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electricron Jul 18, 2009 8:30 PM

Looks like the entire Chicago Hub HSR network will rely upon Talgo technology that's been used by Amtrak before for the Cascades train.

http://www.trainweb.org/usarail/cascades_train.gif
http://www.amtrakcascades.com/images...edmonds_10.jpg

An additional disc brake per bogie is required for faster speeds, otherwise the speeds of these rail cars is limited by their locomotives.

brian_b Jul 19, 2009 2:46 AM

I was minding my own business tonight when I looked out the window and saw what looked like a tour boat that had lost control and ran into the river bank near Wolf Point. I grabbed my camera and went out on my balcony. After zooming in, I see that they indeed ran into the river bank, but it was on purpose - they wanted the perfect backdrop for the wedding ceremony:

I thought it was funny and didn't really know where to put it, so this may be the best forum fit.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2464/...161543e5_o.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10015939@N08/3733109659

BVictor1 Jul 19, 2009 3:06 AM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_238710.html

Big Cash Infusion Could Ease Chicago's Snarling Train Traffic

First Posted: 07-17-09 08:15 PM | Updated: 07-17-09 08:25 PM


CHICAGO (AP) -- When a train screeches to a halt in Chicago, freight and passenger trains from as far away as Baltimore or Los Angeles are sometimes forced to apply their brakes as well - which can result in costly gridlock throughout the nation's 140,000-mile rail network.

But a fresh injection of cash, including a generous slice of a new $10 billion state capital plan, means a long-languishing, $1.5 billion project to ease train traffic jams in the nation's most important rail hub by building new overpasses and modernizing signals can begin in earnest.

The unofficial motto of the congestion-reduction project, widely considered one of the most vital to the long-term financial health of some of the nation's biggest railroad companies, is "Keeping the 'go' in Chicago."

As it is now, it's often no go.

The 500 freight trains that pass through Chicago each day compete for access to tracks with 700 daily commuter trains in the region. This means trains hauling everything from coal to grocery items can take more than a day to wind their way through Chicago.

The Illinois bill sets aside $320 million for the project - money that will be pooled with more than $200 million raised earlier.

"This is a very big deal - the largest single amount of money awarded to this project," Earl Wacker, a recently retired rail executive and an authority on rail congestion, said Friday. "Earlier, I wasn't confident this would get done. Now, I'm extremely confident it will."

Six of the seven largest railroads operating in the United States run trains through or to Chicago. All have contributed money to the project, dubbed the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency program, or CREATE.

"There are projects of importance to different railroads, but this brings so many railroads together. That's historic," said Holly Arthur, a spokeswoman for the Association of American Railroads. She calls the money Illinois put up "a tremendous milestone."

Proponents say long-standing support from President Barack Obama should help efforts to secure the remaining costs.

At least $300 million in federal stimulus money could soon be approved for CREATE, which was first drawn up in 2003. A separate transportation reauthorization bill working its way through Congress could set aside $500 million or more.

Advocates say taking steps to solve Chicago logjams should also greatly boost Illinois' bid for a cut of $8 billion in federal stimulus money marked for high-speed rail. Illinois and neighboring states want a Midwest high-speed network with Chicago as its hub.

"CREATE and high-speed rail for the Midwest are inextricably linked," said Kevin Brubaker, deputy director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago. "To make high-speed rail work, we need to clear up congestion in Chicago."

CREATE is comprised of nearly 80 separate projects, from 25 roadway overpasses or underpasses that would divert cars above or below busy tracks to viaduct improvements and upgrades of track switches and signals.

The project says on its Web site that its price tag is $1.5 billion. But the cost of completing all the projects by 2020 probably will be closer to $2.5 billion because of rising construction costs, said Larry Wilson, an Illinois Department of Transportation official.

The sharp economic downturn and a 20 percent dip in freight train traffic this year compared to last has eased congestion in parts of the country - with empty trains idled for months on sidetracks in some places.

