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  #15241  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 7:07 PM
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Originally Posted by k1052 View Post
ICEs will aways and forever be much less efficient than tapping the grid.
Got any citations for that? Remember that DC transmission has enormous line losses, and onboard inverters also have substantial losses. Individual electric cars get recharged from existing AC transmission facilities, typically at low-load times of day.
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  #15242  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 7:10 PM
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This is essentally the same argument used against EVs to defend internal combustion and it's just wrong every time. ICEs will aways and forever be much less efficient than tapping the grid. EMUs are way cleaner environmentally and so much quieter than even modern diesel locos not to mention screaming F40s just idling at notch 8.
It is a fairly similar argument, but I happen to agree with it in this case. One of the biggest factors that make electric propulsion more efficient is regenerative braking (the main reason why non-plugin hybrid cars are much more fuel efficient than an otherwise similar ICE car). We can see this in the difference between the city and highway fuel economy numbers since the hybrid model has little if any advantage on the highway. This is important because in urban and suburban environments, cars stop... a lot. Red lights, stop signs, cross walks, congestion, etc. But with trains, they usually only stop to let passengers on and off. And with a suburban service, the stops tend to be much more spread out than with urban services. Interestingly there are a couple locomotive makers who have developed a hybrid locomotive which might be able to reduce emissions on suburban routes even further using regenerative braking.

There are other advantages such as noise and operating performance, if looking strictly at emissions there are going to be more effective ways to spend the money at this point. Although if making major service improvements could divert large numbers of cars from the road, that's also something to factor in.

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Last I checked, Metra is not in the business of running trains in order to keep urbanist fanboys happy.

Running a whole bunch of trains off peak so that we can watch empty rail cars go in and out of downtown are probably not the best use of Metra’s limited resources, especially in the Covid “I work from home and I like it that way” world.

Electrifying Metra is not a priority nor should it be. At least for a very long time.
If working from home does turn out to be a long term trend, that would definitely warrant a shift away from a peak-surge focus toward a constant, all-the-time model. The main users of the service would then be people who can't work remotely and are probably less likely to work standard 9-5 type schedules and instead work various times and at jobs better distributed across the urban area rather than focused in the CBD. There would also be a greater percentage of demand for non-work trips.

I don't necessarily think that a continued work-from-home trend is a death knell for transit. Not only is it more efficient to have service levels spread more evenly rather than surge focused (lower maximum volume needed, easier to schedule, etc.) but I think is may actually discourage car ownership. There are many people who own and operate cars because they feel that's the most practical way to get to work, and needing a reliable transportation option on a daily basis justifies the huge cost of car ownership and usage. But if a person or family isn't using one very often anymore they may need no (or fewer) cars. For those people, transit may be a decent alternative on the occasions when they're making longer trips.

I've heard people make the argument that the downtown condo booms in some cities may be in peril due to WFH, but I'm waiting to see how it actually plays out. The idea is that many people living downtown are doing so primarily for the convenience afforded by a close proximity to work, but I wonder if there are some people who don't mind living out in an uninteresting suburban area that they return to after going into town every week day who may not like being out there all the time. The term "bedroom community" itself implies a place people return to for sleep rather than the setting of a complete life. I wonder if the prospect of spending so much more time at home will make people consider the location of their home to be even more important? I think it could go either way and different people may have different reactions. Overall I would probably just give people more freedom, and people use freedom in different ways.
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  #15243  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 8:55 PM
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Apparently the MBTA electrification plans are limited to (1) one double track southern line towards Providence and (2) one double track northern line that branches into mostly two single track lines at Beverly. The southern line is already electrified thanks to Amtrak. Although some improvements will probably have to be made to the electrical infrastructure for increasing capacity. The two northern lines are lines with few, if any, freight customers remaining, especially after leaving Boston itself. So hanging catenary wires overhead less than 24 feet above top of rail should not cause any interferences with double stack container trains. I'm not even sure who owns these lines heading north. But if double tracking the remaining single track segments is needed to increase the corridor's core capacity, Federal matching funding might be easier to qualify for.
It's eminently possible to run double-stacks under catenary. India has done this at scale. Granted, the taller wires might give NIMBYs more fodder to oppose electrification. Overpasses might be an issue also but it's possible to provide the loco or EMUs with a small battery to allow gaps in the wiring.

