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

OrdoSeclorum Jun 14, 2018 12:54 PM

I'm still skeptical. Slightly less skeptical now. Excited about the possibilities, regardless. I'm interested in seeing what kind of contract the city signed and what the enforceable targets for deliverables and timetable are.

rlw777 Jun 14, 2018 2:56 PM

Just for a comparison

London's Heathrow Express train averages 708 passengers per hour or 17,000 passengers per day.

This Boring Company proposal is supposed to be able to handle 4000 passengers per hour (2000 per direction) or 98,000 passengers per day.

ardecila Jun 14, 2018 2:57 PM

Yeah, the devil's in the details for sure. We need to demand the city's agreement with Musk is made public before anything is finalized, to verify that taxpayers are not on the hook in any way here.

Jim in Chicago Jun 14, 2018 3:09 PM

I hope I'm wrong, but odds of building this given at anywhere near the cost estimates with no city funding are probably pretty close to zero. I guess the worst that could happen is that we have an empty partially completed tunnel to nowhere.

Kngkyle Jun 14, 2018 3:40 PM

This is a no risk huge reward for the city.

Opening this in conjunction with the new T2 in 2026 sounds plausible. The 2022 date mentioned? No way.

left of center Jun 14, 2018 3:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim in Chicago (Post 8220913)
I hope I'm wrong, but odds of building this given at anywhere near the cost estimates with no city funding are probably pretty close to zero. I guess the worst that could happen is that we have an empty partially completed tunnel to nowhere.

Musk isn't the type of guy that likes to fail, especially in a very public way. I'm pretty confident he did his homework before making an announcement like this. I doubt this is a PR stunt either; the type of PR Musk does is launching cars into space, not making baseless headlines. If it wasn't something that could be even remotely feasible, we wouldn't be hearing about it.

My only concern is any regulatory crap we might get from the state or the feds.

Baronvonellis Jun 14, 2018 4:35 PM

Oslo has the private company flytoget train to their airport that costs about $27, it goes along the same tracks as the public train to the airport though and isn't in a tunnel. It's used there, I don't think it is subsidized since it competes directly with their public transit. It only saves 5 minutes off the regular cheaper public train, and the public trains are beautiful and luxurious there. It does however, run more frequently at odd hours than the public trains. I had to take a early 7am flight and the public train wasn't available at 5am for another 30 minutes, and I would have been late so I ended up having to take it even though it was expensive. I could see people that have late night/early morning flights feeling more comfortable and safe taking Musk's tunnel ride, than the CTA. And it's cheaper than uber. A 12 minute direct ride to O'hare could be pretty popular, if he can pull it off.
I assume also he's already done the math on the costs to building the tunnel.

emathias Jun 14, 2018 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rlw777 (Post 8220884)
Just for a comparison

London's Heathrow Express train averages 708 passengers per hour or 17,000 passengers per day.

This Boring Company proposal is supposed to be able to handle 4000 passengers per hour (2000 per direction) or 98,000 passengers per day.

By comparison, the entire O'Hare branch of the Blue Line averages about 85,000 riders per weekday, and between 11,000 and 12,000 boardings at the O'Hare station, per weekday. So capacity seems plausible. As a premium service it won't see ridership comparable to a general purpose thing like the Blue Line. I don't have numbers for taxi service from O'Hare to downtown for comparison.

LouisVanDerWright Jun 14, 2018 5:35 PM

There's talk of it being so frequent and fast that people on multi hour layovers would be able to go downtown and hang out for a couple of hours between flights.

I didn't believe Musk about this technology until now, my gut was "yeah right, cut the costs of tunneling to a fraction, ok". But look at the pictures of the tunnels he did in California, it is indeed an entirely different technology. They feed in modular tunnel chunks that are essentially a rhombus curled to the radius of the tunnel. These chunks can fit down the tunnel itself and just be dropped into place as the machine advances. The chunks are all identical and you get a crush proof concrete tube with no cure time, no carpenters framing out forms, less people in the hole, etc. They also reduced the radius of the tunnel because they are planning on running lots of little cars instead of large trains. If you think about it, tunneling in a place like Chicago with extremely uniform stable soft soil shouldn't be that expensive. The costs come from doing it safely. We built 60 miles of freight tunnels on a whim, had people tunnel out under the lake for the cribs, it's not hard to dig here, it's hard to do it safely. Less people in the hole, less money. Smaller hole, less money. Smaller vehicles, smaller money.

This is actually also a very interesting move on Musk's part. If Tesla is really the next big US industrial giant on par with General Motors, then surely they will also try to do the same things that GM did when it rose to prominence and that's to terraform the urban environment to create markets for their products. If Boring Company succeeds, Tesla and therefore Musk stand to make an obscene amount of money as they basically do what GM did when it created it's bus business and then gutted the trolleys. They create an entirely new market for high speed transit vehicles which will undoubtedly come with huge margins until someone manages to match the technology and break into the market. If Musk can actually build this thing for $1 billion, and do it in Chicago of all places where labor costs are about as high as you will find for this kind of stuff, then there's going to be an endless line of cities around the world waving cash in his face.

Lot's of "if's" but very interesting IF.

Baronvonellis Jun 14, 2018 6:38 PM

Yea, I wonder how many taxi's/ubers go between ohare and downtown. It has to be alot. I could see this getting rid of most of those taxis, and also getting alot of cars off the roads.

emathias Jun 14, 2018 6:54 PM

There are approximately 110,000 passengers arriving at O'Hare every day. I don't know how many of those are transferring, or how many of those not transferring are going downtown, but it seems like enough traffic to justify Musk's proposal without too much risk of overwhelming it.

