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  #15861  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2022, 10:38 PM
twister244 twister244 is offline
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post
Much to MayorOfChicago's point, it is silly that you need to lug your suitcases across 1000 ft of parking lot to go from the O'Hare ATS to the Metra station. I wonder how much more it would cost to simply dig a tunnel and have a Metra stop directly underneath O'Hare, ala the Blue Line? It would be a huge timesaver and be much more convenient to ride only one train downtown, instead of having to transfer from the ATS. Alas, almost 100% unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. I will gladly settle for express runs to O'Hare Transfer from Union, if we are lucky enough to get that
Yeah, that's one thing I don't like about the ATS.... Is how it's a bit inconvenient. I tried it for the first time last month. It was very nice, clean, etc. But..... knowing how to get from T5 to the Blue Line was a bit of a puzzle for someone who isn't a long running O'Hare vet. It would be nice of the transit options were a bit better integrated. But I also understand there are legacy systems and costs.

This news is great though. Chicago is lucky in that is has a solid rail network in place because of its history. It can easily tap into that and put in a system without having to shovel billions for any new tracks. So many other cities don't have that convenience, and it will cost them so much more to build out new lines in the future.
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  #15862  
Old Posted Jun 6, 2022, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post
Much to MayorOfChicago's point, it is silly that you need to lug your suitcases across 1000 ft of parking lot to go from the O'Hare ATS to the Metra station. I wonder how much more it would cost to simply dig a tunnel and have a Metra stop directly underneath O'Hare, ala the Blue Line? It would be a huge timesaver and be much more convenient to ride only one train downtown, instead of having to transfer from the ATS. Alas, almost 100% unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. I will gladly settle for express runs to O'Hare Transfer from Union, if we are lucky enough to get that
I've always wondered how feasible it is for Metra to directly access O'Hare by connecting to the Blue Line tunnels with a flyover. Sections of Tokyo and London tracks allow mixing of subway and suburban rail services, so it's not unprecedented. I guess the question would then be, does the Blue Line tunnel have enough clearance for bilevel Metra trains + overhead rail? If not, would it be cheaper to retrofit the tunnels & build a flyover instead of constructing a new Metra tunnel from scratch?
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  #15863  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2022, 2:58 AM
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I've always wondered how feasible it is for Metra to directly access O'Hare by connecting to the Blue Line tunnels . . . does the Blue Line tunnel have enough clearance for bilevel Metra trains?
Not remotely, plus FRA is not going to allow railroad equipment anywhere close to rapid transit tracks.

Personally, I've wondered if it might be easier to bring O'Hare Metra service in from Bensenville Yard on Milw-W, tunneling under the runways south of the current terminal, rather than sticking with the NCS that stops way over at the rental car center. Milw-W is under Metra control, while NCS is always at the mercy of CP.

My crayon:

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  #15864  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2022, 8:28 PM
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The ATS could be branched along O'Hare Way/Balmoral Ave to connect to the Metra at the Rosemont station. Could be integrated into a development and would probably shave 5-10 mins off of the trip compared to the rental car facility stop.
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  #15865  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 12:20 AM
Kngkyle Kngkyle is offline
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The Metra O'Hare connection as it stands is basically pointless unless you fly into T5. There is just no time savings or convenience to be gained by taking the ATS to Metra vs the short walk to the Blue Line. At T5 you have to take the ATS either way so it could make sense but then you have to worry about waiting around forever since the trains are infrequent.

Any public money spent trying to improve the Metra connection should instead be spent improving the Blue Line, IMO.

I take the Blue Line to/from O'Hare at least 4x a month from downtown.
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  #15866  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 1:48 PM
Chi-Sky21 Chi-Sky21 is offline
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Link the brown to blue and when they redo the highway triple track that all the way out to ohare from where it connects to the brown.
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  #15867  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 3:17 PM
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I tend to agree. An "express train" to the remote lot is not an express train compared to the Blue Line that already exists.

If the city was really serious about an O'Hare Express, they would include another 2 trackways for mainline rail in the median of I-190 when they reconstruct it in a few years. That's gotta be cheaper than a new tunnel, and you can use highway funds to pay for most of the work.