Chicago has the advantage of public ownership over half the Metra system and multiple redundant routes. Metra could absolutely electrify the Rock Island and Milwaukee District and the freight railroads can't say boo... they are free to purchase trackage rights from a different railroad to move double-stacks through Chicagoland. BNSF and UP-W will probably never electrify sadly, but UP-N and UP-NW are low usage and could likely be purchased by Metra if they were so inclined. HC/NCS probably also out of the question, but SWS could probably be electrified if Metra cuts a deal with NS.

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I never understood why MBTA was not already using electric locomotives on the Providence line? It was already owned the the State, and already electrified. All MBTA basically needed was buying or leasing some electric locomotives, and electrifying their yards. I guess politics, having electric lines from North Station also, was the problem all along.
Amtrak owns the traction infrastructure and will not allow MBTA to access that power except at astronomical cost. I assume when it was electrified in the 1990s, it was value-engineered with capacity for only a few Amtrak trains an hour (I've seen the costs for this electrification and it's always seemed suspiciously low). Adding the MBTA Providence trains might overload the system, but that's just my speculation.

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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Got any citations for that? Remember that DC transmission has enormous line losses, and onboard inverters also have substantial losses. Individual electric cars get recharged from existing AC transmission facilities, typically at low-load times of day.
Who said anything about DC? Metra Electric's 1500vDC system is probably not what would be used for any future electrification in the Chicago area. Any through-routed equipment to/from ME would need to either be AC-native with an inverter or DC-native with a rectifier. But most of the hypothetical network would be running on 25kV AC; Chicagoland is not chock-a-block with low tunnels and low bridges that might force a different technology. In the long run battery technology should allow Metra Electric to convert to 25kv AC as well; the low bridges would just be gaps in the line where the battery power takes over.
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  #15244  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Got any citations for that? Remember that DC transmission has enormous line losses, and onboard inverters also have substantial losses. Individual electric cars get recharged from existing AC transmission facilities, typically at low-load times of day.
Maximum thermal efficiency of an ICE is what 40%. Electric motors are about 90%. Even factoring in transmission losses (which in our case would be low) engines can't close that gap.

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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
It is a fairly similar argument, but I happen to agree with it in this case. One of the biggest factors that make electric propulsion more efficient is regenerative braking (the main reason why non-plugin hybrid cars are much more fuel efficient than an otherwise similar ICE car). We can see this in the difference between the city and highway fuel economy numbers since the hybrid model has little if any advantage on the highway. This is important because in urban and suburban environments, cars stop... a lot. Red lights, stop signs, cross walks, congestion, etc. But with trains, they usually only stop to let passengers on and off. And with a suburban service, the stops tend to be much more spread out than with urban services. Interestingly there are a couple locomotive makers who have developed a hybrid locomotive which might be able to reduce emissions on suburban routes even further using regenerative braking.
Who says we can't use regenerative breaking on EMUs? We certainly can if we put some batteries on them which Alstom and Stadler have done.