But congestion in the network's main bottleneck of Chicago remains a daily headache, delaying freight as well as commuter and Amtrak passengers. And despite current slowdowns, the U.S. Department of Transportation still expects demand for rail freight to double over the next 25 years.

In recent years, about 40 percent of all U.S. rail freight has come through Chicago on more than 150,000 trains a year. Nearly all the major routes of the rail freight system come through one or more of the region's 80 rail yards. It's why a single delayed train here can force those thousands of miles away to stop or slow down.

MayorOfChicago Jul 23, 2009 3:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brian_b (Post 4365034)
I was minding my own business tonight when I looked out the window and saw what looked like a tour boat that had lost control and ran into the river bank near Wolf Point. I grabbed my camera and went out on my balcony. After zooming in, I see that they indeed ran into the river bank, but it was on purpose - they wanted the perfect backdrop for the wedding ceremony:

I thought it was funny and didn't really know where to put it, so this may be the best forum fit.

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2464/...161543e5_o.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/10015939@N08/3733109659

That's funny, my good friend was at that wedding, and posted a picture from that angle on his facebook...

Taft Jul 24, 2009 5:30 PM

This really pisses me off:

http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2...-amendment.ars

Quote:

What's the difference between the advertisements for violent films and the advertisements for violent games? You can advertise one on the side of buses in Chicago, and the other one you can't. The Entertainment Software Association has a slight problem with that policy, and has filed suit against the Chicago Transit Authority.
Why in the world would the CTA spend money trying to enact and defend this decision? At a time when tax revenues are way down and they are having trouble filling gaps in their budget, they are really going to go to court to defend a policy with questionable legal underpinnings? Really? Not only that, but they are pissing off a group of advertisers that could be pumping money into the CTA. All to "protect the children" from evil video games...ugh.

ChicagoChicago Jul 24, 2009 6:17 PM

:previous:

That just seems ludicrous...

schwerve Jul 25, 2009 4:47 PM

Wellington Brown Line Station to Reopen Thursday, July 30
Quote:

The CTA’s Brown Line Wellington station will reopen to customers and resume rail service Thursday, July 30 following a 16-month temporary closure for construction as part of the line’s capacity expansion project.

ardecila Jul 26, 2009 8:39 AM

^ Good news about Wellington. No more closures! The Brown Line is back to normal operation for the forseeable future.

Does anyone know the status of CTA's order for the new railcars? Everyone said they would be appearing in 2009, but so far, they have not shown up.

electricron Jul 26, 2009 10:13 PM

Through a competitive RFP process, CTA selected Bombardier Transit Corporation located in Bensalem, Pennsylvania for the contract. The CTA issued a Notice to Proceed to Bombardier at the end of July 2006 to begin assembly of the cars. The contract calls for delivery of the 10 prototype cars within 30 months (by December 2009) after official Notice to Proceed is given by the CTA. The Chicago Transit Board granted permission on October 11, 2006 to issue up to $275 million in revenue bonds to help pay for new rail cars and buses and to continue capital improvement projects.
Delivery of prototype rail cars is expected in late 2009. The 10 prototype cars will get at least nine months of testing -- in Chicago's snowy winter and humid summer -- before other new cars are delivered by Bombardier. Construction will go forward at a slow pace during the testing period. Production of the base order of 206 is expected to begin in 2009 with delivery beginning in 2010. If the first option is exercised for 200 additional rail cars, delivery is expected to begin in 2012. Under the contract with Bombardier, CTA® will be able to exercise other options for an additional 216 rail cars and another 84 rail cars for airport service as funding becomes available.

k1052 Jul 27, 2009 1:14 PM

Now if they can only get the auxiliary entrance on the north side of Belmont open so people aren't playing real life Frogger trying to cross the street.

Mr Downtown Jul 27, 2009 9:15 PM

^Why is this station different from others, or for that matter, from the way it was for a hundred years?

BVictor1 Jul 27, 2009 9:40 PM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/0..._n_245060.html

Governors Holding Midwest High Speed Rail Summit, Sign Pact

First Posted: 07-26-09 03:08 PM | Updated: 07-27-09 04:16 PM

CHICAGO (AP) -- The governors of eight Midwest states have agreed to set up a steering committee to help with their bid for federal cash to pay for a regional high-speed rail network.

