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  #15961  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2022, 1:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
If Evanston can get transit money, I think they will focus on rebuilding the Purple Line. The current city government doesn’t seem very interested in an Asbury station, seems like that has been shelved.
it is interesting though that the yellow line runs for nearly 2 miles across the entire southside of evanston but without a single stop in it. i'm guesing the municipality spends zero money on the trench ROW and its numerous overpasses, so maybe it is a situation of "if we don't get involved, then we're not on the hook for anything".

that said, a stop at crawford at least would still make a bunch of sense, and that's over in skokie. i wonder if they would ever entertain adding another in-fill station at an obvious spot like crawford to increase the yellow line's utility? it's not wildly dense or urban around crawford, but the tracts around a potential station there still have a respectable street-car suburbia densities in the 6,000 - 9,000 ppsm range.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Aug 18, 2022 at 2:41 PM.
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  #15962  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2022, 6:30 PM
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Make sure everyone signs the petition: https://hsrail.salsalabs.org/chicago...ion/index.html
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  #15963  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2022, 7:40 PM
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What are you talking about?
They created a station with two sets of facilities for commuter and intercity passengers. Turf wars. Transferring between the two is harder than it needs to be, and LIRR passengers are not really welcome to wait in Moynihan etc.

At Union Station, the Amtrak trains will likely end up split, with the LD trains loading from the traditional station and the regional corridor trains loading from the new station. Transferring from a Wolverine train to Metra will likely requiring exiting the station, walking 2-3 blocks at the surface level, then going back down into Union Station.
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  #15964  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2022, 11:34 PM
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The Amtrak rep doing the presentation and Q & A openly admitted that he was not the best person to discuss plans for Union Station. He is the Senior Manager for State-Supported Routes.

In the Union Station Master Plan, there is a provision to install emergency exits from the repurposed mail platforms that would open up onto the plaza of the current main post office on the south side of Harrison. Perhaps they decided to allow entry as well as exiting?

He also mentions the plans are in really up in the air ATM. He mentioned possibly allowing access from Van Buren instead, or possibly from both Van Buren and Harrison.

He made no mention, one way or the other, about repurposing the steam tunnels, in Union Station's basement level, to access the mail platforms from below, as suggested in the Master Plan. Is that idea dead and buried, or could the proposed Harrison entrance lead down to the waiting area in the steam tunnels?

The renewed mail platforms will be high-level. If Metra, at some point, wishes to use the platforms and through tracks to provide RER-type services or O'Hare to McCormick service, how will they do that with the current gallery cars or the on-order Alstom Coradia cars, which are both designed for low-level platforms?

ETA - It is possible, I guess, to redesign the Coradia cars to provide a high-level entrance at the ends of the cars, which is the mid-level of the interior. Then Coradias would have to be used for RER and O'Hare-McCormick. You lose revenue seating and go to a lot of trouble and expense for a single stop, but whatever.

Last edited by Mister Uptempo; Aug 18, 2022 at 11:58 PM.
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  #15965  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 2:02 AM
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Metra to convert locomotives to battery power

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Metra's board yesterday approved a plan to convert up to six of the Chicago commuter railroad's oldest diesel locomotives to zero-emission battery power.

The railroad's contract with Progress Rail Services Corp. calls for a base order of three locomotives, with options for three additional units, Metra officials said in a press release. The total cost for all six conversions — which will be completed at Progress Rail's facility in Patterson, Georgia — is $34.6 million. The base order is expected to take three-and-a-half years to complete.

------------------------SNIP----------------------------

Metra plans to test the new locomotives — which will have an estimated range of 150 miles per charge — on the Rock Island Line. Charging stations will be designed later and placed in the main yard and at a yet-to-be-determined outlying point.


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  #15966  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 2:22 AM
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Wow, interesting. I wonder how quiet those engines will run. The effect on air quality should also be noticeable. The cost savings on fuel alone makes this a worthy investment. Hopefully they can electrify the entire fleet quickly.

From what I recall (and please correct me if I'm wrong), when Metra took over the old interurban lines, many of those lines were originally electrified (overheard catenary wire) and then years later were converted to diesel. It seems like we are doing a 180 by going back to electric power.
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  #15967  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 2:43 AM
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post

From what I recall (and please correct me if I'm wrong), when Metra took over the old interurban lines, many of those lines were originally electrified (overheard catenary wire) and then years later were converted to diesel.