How would people feel if the Blue Line was cut back to a Miami-style intermodal center near Mannheim with an ATS transfer, and the new O'Hare Express took over the last mile of Blue Line tracks into the terminal complex?

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Last edited by ardecila; Jun 8, 2022 at 3:31 PM.
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  #15868  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2022, 11:03 PM
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I feel that plan screws over locals (and the thousands of O'Hare employees that take transit to work) in favor of out of town business travelers. Or at the least, that's how critics will sell it and it will be dead in the water.

You other plan of adding 2 more tracks to the I-90 median that connects the NCS line to the Blue line O'Hare subway station would be the best solution, and while the median trackage could be fairly easy, tunneling to the station and then expanding said station will be very costly. The flyover trackage connecting the I-90 median tracks with the NCS line wouldn't be a walk in the park either. In my opinion, these would be funds well spent. But not sure if our elected leaders would agree. Hopefully someone behind the scenes is working on getting funds from the Biden Infrastructure plan for something like this though.
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  #15869  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2022, 3:26 PM
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post
I feel that plan screws over locals (and the thousands of O'Hare employees that take transit to work) in favor of out of town business travelers. Or at the least, that's how critics will sell it and it will be dead in the water.

You other plan of adding 2 more tracks to the I-90 median that connects the NCS line to the Blue line O'Hare subway station would be the best solution, and while the median trackage could be fairly easy, tunneling to the station and then expanding said station will be very costly. The flyover trackage connecting the I-90 median tracks with the NCS line wouldn't be a walk in the park either. In my opinion, these would be funds well spent. But not sure if our elected leaders would agree. Hopefully someone behind the scenes is working on getting funds from the Biden Infrastructure plan for something like this though.
O'Hare employees are scattered all over the airfield though, they're less likely to be heading to T1/T2/T3 than the average traveler. To me a remote Blue Line terminal is more convenient for them. But I guess any workers that aren't in the terminals are driving to work?

I don't think you actually need to tunnel the last 1/2 mile and terminal station if you're willing to lose some of the surface parking. The O'Hare Express terminal could be at-grade in Lot B.
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Last edited by ardecila; Jun 9, 2022 at 3:37 PM.
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  #15870  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2022, 3:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
O'Hare employees are scattered all over the airfield though, they're less likely to be heading to T1/T2/T3 than the average traveler. To me a remote Blue Line terminal is more convenient for them. But I guess any workers that aren't in the terminal are driving to work?
A lot of the check-in sites for airport work are on Touhy Ave.

My relative for a deicing job takes the Blue Line—>ATS to car rental—>walk or carpool
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  #15871  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2022, 4:04 PM
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A substantial amount of time was spent in the last CTA board meeting debating why they insist on painting so many station structures white when it leads to unsightly rust streaks within a year of being applied. Honestly, probably a fair question.
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  #15872  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2022, 4:44 PM
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^ Stats also from the June board meeting. CTA's April ridership was 19.8 million passengers. This is 50% of April 2019, so the CTA still has a ways to go. Also, the entire Forest Park branch is now basically one giant slow-zone
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  #15873  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2022, 8:08 PM
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A substantial amount of time was spent in the last CTA board meeting debating why they insist on painting so many station structures white when it leads to unsightly rust streaks within a year of being applied. Honestly, probably a fair question.
Not sure how they can avoid repainting... just let the steel rust?

Newer stations and structures have metallized/galvanized coatings (dull gray) especially in areas exposed to salt, but that's not realistic for the hundreds of older stations that CTA has.

I don't mind a little bit of rust as long as it doesn't lead to deterioration. CTA should probably establish a regular cycle of touchups and repainting for steel components, like IDOT does. Maybe 8 years for touchups and 16 years for strip/repaint? Some stations (expressway or adjacent) will need more frequent repainting than others.