The eight states have worked together for months to promote such a system with Chicago as its hub.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and governors from four other states met in Chicago on Monday to sign a memorandum establishing the Midwest Rail Steering Group. That group will coordinate the states' application for a share of the $8 billion in federal stimulus cash for such projects.

Competition for the money is stiff. Officials say 40 states have submitted 278 plans totaling $102 billion for federal rail funding.

In addition to Quinn, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland also attended the meeting in Chicago.

emathias Jul 27, 2009 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4377282)
^Why is this station different from others, or for that matter, from the way it was for a hundred years?

If you're referring to Belmont, it's not currently different from how it was "for 100 years," except that (apparently, based on the comment) it's slated to have an auxillary entrance on the north side of the street in addition to the main entrance on the south side of the street.

Many of the new stations have additional auxillary entrances. Which, I have to admit, is really nice. I love that the Brown Line stop nearest me - Chicago Ave - now has entrances at Superior Street, too, since that's 1 block less walking for me.

Mr Downtown Jul 28, 2009 1:49 AM

I understand the value of auxiliary entrances on a different street. The reopening of Polk has been tremendously helpful to me personally.

But k1052 makes it sound like it's unsafe or a terrible burden for people to cross the street, as they've done perfectly well for generations.

spyguy Jul 28, 2009 2:52 AM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1642137.story

Water taxi will serve River North via Erie Street stop
Service links neighborhood with Union Station, Mag Mile

By Sally S. Ho
July 28, 2009


It's not as romantic as gondola ride, but commuting via water taxi has come to the River North neighborhood of Chicago.

Opening for the first time for the Monday morning commute, the new Erie Street stop is at the edge of Erie Park between North Larrabee and West Erie Streets along the River Walk.

This pilot season for the River North Water Taxi, which runs until September, has permanent stops at Michigan Avenue and Willis Tower/Union Station. Officials with the taxi company, Shoreline Sightseeing, say the commute to Michigan Avenue is about 15 minutes.

ardecila Jul 28, 2009 7:39 AM

^^ Did they re-purpose the footing of the (former) Erie Street Bridge as the dock? It's right by the stairs down to riverwalk level, and it's the only straight segment of shoreline.

k1052 Jul 28, 2009 1:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4377615)
I understand the value of auxiliary entrances on a different street. The reopening of Polk has been tremendously helpful to me personally.

But k1052 makes it sound like it's unsafe or a terrible burden for people to cross the street, as they've done perfectly well for generations.

If you camp out there during a morning from about 7-8 you will see all the people that cross mid-block instead of using the crosswalk at Sheffield, particularly people getting off the Belmont bus. I'd consider that unsafe.

emathias Jul 28, 2009 2:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4378086)
^^ Did they re-purpose the footing of the (former) Erie Street Bridge as the dock? It's right by the stairs down to riverwalk level, and it's the only straight segment of shoreline.

no, they're using another straight section by the dog park, just north of that landing between Erie and Huron.

Their published schedule says they go to 200 S Wacker at 7:10am, which I liked since I work in that building. But when I walked over there on Monday morning, they said their 7:10 departure was going to MIchigan Avenue.

Screw them if they can't even stick to a published schedule. Tourist's probably can roll with the punches, but as a commuter I can't afford to try and figure out their invisible or, worse, knowingly incorrectly published schedules.

ChicagoChicago Jul 28, 2009 2:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4377615)
I understand the value of auxiliary entrances on a different street. The reopening of Polk has been tremendously helpful to me personally.

But k1052 makes it sound like it's unsafe or a terrible burden for people to cross the street, as they've done perfectly well for generations.

Actually, yes, it is unsafe to cross the street there. The station is in the middle of the 1000-900 block of Belmont so cars are moving quite fast. There are literally thousands of people that cross the street there because most people that get off at Belmont catch the 77 bus at the northeast corner of Sheffield and Belmont and don't cross at the crosswalk.