This is incorrect. There were no electrified corridors other than the Illinois Central which is now Metra Electric. No other lines had overhead electrification and none of them were interurban RR lines. The SSL is still the SSL and neither the right of way of the CA&E or the North Shore Line are used by current Metra services.
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  #15968  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 3:11 AM
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Originally Posted by left of center View Post
Wow, interesting. I wonder how quiet those engines will run. The effect on air quality should also be noticeable. The cost savings on fuel alone makes this a worthy investment. Hopefully they can electrify the entire fleet quickly.
I'm far more concerned about acceleration, pulling a load of 10 or 12 packed gallery cars, as well cold weather performance.
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  #15969  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 1:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo View Post
The Amtrak rep doing the presentation and Q & A openly admitted that he was not the best person to discuss plans for Union Station. He is the Senior Manager for State-Supported Routes.
I guess I can reserve judgment until the plans are completed (hopefully Goettsch is involved so we get decent architecture). However, the way the mail platforms are situated makes it very difficult to provide a connection to the existing Union Station facilities.

And decisionmakers in Chicago don't really prioritize connections between nearby stations or different operators. They just dump you on the sidewalk with no signage and expect you to figure it out. So many missed opportunities for connections around Chicago and they neglect it every time - rail lines are apparently to be used for a one-seat ride to downtown, and nothing else matters.

Quote:
He made no mention, one way or the other, about repurposing the steam tunnels, in Union Station's basement level, to access the mail platforms from below, as suggested in the Master Plan. Is that idea dead and buried, or could the proposed Harrison entrance lead down to the waiting area in the steam tunnels?
I think it would be very difficult or impossible to retrofit the sub-level steam tunnels given fire codes and accessibility/ADA issues. They were never meant to handle crowds of people passing through.

Quote:
The renewed mail platforms will be high-level. If Metra, at some point, wishes to use the platforms and through tracks to provide RER-type services or O'Hare to McCormick service, how will they do that with the current gallery cars or the on-order Alstom Coradia cars, which are both designed for low-level platforms?
There are multiple issues with a ORD-McCormick service, rolling stock is just one issue among many. Honestly the whole idea is bonkers, McCormick has a handful of events through the year and the rest of the time is totally empty. But we are somehow gonna let the needs of this huge anti-urban complex and out-of-town conventioneers dictate transit planning for the region. If they want to extend to Hyde Park or Kensington and orient CTA bus service to the express train stops, *that* would be interesting in terms of providing for the needs of actual Chicagoans.
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  #15970  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2022, 2:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Mister Uptempo View Post
I'm far more concerned about acceleration, pulling a load of 10 or 12 packed gallery cars, as well cold weather performance.
Bet they will only run paired with diesels. This is likely to end up a waste of money that should be spent electrifying the line or at a minimum just buying SC-44s.
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  #15971  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2022, 3:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
And decisionmakers in Chicago don't really prioritize connections between nearby stations or different operators. They just dump you on the sidewalk with no signage and expect you to figure it out. So many missed opportunities for connections around Chicago and they neglect it every time
Any specific examples come to mind? The guy who handles interagency signage for RTA is a friend. He's managed to get lots of signage put up over the last decade, including introducing the lettered bus stops at all the downtown terminals.
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  #15972  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2022, 1:04 PM
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Maybe this is better for the transportation forum, but with the talk of Skokie and the yellow line, has Skokie ever indicated recently whether there's still any interest/work being done in evaluating extending the yellow line to Old Orchard? Not saying it's of high importance, but in the past it was sort of under consideration. Would one of the North Side's main shopping malls and nearby Niles High School be decent enough potential ridership anchors to justify perhaps a single track extension to a terminus at Old Orchard Road (though I also recall some resistance to an extension involving the high school and its parking lots)? Maybe some opportunity for transit-oriented redevelopment of the mall parking lots along Old Orchard Road for housing that can blend into the outdoor shopping mall?
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  #15973  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2022, 10:51 PM
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Maybe this is better for the transportation forum, but with the talk of Skokie and the yellow line, has Skokie ever indicated recently whether there's still any interest/work being done in evaluating extending the yellow line to Old Orchard? Not saying it's of high importance, but in the past it was sort of under consideration. Would one of the North Side's main shopping malls and nearby Niles High School be decent enough potential ridership anchors to justify perhaps a single track extension to a terminus at Old Orchard Road (though I also recall some resistance to an extension involving the high school and its parking lots)? Maybe some opportunity for transit-oriented redevelopment of the mall parking lots along Old Orchard Road for housing that can blend into the outdoor shopping mall?
The CTA abandoned this expansion amidst strong local opposition IIRC. Unless something has changed they're not going to spend a dime going back to try again.
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  #15974  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2022, 10:56 PM
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Extract the uniquely American phenomenon of resisting public transit connections over fears of crime from "undesirables", a go-to code word so historical it's practically baseball, it probably would have been accomplished.
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  #15975  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2022, 12:43 AM
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If they want to extend to Hyde Park or Kensington and orient CTA bus service to the express train stops, *that* would be interesting in terms of providing for the needs of actual Chicagoans.
There actually was a study done a few years back by Cook County on the ridership potential if the MED ran 15 minute, all day frequency from Harvey, IL to O'Hare, using Union Station. Corresponding to scenario 7 (page 34) of the study, Metra's daily ridership would grow by 23,400 riders. Extrapolate that to a full year, that would be over 7 million rides! Even if Metra only ran hourly service, there could still be immense ridership gains.