Also, it seems like everyone on CTA staff could use a primer on galvanic issues. I've seen several times where steel and aluminum, or steel and stainless, are in direct contact. Add winter salt to that mix and now you've got a serious rust problem that could easily be avoided.
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  #15874  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2022, 8:13 PM
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HOLY SHIT CROSSRAIL CHICAGO MIGHT GET FUNDED!!! METRA MIGHT FINALLY BE COMPETENT!!
Trains helps to flesh out the entire proposal and hangs some price tags on it. The entire article can be found here - https://www.trains.com/trn/news-revi...go-operations/

Quote:
CHICAGO — Amtrak is seeking more than $200 million in federal funding, along with money from state and local sources, in an attempt to fix a series of long-standing deficiencies, capacity limitations, and how trains from the south and east enter Chicago.

The passenger operator is competing for a portion of $5 billion available between 2022 and 2026 under the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, or Mega Program. It seeks $251.1 million in federal grants, which it would match with $83.7 million from its annual appropriation and an equal amount from a combination of partners including transportation departments of Illinois, Michigan, and the City of Chicago; Metra; and Cook County, Ill.

If Amtrak is among applicants selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to receive funding from the Mega program, the total of $418.5 million from all sources would fund these interconnected projects:

-Direct access from the St. Charles Airline to Chicago Union Station: Estimated cost, $146.5 million

A more recent study completed in 2021, referenced in the grant application, shows a single track descending from the Air Line between the BNSF and Amtrak mains.

The estimated cost includes preliminary engineering, environmental compliance, final design, and construction. Building the connection will also likely require repairing the drawbridge and leasing or purchasing the Air Line.

-Property acquisition for storage and displaced service functions: $29 million

Though not specified in the “project narrative,” a letter urging support of prospective stakeholders obtained by News Wire identified the land as UP’s Canal Street yard.

-Rebuilding a connection between the Airline and Metra’s Rock Island District, and a new station platform in Joliet, Ill.: $69.9 million plus $21.8 million in Joliet

The preferred route for St. Louis-bound trains between Chicago and Joliet blessed by the Federal Railroad Administration is Metra’s Rock Island District....Detouring Amtrak trains periodically have used the existing connecting track at 16th Street Tower, but its tight radius limits speeds to 5 mph. A new connection would increase that to 25 mph. The new platform in Joliet would be necessary given the new location where Amtrak trains would arrive and depart.

-Chicago Union Station mail platform “reactivation:” $35 million

The platforms are chipped and need refurbishing with Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant markings and lighting. Their rehabilitation is especially significant because two of the platforms serve through tracks that can be utilized by Wisconsin trains leaving from the north concourse. At least initially, Amtrak personnel will escort travelers across tracks 28 and 30 to the three platforms slated for improvement.

-Union Station trainshed ventilation, concourse, and platform capacity improvements: $97.3 million

Amtrak has attempted to get this basket of overdue rehabilitation projects funded with previous grant applications, but is folding it into the “Mega” umbrella because the additional capacity created by reactivating mail platforms would allow other parts of the station to be shut down.

-Double track from Niles to Glenwood, Mich.: $20 million

A total of 16 miles of new second main would link and extend existing passing sidings from Niles through and beyond Dowagiac, Mich., thereby reducing delays resulting when passenger-train meets don’t occur as scheduled.

As with the two Airline connection projects, the Joliet platform, and the Union Station improvements, the cost estimate includes preliminary engineering, environmental compliance, final design, and construction.

-Acquiring the CN’s Lakefront line as far as Kensington, and possible use of South Shore to Michigan City and South Bend, Ind: Proposed, no cost estimate

A letter sent to potential stakeholders went further. “By acquiring this critical, but currently underutilized 13-mile segment of the CN Lakefront line, Amtrak would be in control of Illinois, Michigan and East Coast trains … this would eliminate all usage of the heavily-congested Norfolk Southern Chicago Line.”

It is premature to assume such a transaction might occur, given that no formal negotiations have taken place with Canadian National or the South Shore’s parent, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. He did note, however, that CN in the past has expressed interest in a potential sale of this line.
A single track Air Line Connector seems like a major chokepoint waiting to happen. They expect to pin airport-to-McCormick service, plus Amtrak East Coast, Michigan Service, Illini/Saluki, CONO, Cardinal, potential CHI-IND-Cincy/Louisville routes, Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle, plus future Metra RER-type service all on a single track connector?