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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Who said anything about DC? Metra Electric's 1500vDC system is probably not what would be used for any future electrification in the Chicago area. Any through-routed equipment to/from ME would need to either be AC-native with an inverter or DC-native with a rectifier. But most of the hypothetical network would be running on 25kV AC; Chicagoland is not chock-a-block with low tunnels and low bridges that might force a different technology. In the long run battery technology should allow Metra Electric to convert to 25kv AC as well; the low bridges would just be gaps in the line where the battery power takes over.
Building out a new DC system would be like ordering a 787 with radial piston engines. Yes, we don't even have to string wire over every foot of rail line. Just enough places to recharge onboard batteries and suck up power from an overhead 25kV AC system.
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  #15245  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 11:39 PM
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Who says we can't use regenerative breaking on EMUs? We certainly can if we put some batteries on them which Alstom and Stadler have done.
Most of them do have it. That's why i said regen is the main advantage for electric propulsion. My point was just that regen doesn't offer as big an advantage because suburban trains don't stop as often as cars in traffic or even urban trains with short station spacing.
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  #15246  
Old Posted Mar 7, 2021, 11:48 PM
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Most of them do have it. That's why i said regen is the main advantage for electric propulsion. My point was just that regen doesn't offer as big an advantage because suburban trains don't stop as often as cars in traffic or even urban trains with short station spacing.
I'd probably disagree with that at least somewhat. Also another huge benefit is increased reliability with electric propulsion compared to diesels along with much less required maintenance.
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  #15247  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2021, 12:05 AM
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I'd probably disagree with that at least somewhat. Also another huge benefit is increased reliability with electric propulsion compared to diesels along with much less required maintenance.
I realise there are other benefits which I mentioned when i said "There are other advantages such as noise and operating performance, if looking strictly at emissions there are going to be more effective ways to spend the money at this point." I was including reliability in operating performance, along with the acceleration and lower NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels.
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  #15248  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2021, 12:30 AM
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Maximum thermal efficiency of an ICE is what 40%. Electric motors are about 90%. Even factoring in transmission losses (which in our case would be low) engines can't close that gap.
Thermal efficiency of the generating plant, though, is only around 50%. So it's a pretty small gap, and one that gets even closer when you add the transmission or inverter losses. Unless you have nearly free hydroelectricity, what justifies the incredible capital costs of stringing catenary?
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  #15249  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2021, 2:03 AM
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Well, to be fair I think boosting transit usage overall is better for the environment than electrifying the transit system in the short term. If we can move people from cars into buses/trains at a large scale, that alone reduces carbon output per capita even if the buses/trains continue to burn diesel. This is why I think the hype over battery buses is somewhat overplayed. It's not that it's bad technology, but I'd prefer to see limited resources put into increased service.

On the other hand, the traditional role of the Federal government is to fund capital improvements. Covid has upended the normal rules but chances are, the Feds won't pay for CTA, Pace, or Metra to run more service once the pandemic ends. However, they will pay for electrification, as demonstrated by Caltrain or the Denver lines. And a separate lane could be created for decarbonization projects so they don't compete with actual expansions.

Also, if the car fleet is on track to electrify faster than transit systems, then we could reach a point one day where it's cleaner for someone to drive than to ride the bus or train. Of course, the auto-oriented lifestyle is still far more wasteful of all kinds of resources... but it will be very easy for transit systems to lose momentum if they are perceived as dirty and polluting. And electric cars will tend to absolve enviro-conscious people of the many other wasteful aspects in their lifestyle.
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  #15250  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2021, 4:39 AM
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RTA is getting $1.5 billion from the new COVID relief bill, final House vote is Tuesday. The funds are intended to cover CTA, Metra, and Pace until 2023.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/columni...rs-cta-chicago
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  #15251  
Old Posted Mar 8, 2021, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Thermal efficiency of the generating plant, though, is only around 50%. So it's a pretty small gap, and one that gets even closer when you add the transmission or inverter losses. Unless you have nearly free hydroelectricity, what justifies the incredible capital costs of stringing catenary?
Do I think the F40s are running 40% efficiency? Probably not. Also the grid is on regardless of if trains are running or not and the incremental increase in power required to run an electric rr is negligable especially considering NE IL's nuclear heavy generation mix. Also the overall emissions profile of grid power is always going to be superior to internal combustion engines on a unit of energy basis, especially as coal is pushed off the grid in the next decade.