Mr Downtown Jul 28, 2009 5:04 PM

So, what's "unsafe" about people in a city crossing a two-lane street?

Jaywalking is a concept invented by the motorists' lobby in the 1920s.

lawfin Jul 28, 2009 5:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4378519)
So, what's "unsafe" about people in a city crossing a two-lane street?

Jaywalking is a concept invented by the motorists' lobby in the 1920s.

Agreed...I was just going to say...listen to your Mom...look both ways....you'll be fine

ChicagoChicago Jul 28, 2009 5:37 PM

^^^
What's unsafe? Other than the fact that thousands of people crossing the street each day slow traffic and increase the likelihood of accidents, nothing is unsafe about crossing the street. I'd like to think everyone is as responsible as I am, but the city of Chicago has 3 million people. Some of them are bound to be irresponsible or forget to look both ways every once in a while.

If the CTA can reduce those odds by opening a station entrance on the north side of the street, it's money well spent.

k1052 Jul 28, 2009 7:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4378519)
So, what's "unsafe" about people in a city crossing a two-lane street?

Jaywalking is a concept invented by the motorists' lobby in the 1920s.

I'm not sure, perhaps the people literally stepping into traffic expecting it to stop for them.

Go take a look at morning and evening rush and tell me there isn't a problem.

ardecila Jul 28, 2009 7:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoChicago (Post 4378576)
If the CTA can reduce those odds by opening a station entrance on the north side of the street, it's money well spent.

Not if you can spend 95% less and just open a crosswalk. There's one at Irving Park that works nicely.

k1052 Jul 28, 2009 8:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4378802)
Not if you can spend 95% less and just open a crosswalk. There's one at Irving Park that works nicely.

I guess the CTA thought it was worth it for a station that sees more than four times the rider entrances that Irving Park does.

OhioGuy Jul 29, 2009 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4378743)
I'm not sure, perhaps the people literally stepping into traffic expecting it to stop for them.

Go take a look at morning and evening rush and tell me there isn't a problem.

It is a little frustrating trying to cross Belmont to get to the station entrance. When I catch the train from that station, I'm typically coming from the north which means I always have to dodge traffic to get to the station unless I want to walk down to the end of the block just to backtrack to the station. The north entrance will be immensely convenient for people. While I'm sure there will still be people trying to cross the street in the future, particularly when they exit the platform at the wrong stairwell, I'm guessing the number of people crossing busy Belmont will drop quite a fair from what it currently is. The less possibility for vehicle/pedestrian collisions, the better IMHO.

ardecila Jul 29, 2009 4:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4378876)
I guess the CTA thought it was worth it for a station that sees more than four times the rider entrances that Irving Park does.

Oh, I appreciate the addition of the entrance. I'm just trying to point out that it's a very expensive solution to the problem - especially when the crosswalk at Sheffield is only, what, 150 feet away?

k1052 Jul 29, 2009 1:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4379871)
Oh, I appreciate the addition of the entrance. I'm just trying to point out that it's a very expensive solution to the problem - especially when the crosswalk at Sheffield is only, what, 150 feet away?

I know that sounds logical but it just isn't what people are doing as OhioGuy notes above. People are always going to take the shortcut unless there's an aux entrance.

There is also good news in that the old station house has a use and wasn't just demolished.

ChicagoChicago Jul 29, 2009 1:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 4379835)
It is a little frustrating trying to cross Belmont to get to the station entrance. When I catch the train from that station, I'm typically coming from the north which means I always have to dodge traffic to get to the station unless I want to walk down to the end of the block just to backtrack to the station. The north entrance will be immensely convenient for people. While I'm sure there will still be people trying to cross the street in the future, particularly when they exit the platform at the wrong stairwell, I'm guessing the number of people crossing busy Belmont will drop quite a fair from what it currently is. The less possibility for vehicle/pedestrian collisions, the better IMHO.