ETA - There's also no mention whether the eastern approach to the Air Line Connector will fly over the Rock Island tracks or cross them at grade. Others here have greater knowledge of such things, but $146 million seems an awfully low figure for a combination connector and flyover, no? If trains cross at grade, you'll have another serious source of delays, even more so whenever Southwest Service trains terminate at LaSalle Street Station.

I also found this a curious line. I'd like to hear more about this idea -
Quote:
At least initially, Amtrak personnel will escort travelers across tracks 28 and 30 to the three platforms slated for improvement.
Regarding the Air Line Connector, I located a draft of the connector used by Amtrak for a feasibility study, dated April 15, 2020. It's from a presentation made by an Amtrak rep to the Midwest Intercity Passenger Rail Commission. It's as clear a copy as I could find.

The text that accompanies the graphic is as follows-
• Feasibility study draft done, showing structure is feasible
• Remaining key issue is impact on yard operations during construction and thereafter, particularly storage space
• Amtrak examining alternatives in Chicago area for make-up storage space

Last edited by Mister Uptempo; Jun 11, 2022 at 10:30 PM.
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  #15875  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2022, 8:40 PM
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A single track Air Line Connector seems like a major chokepoint waiting to happen. They expect to pin airport-to-McCormick service, plus Amtrak East Coast, Michigan Service, Illini/Saluki, CONO, Cardinal, potential CHI-IND-Cincy/Louisville routes, Lincoln Service and Texas Eagle, plus future Metra RER-type service all on a single track connector?
The single track would have all the existing Amtrak services, but not ORD-to-McCormick or Metra. Any expansion of regional or commuter service will require a 2nd track and maybe a new river bridge.

Note the bit about Amtrak purchasing UP's Canal St Yard near Chinatown - long-term, they can relocate some yard functions there to open up more space for a proper 2-track connection.

Quote:
ETA - There's also no mention whether the eastern approach to the Air Line Connector will fly over the Rock Island tracks or cross them at grade. Others here have greater knowledge of such things, but $146 million seems an awfully low figure for a combination connector and flyover, no? If trains cross at grade, you'll have another serious source of delays, even more so whenever Southwest Service trains terminate at LaSalle Street Station.
No flyover at 16th St Junction, it will remain a flat junction but will be upgraded with new alignments and wider turn radius for faster speeds. This requires new overpass locations at Clark St and maybe modifications to the Wells-Wentworth road project that's nearing completion. Not to mention that Related wants to build a Red Line subway station directly underneath 16th St Junction for The 78.



Quote:
I also found this a curious line. I'd like to hear more about this idea
The mail platforms were originally accessed thru the Old Post Office, but that access is now closed due to the redevelopment of the OPO. There is a sub-basement corridor that runs from the Union Station concourse to the mail platforms as well, but it probably does not meet modern fire codes to handle large crowds and a upgrade would be extremely costly.
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  #15876  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2022, 1:26 AM
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^The subway station location would be about 400 feet north of any of this.
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  #15877  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2022, 3:21 AM
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^The subway station location would be about 400 feet north of any of this.
Not according to the last publicly released drawing.


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  #15878  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2022, 8:28 AM
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Metra has been receiving more infrastructure funding than they originally budgeted. They're now able to fund several station renovations and yard expansions, as well as start sooner on plans for triple tracking the RID and rerouting the SWS. No mention of electrification unfortunately, but Metra is still pursuing zero-emission trainsets

https://metra.com/sites/default/file...t%20June_0.pdf
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  #15879  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2022, 1:22 AM
CaptainJilliams CaptainJilliams is offline
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I must say, I was pleasantly surprised to hear this news...

Chicago’s Protected Bike Lanes Will Get Concrete Barriers By End Of 2023, City Says

"The city will add concrete barriers to 15 miles of bike lanes by the end of 2022 and make the same upgrades to another 13 miles by the end of 2023, said Erica Schroeder, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Transportation. Those 28 miles of bike lanes currently have bollard or delineators separating them from the roadway, Schroeder said.

The city also will add another 10 miles of new protected bike lanes this year, totaling 45 miles of lanes throughout the city with either a concrete barrier, bollard or delineator, Schroeder said."
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  #15880  
Old Posted Jun 30, 2022, 1:41 AM
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Excellent, though wish Dearborn was on the early list!
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