What I wonder is whether a success at O'Hare would start talk of a similar system at Midway, or between nodes within the city - Loop to Hyde Park, Evanston to downtown, West Loop to Wstertower, etc.

Kngkyle Jun 14, 2018 7:00 PM

In the press conference, Elon said he hopes to begin construction in 3-4 months if the regulatory hurdles can be overcome, and they'll be boring from both directions to speed up the project. Also mentioned the possibility of clearing TSA screening at Block 37.

k1052 Jun 14, 2018 7:27 PM

Yeah got the impression he's a touch perturbed about how CA approvals work for something like this. He seems pretty intent though so best of luck and I hope it works out. Rahm was emphatic that no city money would be spent.

nomarandlee Jun 14, 2018 8:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8221243)
What I wonder is whether a success at O'Hare would start talk of a similar system at Midway, or between nodes within the city - Loop to Hyde Park, Evanston to downtown, West Loop to Wstertower, etc.

I very much had the same thought. And one of the many articles I read over the last 12 hours there was talk from a Musk representative about creating such spurs possibly around downtown. THAT would be the real game changer in my opinion because I am a bit skeptical that a sole B37 will maximize riders. However if you have a Mich Ave/S'Ville/Mcormick/Lakeshore East/West Loop/Fulton Mkt spurs than you really become very accessible to over 80% of the downtown traveler's who would all love to be at Ohare in only 15mins.

That said I hope and expect that with the planning of the new global terminal there will be contingency ROWs made to remain for traditional rail on case this risky project falls through.

jpIllInoIs Jun 14, 2018 8:26 PM

This is every bit as achievable as say... raising the street grid and many buildings,homes and entire blocks to rise above the grade and install a storm/sewer systems in 1850-60, Or building a freight tunnel system below every street in the greater loop back in in the 1910's, or reversing the flow a river with men and hand shovels and horse drown carts and a couple of small steam engines in 1900. It can be done! :cheers:

PKDickman Jun 14, 2018 8:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8221114)
By comparison, the entire O'Hare branch of the Blue Line averages about 85,000 riders per weekday, and between 11,000 and 12,000 boardings at the O'Hare station, per weekday. So capacity seems plausible. As a premium service it won't see ridership comparable to a general purpose thing like the Blue Line. I don't have numbers for taxi service from O'Hare to downtown for comparison.

In 2017 the taxi trips from O'hare to the loop were around 600 a weekday. No idea on the uber numbers though.

Also realize that the active employee badge count at O’Hare tops 41,000. I imagine that they make up a significant percentage of the boardings at that station

rlw777 Jun 14, 2018 8:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs (Post 8221368)
This is every bit as achievable as say... raising the street grid and many buildings,homes and entire blocks to rise above the grade and install a storm/sewer systems in 1850-60, Or building a freight tunnel system below every street in the greater loop back in in the 1910's, or reversing the flow a river with men and hand shovels and horse drown carts and a couple of small steam engines in 1900. It can be done! :cheers:

Actually I would be surprised if this didn't get done. I mean this is Chicago and when O'hare, Downtown, and City Hall all want to get the same thing done I wouldn't bet against it.

JK47 Jun 14, 2018 9:18 PM

The bid document put out by the city was very clear that no public funds or guarantees for overruns would be given. That private funding was needed for construction of all tunnels, two stations (airport & downtown), maintenance yards, and supporting works.

jmecklenborg Jun 14, 2018 10:11 PM

The Boring Company has yet to build a boring machine. The test tunnel in Hawthorne is merely an old Metrorail tunnel that dug gold line light rail tunnels. Boring machines take a long time to design and manufacture, so Mr. Musk won't be digging jack squat for at least a year and more like two. As usual, he made the Trump-like outrageous claim that he'll be digging in 3 months.

There are serious problems with this proposal both as an economically viable project and as a model for anything else. It's main cost-saving plan is to build a very small-diameter tunnel, only 14 feet instead of the industry standard 19-21-foot for light rail and subway tunnels. This promises to save a huge amount of money but there are many reasons why this hasn't been done in the past, or at least since the Glasgow subway and first London tube lines were built.

The first big reason is capacity -- it only costs incrementally more to build a system that can carry 10x as many passengers. The second is that the only way to make an emergency exit from those old subway lines is to walk out either end of the train and then between the tracks. This Chicago proposal has the same problem and it's unlikely that the narrow tunnel will be approved for that reason. To get to an emergency exit, escaping passengers would have to walk out the front or back of their "skate" and then through other stopped "skates" in order to reach an exit.

Also, do Musk's terrible ridership/revenue projection. 5,000 passengers per day paying $25 each is only $125k a day in gross revenue to pay off $1 billion+ in debt. This is an absolutely terrible business proposition. Who is going to invest in this other than Musk throwing down his own money as a hobby?

PKDickman Jun 14, 2018 10:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 8221478)

There are serious problems with this proposal both as an economically viable project and as a model for anything else. It's main cost-saving plan is to build a very small-diameter tunnel, only 14 feet instead of the industry standard 19-21-foot for light rail and subway tunnels. This promises to save a huge amount of money but there are many reasons why this hasn't been done in the past, or at least since the Glasgow subway and first London tube lines were built.

I also imagine that the the difficulty in extracting the spoils from a 7-15 mile long tunnel gets a lot higher as the tunnel diameter gets smaller.


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