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  #14681  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2019, 3:18 AM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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Metra finally issuing an RFP for 200 bilevel cars with options for 200 more. So happy that only one manufacturer even responded to the previous RFP for new gallery cars so they had to actually bother looking at modern bilevels.

Also seems the VW settlement money has shaken loose. Conditions of the funding mean Metra has to buy the most modern locomotives with Tier 4 emissions so that probably means we'll actually be seeing SC-44s at some point in the future since the EMD F125 is a disaster.



Quote:
Metra on Wednesday announced plans to buy at least 200 new rail cars, which could help cut delays on the system.

The commuter railroad is putting out a request for proposals for 200 to 400 cars that are compatible with its diesel locomotives. Currently, Metra has 848 diesel rail cars, with an average age of 30. Some cars are more than 60 years old.

Also at Wednesday’s monthly board meeting, Metra announced that funding is available to build the long-awaited Peterson/Ravenswood station in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood, and the agency plans to buy eight new low-emission locomotives.

New rail cars would replace older cars, and could have a different design that would accommodate more people and allow for easier boarding.

That could help with delays, which in part can be caused by doors on old cars getting stuck during inclement weather. Another cause is slow boarding, which can be alleviated by more seats on cars, more doors and fewer stairs, Metra officials said.
Quote:
Metra can pay for about 200 new cars using both financial reserves and existing federal and local funding. Proposals will be due in August, and Metra hopes to finalize it by the end of the year. The railroad also hopes that the state legislature will pass a capital bill to provide more funding for new equipment. There has not been a capital bill in 10 years.
Quote:
Metra said it plans to spend a total of $56 million, including $14 million from a settlement with the Volkswagen car company, to buy eight “Tier 4” locomotives, which are the lowest-emission type of diesel locomotive. Illinois received about $109 million from $15 billion in settlements with the German car company after it admitted to installing secret software that allowed U.S. diesel vehicles to emit up to 40 times more pollution than legal limits. The Illinois portion of the settlement is intended for clean-air programs. Derwinski told reporters that the new locomotives would probably go on the BNSF line.
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...319-story.html
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  #14682  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 12:15 AM
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^ What even are the options for modern bilevels?

I can only think of the Bombardier and Kawasaki ones. Siemens has one overseas, but I'd guess it doesn't meet US regulations or they would have offered it up when the Amtrak deal with Nippon Sharyo went belly up. Instead they are offering single-level coaches like the ones for Brightline.

CRRC could probably do it, but Congress is hot to sever ties with them. Anybody else?
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  #14683  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 12:54 AM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
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Rotem somewhat recently supplied new bilevels to MBTA, TriRail, andMetrolink.

CRRC as you mentioned is building new bilevels for SEPTA.
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  #14684  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 12:01 PM
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Yeah, there are at least 4 or 5 companies likely to submit proposals. I don't have a strong preference on what gets selected at this point. Just happy to see the end of the inefficient and ancient gallery design on the distant horizon since Metra has no choice.
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  #14685  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 2:19 PM
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The gallery car is obsolete, but I will miss the old-school Metra seating. Far more comfortable than any train, domestic or overseas, I've ever ridden in... and I love the option to flip the seat.
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  #14686  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 3:56 PM
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^Really??? I bring an inflatable lumbar support any time I have to ride Metra very far.
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  #14687  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2019, 11:00 PM
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^ I love the padded bench seating and hate the airplane-style seats on Amtrak and most other intercity carriers. Bench seats let you spread out or adjust to different positions.
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  #14688  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2019, 4:21 PM
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does anyone know whats going on with the proposed new State/Lake CTA stop? funding was announced in 2017:

https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/10/1...a-station-loop

havent heard a peep since. its truly a functional disaster in its current state and gets worse by the day
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  #14689  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Via Chicago View Post
does anyone know whats going on with the proposed new State/Lake CTA stop? funding was announced in 2017:

https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/10/1...a-station-loop

havent heard a peep since. its truly a functional disaster in its current state and gets worse by the day
Good question! Given that I was literally just at the State/Lake stop transferring from Green to Red and vice/versa, it's definitely quite the disaster in terms of ease of access and room to maneuver around!

Aaron (Glowrock)
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  #14690  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2019, 9:17 PM
Chicagoguy Chicagoguy is offline
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New $17 Million CTA Belmont Blue Line Station Completed

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...328-story.html
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  #14691  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2019, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Via Chicago View Post
does anyone know whats going on with the proposed new State/Lake CTA stop? funding was announced in 2017:

https://chicago.curbed.com/2017/10/1...a-station-loop

havent heard a peep since. its truly a functional disaster in its current state and gets worse by the day
CDOT usually funds these station projects using CMAQ grants from the Feds... IDOT has to allocate the CMAQ money up to 5 years in advance of when the Feds actually release the money.
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  #14692  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2019, 3:53 AM
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I'm sorry, but they spent $17 million with all these architectural flourishes, but adding an elevator to be handicap accessible was "too expensive"? Give me a break.
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  #14693  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2019, 2:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
The gallery car is obsolete, but I will miss the old-school Metra seating. Far more comfortable than any train, domestic or overseas, I've ever ridden in... and I love the option to flip the seat.
Late to the party, but while I do agree that flip-back seating is overwhelmingly the best configuration, I have ridden trains with flip-back seating in Japan that were overwhelmingly superior to what they have on Metra. This is a picture of such from the 225-class that operates in the Kansai area.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...000_inside.jpg

Also, Stadler is dramatically ramping up their US operations and I would be surprised if they do not bid on this.