It should reduce traffic congestion as well, as cars don't have to constantly wait on people to cross in front of them.

ardecila Jul 30, 2009 8:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 4380211)
There is also good news in that the old station house has a use and wasn't just demolished.

I believe the CTA can't use Federal money to tear down certain types of historic structures. If that's the case, then they didn't have a choice about saving the stationhouses.

Mr Downtown Jul 30, 2009 1:43 PM

^Only structures listed on the National Register. I doubt that would include any Brown Line stations, except perhaps Armitage.

ardecila Jul 30, 2009 3:38 PM

^ Thanks for the clarification. I thought contributing structures in historic districts counted, too...

Mr Downtown Jul 31, 2009 4:04 AM

Contributing structures within a National Register District would count. But where on the North Side, other than Armitage, would a National Register District include an L station?

ardecila Aug 1, 2009 4:03 AM

Speaking of showing some respect to historic stations... can anybody tell me why Union Station (the main building) has gotten such unfair treatment over the years?

First, it loses its concourse in a sacrifice to the gods of commerce, resulting in what is perhaps Chicago's most boring office tower - which, by the way, is a carbon copy of One Shell Square in New Orleans.

The concourse had an interior atrium modeled after those at Penn Station in New York - an open, glassy space with lots of lacy ironwork. In another sacrifice to the gods of commerce, Burnham designed the headhouse to be capped off with an office building. But with or without an office building, the result is an extremely ungainly and awkward classical structure that is only redeemed by its wonderful atrium.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3469/...fb8280c67f.jpg The former concourse.

Then, in a series of annoying but understandable moves, Metra decides to shift EVERYTHING, including ticket sales, Amtrak baggage, shops, and waiting rooms to the mezzanine level above the tracks, moving everything out of the only remaining part of the Burnham design and hiring - get this - Lucien Lagrange to build the new, cramped underground facilities.

Today, Union Station is all but forgotten, hiding in plain sight. Its taxi turnarounds are shut down for national security reasons, although they aren't within range of anything passenger-related, thanks to Metra's eastward shift. Its atrium is still soaring and awe-inspiring, but the benches are just used by people eating lunch or grabbing some Zs. The train departure sign in the center is scuffed, tacky, and far too small for the space. Just off the main space is an arcade - the video game kind - where you can find Dinosaur Hunter and a Playboy pinball machine. Hardly fitting of Burnham's legacy.

While many other cities have repurposed their unused and/or oversized railroad stations, Chicago continues to let our station languish. They barely even clean it. The West Loop Transportation Center notwithstanding, Chicago needs to find a good use for this space that draws the crowds. Hopefully Metra and Amtrak can undo their mistake and move train-related stuff back into the headhouse. If they don't, then the city needs to find restaurants and museums and other things to bring the people in.

Mr Downtown Aug 1, 2009 6:20 AM

^Unfair treatment compared to Central, Grand Central, LaSalle Street, and North Western Stations? We should just be glad it's still here!

The main reason in recent years is probably Amtrak ownership. It was NRPC, not Metra, who hired Lagrange for the early 90s remodeling. Perennially cash-strapped NRPC can't afford to air-condition the Great Hall, though they did at least restore it after the fire in the 80s and reopen the skylight. A run of bad luck, I guess, has prevented the office development from launching in three successive real estate cycles—though the design gets better each time it's proposed again.

And by the way, I don't think Burnham had much of anything to do with Union Station in Chicago. Burnham died three years before construction began. The spendid plan and circulation scheme was all worked out by Thomas Rodd of the Pennsylvania R.R., and the neoclassical design (even the office building scheme added as an afterthought) was by Peirce Anderson.

VivaLFuego Aug 1, 2009 6:35 AM

How did it function/circulate prior to the early 90s remodel? I can't remember. Agreed that the current configuration is incredibly lame given the importance it should have.

