictable and is something that one can plan for. You just need a higher capacity to allow for the drop, and adding a battery warming system which are becoming quite common on electric cars also helps.

Busy Bee Jun 17, 2024 5:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 10227286)
...and adding a battery warming system which are becoming quite common on electric cars also helps.

Isn't that kind of like a wheel rotor turbine? The energy to warm the batteries is still coming from the batteries is it not? Or is it from solar or regenerative braking or something?

Nouvellecosse Jun 17, 2024 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10227291)
Isn't that kind of like a wheel rotor turbine? The energy to warm the batteries is still coming from the batteries is it not? Or is it from solar or regenerative braking or something?

Yes the energy comes from the battery bus it draws less power than one gains from keeping the battery in an optimal operating range. Like if a vehicle had a 200 mile range at 70F but only a 150 mile range at 10F, the warming system might draw enough power to lower the 70F range from 200 miles to 190 miles. But the since the battery is at optimal temp, the 10F range is then also around 190 miles. And of course it takes more power to heat the interior for the passengers so you're using more total energy when it's cold, but it's something fairly easy to predict. So the fact that it comes from the battery isn't really relevant.

Bonsai Tree Jun 17, 2024 5:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 10227188)
Metra is rolling out battery EMUs on Rock Island in a few years and they are open to using that rolling stock on other parts of the system if they can work the kinks out. I'm skeptical that battery technology will be reliable enough for Chicago winters, though.


Any "regional rail" overlay service should go to the North Shore, which historically had the interurban as well as CNW commuter service. It's low density but at least highly walkable, and there's been a trickle of new housing developments in those downtowns too. If you're just going to where the density cuts off, I would suggest Wilmette as the terminus, but you could go all the way to Lake Forest before there is any kind of freight conflict.

This is already the plan- the RTA put in a grant request from the feds for more electric train sets beyond what Metra already bought

Quote:

$125 million for Metra to purchase 32 battery-powered trailer cars and 8 docking stations that will allow Metra to retire 16 of its oldest diesel locomotives and add service on three high-ridership lines: Union Pacific North, Milwaukee District West, and the Rock Island Beverly Branch. Metra plans to become the first passenger rail provider in the U.S. to introduce battery-electric trains.
https://www.rtachicago.org/blog/2024...-climate-goals

Busy Bee Jun 17, 2024 5:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse (Post 10227313)
Yes the energy comes from the battery bus it draws less power than one gains from keeping the battery in an optimal operating range. Like if a vehicle had a 200 mile range at 70F but only a 150 mile range at 10F, the warming system might draw enough power to lower the 70F range from 200 miles to 190 miles. But the since the battery is at optimal temp, the 10F range is then also around 190 miles. And of course it takes more power to heat the interior for the passengers so you're using more total energy when it's cold, but it's something fairly easy to predict. So the fact that it comes from the battery isn't really relevant.

So you're saying it's complicated? ;)

SIGSEGV Jun 17, 2024 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 10227341)
So you're saying it's complicated? ;)

I think it's both complicated and well-understood.


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