I don't really expect Metra to go whole hog electrified anytime soon. Most likely if they get a lot of funds they'd buy more Chargers. They could potentially however experiment with something like the Stadler Flirt Akku on the Rock Island which would require limited catenary installs for recharging en route and at terminals/yards
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  #15252  
Old Posted Mar 11, 2021, 3:46 PM
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https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg...ervice-chicago

March 10, 2021 04:21 PM |



Amtrak to restore service from Chicago



The COVID relief bill passage means the national rail service has the money to restart daily long-distance service on several key lines and recall more than 1,000 furloughed workers.

Greg Hinz  


...
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  #15253  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2021, 2:02 PM
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New Metra railcar update here.
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  #15254  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2021, 7:14 PM
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Damen CTA station to start construction in 2021:

https://chicagoyimby.com/2021/03/dam...west-side.html
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  #15255  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2021, 2:09 PM
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Yep. Still no explanation of the delay beyond "something something Covid" but I'm glad they're finally bidding it.

The drawing set is posted publicly for bid. Over 1000 sheets of drawings. You'd think CDOT was building an aircraft carrier. It really should not be this hard to build some platforms, stairs, and elevators.
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  #15256  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2021, 6:18 PM
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Officials are starting to line up which projects they'd like to see funded from Biden's infrastructure proposal. A lot of interesting stuff in this article

Red Line ‘L’ extension? New Lake Shore Drive? Biden’s jobs plan has Illinois and Chicago officials pushing infrastructure wish lists.
Quote:
A $2.3 billion extension of Chicago’s Red Line south to 130th Street. More than 600,000 new water lines across Illinois. A $3 billion total remake of North Lake Shore Drive. These are among the scores of projects Illinois state, local and federal officials are pursuing anew as President Joe Biden pushes his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan to shore up and transform the nation’s infrastructure.
....
A key project that would greatly expand transit access in Chicago is the long-envisioned 5.3 mile extension of the Red Line south from its current terminus at 95th Street to 130th Street, adding four additional stations. The $2.3 billion expansion would service an area on the Far South Side and suburban Riverdale long referenced as a transit desert....The CTA has a plan to make all of its 145 “L” stations 100% accessible, with 42 stations still in need of the necessary elevators and escalators to come into compliance at an estimated cost of $2.1 billion. Biden’s plan also could bolster efforts to convert the CTA’s fleet to all-electric buses by 2040. Lurie and Newman listed both projects as priorities for the city, though there is not yet a price tag on the cost to convert the entire fleet.
....
Garcia and Lurie both emphasized that the city could look to use federal dollars to boost higher-density, transit-oriented developments that could create affordable housing near “L” stations in neighborhoods where such developments have not been driven by private developers. Lurie gave stops along the Green Line as an example while Garcia mentioned Pink Line stops in his district.
....
Another high-profile project that could benefit from Biden’s plan: a complete reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive between Grand Avenue and Hollywood Avenue, a 7-mile stretch largely dating back to the 1930s that also is threatened by rising lake levels amid climate change. City Hall officials are currently studying five possible routes that vary by the number of traffic lanes and bus lanes as well as whether motorists will be able to pay to use bus lanes. All of the plans include improvements for shoreline protection, park access and traffic signals....Topping the city’s wish list, Lurie said, is Vision Zero, a program launched under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel aimed at reducing pedestrian fatalities, which disproportionately happen on the South and West sides, by rebuilding streets.
....
Another Chicago project receiving frequent mention is a more than $454 million track reconstruction to speed travel times on the Forest Park leg of the Blue Line that stretches west from downtown along the Eisenhower Expressway. Garcia and Newman also raised two mothballed CTA projects as possibilities — extending the Blue Line west to 1st Avenue in Maywood and extending the Orange Line from Midway Airport to Ford City. Both projects are in their respective congressional districts. Neither is currently under consideration by the CTA.
....
A trio of rail projects receiving more widespread attention from transit leaders, planners and elected officials involve separating passenger and freight rail lines from roadways on the Southwest Side. Part of the CREATE rail program, the projects would reduce freight train congestion, reduce commuter train times and improve rail crossing safety.
....
Preckwinkle and Killen, the county transportation chief, pointed to the need to revamp Metra train cars and stations, particularly the Rock Island and Metra Electric districts prioritized under Preckwinkle’s South Cook Fair Transit pilot the Cook County Board passed in December. Pace, the suburban bus system, also could use service upgrades, roadway improvements and traffic signal projects, Killen said....Metra listed numerous projects it would like to fund, including rehabbing stations, replacing old train cars, an expansion of rail yards that would allow more express and all-day service, express service from O’Hare International Airport to Union Station, and a flyover bridge to replace a major railroad junction at Grand and Western avenues.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/polit...dg4-story.html
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  #15257  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2021, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Randomguy34 View Post
Officials are starting to line up which projects they'd like to see funded from Biden's infrastructure proposal. A lot of interesting stuff in this article