Mr Downtown Aug 1, 2009 3:35 PM

My memory has also grown hazy, but I think the only Amtrak waiting area in the concourse side was a small one for sleeping-car passengers. The Lagrange remodel pushed the east wall of that level out onto a former track area to create the new Amtrak waiting area. The Metra ticket windows, and maybe the Amtrak ticket windows as well, were located in the passageway under Canal Street. Food service and other vendors were scattered around both sides of that passageway, not upstairs in the concourse. I think the escalators bringing Metra pax in from Riverside Plaza came down in the middle of the current Amtrak maelstrom, creating a ball of confusion there.

Even originally, in the heyday of train travel, I think 75% of the action was always in the concourse building. You had waiting long-distance pax populating the Great Hall, you had arriving and departing taxi patrons, and you had the restaurants on the west side pulling people over that way, but functionally the headhouse building was always a cul-de-sac west of the real action.

I might say that Amtrak in recent years has been looking seriously at another remodel, as growing patronage is again overwhelming their facilities at CUS. To me the greatest loss is the closing of the taxi drives, which has created huge traffic congestion upstairs for very dubious security reasons.

ardecila Aug 1, 2009 11:33 PM

I agree about the taxi drives. As far as I can tell, the station would be no more vulnerable than it is now, with a full street grid above the station.

I'm hoping that Amtrak will put some of its high-speed rail money into a repurposing of the Great Hall. According the Midwest HSR website, they sold most of the rights to an events-planning firm.

Of course, if the West Loop Transportation Center is ever built, the west alcove of the Great Hall will probably be turned into an escalator bank down to the Clinton concourse, and the Great Hall itself will become a critical artery connecting Metra and conventional Amtrak with the Red Line and high-speed trains.

Both Washington and Kansas City offer wonderful models of how cavernous and oversized station spaces can be repurposed to once again return throngs of people to the space. Kansas City used museums and a handful of shops, while Washington used shopping, a food court, and destination restaurants. Both of these are done tastefully, unlike the travesty that is St. Louis Union Station.

the urban politician Aug 2, 2009 2:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4386098)
Both Washington and Kansas City offer wonderful models of how cavernous and oversized station spaces can be repurposed to once again return throngs of people to the space. Kansas City used museums and a handful of shops, while Washington used shopping, a food court, and destination restaurants. Both of these are done tastefully, unlike the travesty that is St. Louis Union Station.

^ Serious? What's wrong with St Louis' Union Station? It's basically a retail center, and the last time I went there it seemed to attract a pretty good number of patrons.

Busy Bee Aug 2, 2009 3:28 PM

Its because its a lame mall in a grand space with no active rail activity. If that isn't a shame, I don't know what is.

the urban politician Aug 2, 2009 3:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4386737)
Its because its a lame mall in a grand space with no active rail activity. If that isn't a shame, I don't know what is.

^ It's a historic building that has found active reuse. Let's get a sense of perspective, if you want to see a real shame, look no further than this:

http://z.about.com/d/detroit/1/0/1/-...traldepot1.jpg

orulz Aug 2, 2009 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4386098)
Of course, if the West Loop Transportation Center is ever built, the west alcove of the Great Hall will probably be turned into an escalator bank down to the Clinton concourse, and the Great Hall itself will become a critical artery connecting Metra and conventional Amtrak with the Red Line and high-speed trains.

I really wonder whether the HSR portion of the WLTC makes any sense at all. The diagrams that I have seen depict it as the bottom level of a 5-level cut-and-cover complex under Clinton Street. Clinton is narrow enough so that there would really only be room for two HSR platforms. Or, at best, four - if it's arranged as a two-sided terminal station like Union Station. That just ain't enough.

To make enough space for a real station, it would have to be a great deal deeper than that to allow for a bored / mined cavern-style terminal - on the order of 150 feet underground for something like the East Side Access terminal in Manhattan. Reconfiguring Union Station to allow for more through tracks and probably a fourth approach track from the north seems, to me, like a better solution.

Busy Bee Aug 2, 2009 6:20 PM

TUP: Touche.

ardecila Aug 2, 2009 6:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orulz (Post 4386900)
I really wonder whether the HSR portion of the WLTC makes any sense at all. The diagrams that I have seen depict it as the bottom level of a 5-level cut-and-cover complex under Clinton Street. Clinton is narrow enough so that there would really only be room for two HSR platforms. Or, at best, four - if it's arranged as a two-sided terminal station like Union Station. That just ain't enough.