Study: https://www.cookcountyil.gov/sites/g...scms-final.pdf
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  #15976  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2022, 4:59 PM
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Any specific examples come to mind? The guy who handles interagency signage for RTA is a friend. He's managed to get lots of signage put up over the last decade, including introducing the lettered bus stops at all the downtown terminals.
Yeah the signage at least has gotten better.
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  #15977  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2022, 5:20 PM
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So what were you thinking of when you wrote
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
And decisionmakers in Chicago don't really prioritize connections between nearby stations or different operators. They just dump you on the sidewalk with no signage and expect you to figure it out. So many missed opportunities for connections around Chicago and they neglect it every time
The much-lamented Northwest Passage? An underground moving sidewalk from Millennium to Washington/Wabash?
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  #15978  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2022, 5:53 PM
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So what were you thinking of when you wrote

The much-lamented Northwest Passage? An underground moving sidewalk from Millennium to Washington/Wabash?
Just cause there's now better signage doesn't mean transfers are smooth. For starters, there used to be a passage way from the Clinton Green/Pink Line station to Ogilvie but that was torn down and hasn't been rebuilt. There's still no pedestrian passage way from Clinton Blue Line to Union Station. Going from the downtown MED/SSL platforms to a CTA platform is at least a five minute walk through multiple different concourses. If you want to get to River North or Streeterville and you're taking Metra, you'll need to take an additional bus, or you gotta power through by walking or biking.

London is the only other city I can think of that has a similar problem with transferring between their suburban/regional rail service and rapid transit lines. Your tube line could have a station at Euston, King's Cross, or Paddington, and it'll still take 5 minutes traversing multiple passage ways to just barely catch your connecting train. That's not even including the out-of-station transfers which are free, but several blocks separate your connections.

Chicago's transfer situation isn't quite as dire as London's, but some short-term solutions to make it more tolerable would be to have a unified fare system to encourage transfers between transit systems and increasing bus frequencies to take riders to other parts of downtown. More mid-term solutions would include reopening the Clinton Green/Pink Line passage way to Ogilvie. Fortunately, in the webinar I posted, Amtrak has expressed interest in establishing a pedestrian connection from Union Station to Clinton Blue Line. After those projects are completed, then we can start talking about long-term/futuristic visions.
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  #15979  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2022, 6:29 PM
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CTA Red Line extension project clears environmental review

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The Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration last week published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line Extension project.

The milestone advances the project to the next step to begin construction on the extension, which would extend Chicago’s most-traveled rail line from the existing terminal at 95th Street to 130th Street, CTA officials said in a press release.

The 5.6-mile extension will include four new stations and a modernized, efficient rail-car storage yard and maintenance facility.

The full story here

Link to the CTA's Red Line Extension FEIS page here

Direct link to the Red Line Extension FEIS/ROD report here

If all goes according to plan, CTA projects the opening of the Red Line Extension to occur sometime in 2029.
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  #15980  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2022, 7:15 PM
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So what were you thinking of when you wrote


The much-lamented Northwest Passage? An underground moving sidewalk from Millennium to Washington/Wabash?
The Pedway still generally sucks with signage, yes (unless something's changed in the last year or two). Not easy or intuitive to go from Millennium to CTA lines. I wouldn't ask it to be a moving sidewalk.

I don't think the Northwest Passage was particularly useful except as a way to avoid street people when West Loop was a rough area, so I wouldn't bring it back. A truly useful connection would require a new concourse at Level +2 above the Ogilvie platforms, but I would love to see a special treatment of the Clinton sidewalks at grade level to emphasize the connection from the existing suburban concourse.

O'Hare's CONRAC has poor signage to get to Metra. Many neighborhood Metra stations have incredibly poor signage - damaged, vandalized, or outdated (some even refer to the legacy railroads still). CTA bus connections are poorly marked at these stations, but so is everything else.
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