Red Line ‘L’ extension? New Lake Shore Drive? Biden’s jobs plan has Illinois and Chicago officials pushing infrastructure wish lists.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/polit...dg4-story.html
I was just going to post this. Its a long article.

Lets finish CREATE

https://www.createprogram.org/







Quote:


Two other CREATE projects Newman and others are pushing involve separating the grades between the Belt Railway of Chicago at Archer Avenue and near the intersection of 63rd Street and Harlem Avenue.






While he opposes Biden’s plan as a whole and the tax hikes that come with it, Downstate Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville said he will advocate for getting the CREATE projects funded because they are crucial to freight traffic that moves through the entire state.


“It’s too important to districts like mine that are Downstate to have an effective and efficient rail system going through the Chicago area,” said Davis, who is a member of the House Transportation Committee.



..

Last edited by bnk; Apr 2, 2021 at 7:21 PM.
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  #15258  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2021, 7:35 PM
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Yes, fully fund all remaining CREATE projects. This is the chance.
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  #15259  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2021, 8:01 PM
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^ Much as I hate to say it, I think CREATE might need to go back to the drawing board in some respects with CP's purchase of KCS. Now instead of being on the fringes of CP's freight network, Chicago will be the linchpin of that network. Planners should study how train traffic is likely to shift and what improvements need to be made. CP's routes through the Chicago area include both Milwaukee District Metra lines, which also host the Hiawatha/Empire Builder and the proposed Rockford service on the Amtrak side.

Also, they need to dust off the South-of-the-Lake project to build a dedicated passenger corridor between Englewood and Porter, IN through the tangle of railroads on the South Side and in NW Indiana. Huge upside for all Amtrak service to the east. Unfortunately Michigan led the charge 8 years ago under Gov and noted railfan Rick Snyder, I dunno if Gretchen "Fix the Damn Roads" Whitmer is quite so supportive of rail.
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  #15260  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2021, 8:19 PM
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^ Much as I hate to say it, I think CREATE might need to go back to the drawing board in some respects with CP's purchase of KCS. Now instead of being on the fringes of CP's freight network, Chicago will be the linchpin of that network. Planners should study how train traffic is likely to shift and what improvements need to be made. CP's routes through the Chicago area include both Milwaukee District Metra lines, which also host the Hiawatha/Empire Builder and the proposed Rockford service on the Amtrak side.

Also, they need to dust off the South-of-the-Lake project to build a dedicated passenger corridor between Englewood and Porter, IN through the tangle of railroads on the South Side and in NW Indiana. Huge upside for all Amtrak service to the east. Unfortunately Michigan led the charge 8 years ago under Gov and noted railfan Rick Snyder, I dunno if Gretchen "Fix the Damn Roads" Whitmer is quite so supportive of rail.
Arguments for a CREATE Phase 2 I think. There are a lot of projects from the first plan just still waiting for money.
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