To make enough space for a real station, it would have to be a great deal deeper than that to allow for a bored / mined cavern-style terminal - on the order of 150 feet underground for something like the East Side Access terminal in Manhattan. Reconfiguring Union Station to allow for more through tracks and probably a fourth approach track from the north seems, to me, like a better solution.

I seriously question the configuration of the West Loop Transportation Center as it stands, especially the need for a pedestrian concourse running the length. Close off Clinton, make Canal two directions, and then the surface of Canal will be the pedestrian component. That will also allow for more and larger skylights to bring sunlight down into the tunnel.

Also, the bus level could probably be scrapped and moved to the surface as well. By placing subway entrances in surrounding buildings, the need for a mezzanine can be avoided. Then you could build only a three-level tunnel with one CTA level and two rail levels.

bnk Aug 2, 2009 8:09 PM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5724954.story


Commuter rail line in NW Indiana plans shutdowns

Associated Press

5:32 PM CDT, August 1, 2009

GARY, Ind.

The South Shore commuter rail line in northwestern Indiana plans to suspend service along parts of its route on five upcoming weekends as well as about two full weeks in October.

The Times of Munster reports electric cable and bridge work on the line that carries passengers to and from Chicago will be done.

The first weekend suspension between South Bend and Gary's Metro Center is planned for the weekend of Aug. 29.

All service between South Bend and Michigan City will be suspended for a two-week period sometime between Oct. 18 and Nov. 6.

------

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

electricron Aug 2, 2009 8:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bnk (Post 4387047)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,5724954.storyCommuter rail line in NW Indiana plans shutdowns
All service between South Bend and Michigan City will be suspended for a two-week period sometime between Oct. 18 and Nov. 6.

Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

Gasp! In the middle of Notre Dame football season! Horrible timing!

Mr Downtown Aug 2, 2009 10:10 PM

TUP, I don't know when you were last in St. Louis Union Station, but it's just barely wheezing along. A few food places and T-shirt shops, and lots and lots of vacant storefronts. I fear it will go the way of Indianapolis's.

Though obviously it will wait for better times, I don't think there's much question that Chicago Union Station will eventually have some combination of office, condo, and hotel in a new tower that "completes" the original massing scheme for the headhouse. The Great Hall will be restored and serve as a combination of lobby and retail space.

http://img366.imageshack.us/img366/4...station3vv.jpg

Busy Bee Aug 2, 2009 10:29 PM

^I do hope so.


I didn't know about the St. Louis Union station mall getting so bad, that makes it suck even worse. Haha, I went to Six Flags and Union Station for my 8th grade class trip in 1996. The mall seemed pretty hopping, but even then at that age I remember thinking how much of a disgrace it was to have a cheesy mall in a former grand and beautiful train terminal. I bought a copy New Electric Railway Journal from a hobby shop there that day.

the urban politician Aug 3, 2009 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4387170)
TUP, I don't know when you were last in St. Louis Union Station, but it's just barely wheezing along. A few food places and T-shirt shops, and lots and lots of vacant storefronts. I fear it will go the way of Indianapolis's.

^ That's unfortunate. I was last there about 2002 and it seemed to be doing alright then

ardecila Aug 3, 2009 2:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4387332)
^ That's unfortunate. I was last there about 2002 and it seemed to be doing alright then

Imagine Navy Pier if half the storefronts were empty and you have St. Louis Union Station. At least the hotel is nice, though.

As for the planned highrise: I worry about Lagrange's ability to pull off something appropriate. The staff at that firm seems to be completely oblivious, given their huge blunder at 10 East Delaware. Surprisingly, they have also produced beautifully-executed modern buildings, like Erie on the Park, but I heard that the designer behind it was fired.

I honestly don't know who I would trust to do something properly revivalist. There's been some good work in DC... maybe one of those guys? Robert AM Stern might also do a good job.


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