Too bad Metra already replaced the Highliners - Stadler is building bilevel EMUs for Caltrain based on their KISS model, which would look just fantastic on the ME and South Shore. They have a really awesome system for dual-height boarding, too. A configuration that supports both AC and DC overhead is available and would be the perfect trains for Metra to order to help with future electrification.

Last edited by Tom In Chicago; Apr 5, 2019 at 5:09 PM.
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  #14694  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2019, 4:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
Too bad Metra already replaced the Highliners - Stadler is building bilevel EMUs for Caltrain based on their KISS model, which would look just fantastic on the ME and South Shore. They have a really awesome system for dual-height boarding, too. A configuration that supports both AC and DC overhead is available and would be the perfect trains for Metra to order to help with future electrification.

Please don't get me going. Watching Metra replace those IC Highliners with those artless anachronisms was like witnessing the devolution of Man.
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Last edited by Busy Bee; Apr 5, 2019 at 9:53 PM.
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  #14695  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2019, 9:21 PM
k1052 k1052 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orulz View Post
Too bad Metra already replaced the Highliners - Stadler is building bilevel EMUs for Caltrain based on their KISS model, which would look just fantastic on the ME and South Shore. They have a really awesome system for dual-height boarding, too. A configuration that supports both AC and DC overhead is available and would be the perfect trains for Metra to order to help with future electrification.
These are what I'm praying for if Metra gets the money to electrify the Rock Island.
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  #14696  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2019, 2:17 AM
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Also, Stadler is dramatically ramping up their US operations and I would be surprised if they do not bid on this.
I dunno. After Nippon Sharyo's debacle trying to get bilevel cars to meet the FRA's buff strength requirements, Stadler's gotta be thinking twice.

All their other US orders will operate outside of the FRA regulatory environment, either because the railroads have sought and received waivers from those rules, or because they're considered rapid transit and don't fall under FRA jurisdiction.

I know FRA revised their rules recently, but IIRC they don't help Metra very much since their trains mix so much with freight, time separation or other techniques used to reduce collision risk don't apply here.

Metra Electric, as usual, is the exception... I agree it would be the perfect environment for Stadler bilevels. Rock Island also, since Metra keeps the freight traffic there to a minimum and it is grade separated from all intersecting railroads between the South Loop and New Lenox.
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  #14697  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2019, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
I dunno. After Nippon Sharyo's debacle trying to get bilevel cars to meet the FRA's buff strength requirements, Stadler's gotta be thinking twice.

All their other US orders will operate outside of the FRA regulatory environment, either because the railroads have sought and received waivers from those rules, or because they're considered rapid transit and don't fall under FRA jurisdiction.

I know FRA revised their rules recently, but IIRC they don't help Metra very much since their trains mix so much with freight, time separation or other techniques used to reduce collision risk don't apply here.

Metra Electric, as usual, is the exception... I agree it would be the perfect environment for Stadler bilevels. Rock Island also, since Metra keeps the freight traffic there to a minimum and it is grade separated from all intersecting railroads between the South Loop and New Lenox.
The thing is that vehicles built under the new FRA Crash Energy Management rules (based on European standards) are actually safer in crashes, even with freight, than stuff built under the old buff strength regs. Think: modern cars with crumple zones vs. old heavy cars. Are you safer in a Tesla or a 1970s Volvo? Although old Volvos have a reputation for being built like a tank, modern standards and crash testing means that literally any vehicle built in 2019 is way, way safer than something from back then. FRA did not relax their standards of passenger safety when they approved CEM crash standards. CEM does not make mixed operation with freight less desirable or less safe. CEM is a more stringent standard period. FRA is just so slow that it took them literally decades to wake up.

Although the Stadler KISS are under a waiver in California, it is likely that it would meet the FRA CEM standards with a few relatively minor changes (different type of glass, emergency egress configuration, etc)
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  #14698  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2019, 11:36 PM
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^Different type of glass?
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  #14699  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2019, 12:12 AM
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^Different type of glass?
European standards for tempered glass are different than US standards or some such. Don't quote me on that. Something I vaguely recall from some blog or forum post. The point is, the new FRA regs are very closely based on European regs with which the KISS is already compliant. The Caltrain EMU carbodies were tested for strength in some capacity as a part of the waiver process (not quite sure the specifics of the test) but they passed.

Last edited by orulz; Apr 7, 2019 at 12:23 AM.
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  #14700  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2019, 5:05 AM
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Although the Stadler KISS are under a waiver in California, it is likely that it would meet the FRA CEM standards with a few relatively minor changes (different type of glass, emergency egress configuration, etc)
Not so fast there, what you state was true but not now. DCTA GTWs met every old FRA regulation - the sole exceptions being associated with buff strength - with the new Crash Energy Management (CEM) alternate regulations replaced.
CapMetro's GTWs had European standard glass, seating, and others vs meeting the old FRA regulations - but are presently going through the effort to make all of their GTWs, pre DCTA and post DCTA versions, to match the DCTA GTWs. All subsequent Stadler trains built for the US market are fully FRA compliant, alternate only using CEM vs meeting the older buff strength standard.

So the KISS trains being built by Stadler for Caltrain will have US vendor supplied safety glass and seats, etc. meeting even the older FRA regulations for those items. It took Stadler time and money to find these US vendors so as to meet the new FRA alternate compliance regulations, time and money working with the FRA, with Texas and California transit agencies and their Congressmen and Senators working behind the scenes to get the regulations changed.

The new metro style trains being built for Atlanta will also meet all the FTA regulations when it comes to glass and seats and etc. because Stadler has vendors in its American supply chain that can build these items to FTA and FRA regulations.

They might be an European train manufacture using European based designs, but they have been modified to incorporate stuff meeting American regulations as much as possible - basically all except buff strength.
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