Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by frequentflyer
 
Interesting that the AC units are so high up, on the Superliners and other pax cars the units are down low to help keep the CG lower. Its easy to see how it would be easier to access at the present location.
  by chrisf
 
frequentflyer wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:16 am Interesting that the AC units are so high up, on the Superliners and other pax cars the units are down low to help keep the CG lower. Its easy to see how it would be easier to access at the present location.
The high position of AC units is typical of the bilevel cars which are modeled after the original Bombardier cars. The floor is so low in these cars that there's not much room for under-car equipment.
  by Backshophoss
 
The A/C,heating modules are for quick swap outs of defective modules, instead of tying up the entire car for repairs,swap and back in service between rush hours.
  by bostontrainguy
 
frequentflyer wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:16 am Interesting that the AC units are so high up, on the Superliners and other pax cars the units are down low to help keep the CG lower. Its easy to see how it would be easier to access at the present location.
Actually that is the most logical location. It's just wasted space otherwise.
  by MattW
 
How tall will these cars be actually? The Coradia line as used in Europe is pretty short, their bilevels make some of our single level equipment look tall.
  by electricron
 
Remember on Superliners the air conditioners are located immediately above the trucks/wheels and below the upper level, which would be wasted space if not used.
On most Multilevels and BiLevels they use that space immediately above the trucks/wheels for passengers and between car vestibules and the space above that would be wasted space if the air conditioners did not use it.
The different cars actively use different areas for passengers, hence the different areas for machinery spaces too.
  by justalurker66
 
Exactly. For most rail cars you could cut the car into a "passenger level" and an "other stuff level". Single level cars with a car length level floor high enough to clear the trucks provide space between the trucks for mechanical equipment. Superliners raise the car length level floor high enough to place another passenger compartment between the trucks (and use the space above the trucks for the mechanical equipment. Both of these designs come at the cost of raising the floor level high off the ground and requiring stairs/steps to get from the ground level to the floor level. Steps slow station stops. High level platforms or platform level vestibules (or a combination such as the MED and South Shore bi-levels) help speed up station stops.

Dwell time on an Amtrak superliner train is a small fraction of the travel time. A five minute station stop doesn't kill an Amtrak schedule as bad as it kills a commuter rail schedule. Metra needs a design that lets people get on and off quickly. Large vestibules help (fill that space and let people find their seats when the train is in motion). Multiple doors help (as done on the South Shore cars - every car in service has two doors that can be opened at high platform stations with most cars having three doors). The new Alstrom cars have a good design for quick station stops.

One space that could be considered wasted on the bi-level cars is the space between seats on the upper level. A true multi-level design allows for a normal center aisle and two or three seats per side instead of one on each side. Those seats come at a cost of needing the conductor to be on both levels but more seats always lead to more work for the conductors.

Being able to change cars is a good feature. Beyond the ability of having one conductor serve more than one car it allows for different services to be offered in different cars (superliners having sleepers and food cars, MED having restrooms in some but not all cars). It also helps if cars are not equally loaded and the passenger load needs to be redistributed.
  by eolesen
 
Gallery cars had their HVAC located above the vestibule, so this probably has some efficiencies at the shops for being able to service and replace those units.
  by Marcop23
 
MattW wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:59 pm How tall will these cars be actually? The Coradia line as used in Europe is pretty short, their bilevels make some of our single level equipment look tall.
The Coradia line spans a whole lot of segments: From high speed trains, to these bilevel trains, to short rural trains such as the Coradia Lint. I'm sure that these Metra cars have been customized for the North-American market with its wide gauges.

For example, Stadler KISS EMU's are adopted to the market too:
This one is for Switzerland, 4.60m tall with significant rounding on the upper level
This one is for California, 4.84m tall with the North-American gauge allowing no rounding of the upper level at all.
This one for Russia, 5.24m tall! For some reason, the lower floor height is already a foot higher.
  by doepack
 
The painted cars Metra brought back from MARC/VRE almost a decade ago (76/77/7800 and 8700 series) plus the two dozen or so remaining elderly Budd cars in the 700/800 series dating from the 1960s still running on the Burlington, should be shown the door first. Mad respect and props for their long years of service, but they are old, tired, and have long since outlived their usefulness. It's 2021, for crying out loud. Time for them to go.

Strolling right in to board, like a subway car with no stepping up necessary? Definitely a step up!

Couple that with another set of doors per car for boarding/alighting, and voila! You get shorter dwell times and faster schedules. Thus creating capacity improvements that will add flexibility in adding service where needed.

The first batch of 200 cars could be coming online right as ridership starts to significantly recover, which I don't expect to happen for at least several years. If that holds, at least Metra will be well positioned to handle it by then...

I'll stop short of using the "gamechanger" hyperbole, but this is a GREAT move...
  by TurningOfTheWheel
 
^I share in your optimism! I think this is an outstanding move for all the reasons you mentioned. And with increasing pressure from state and city lawmakers (as well as riders) to turn Metra into a true transit-style service, the improvements in accessibility and dwell time will be key.
  by scratchyX1
 
TurningOfTheWheel wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:00 pm ^I share in your optimism! I think this is an outstanding move for all the reasons you mentioned. And with increasing pressure from state and city lawmakers (as well as riders) to turn Metra into a true transit-style service, the improvements in accessibility and dwell time will be key.
Yeah, I hate that the city is going to spend a lot to extend the red line to Southside, when the MED could be used for similar service for a bit less.
And it's my understanding that it originally was more frequent, with platform doors.
  by eolesen
 
You've got your priorities backward. Extending the CTA opens up travel to a lot more of the city than the MED would.

What MED needs to do is follow the lead CNW did when CTA extended the Blue Line and the Green Line -- CLOSE DUPLICATIVE STATIONS and focus on longer haul traffic...
  by justalurker66
 
eolesen wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 8:32 amWhat MED needs to do is follow the lead CNW did when CTA extended the Blue Line and the Green Line -- CLOSE DUPLICATIVE STATIONS and focus on longer haul traffic...
And then close completely? I don't believe the 75th-95th stations (or 103rd-111th) are interfering with CTA's ability to attract riders to their system. They probably could be closed (with 115th left open as a transfer station for the Blue Island Branch). Does the extended red line conflict with the Blue Island Branch?

CTA and the Red Line has it's ridership. The new park and ride at 130th St will attract non-local riders. Not a bad plan - but also no reason to change MED services.
  by eolesen
 
It's getting off topic for this thread, but Metra by design is meant to bring people downtown from the suburbs. The MED's flaw is having stops every half mile (or less). Yeah, not all trains stop at each station, but all those stops add time, wear and tear, and cost money to maintain.

As CTA expanded, CNW closed down stations that duplicated CTA's service.

On the Northwest line, five stations east of Jefferson Park (MP8.7) were closed: Mayfair (MP7.6), Kostner Ave (7.1), Park View (MP6), Avondale (MP5.1), and Maplewood (MP 4.2). Irving Park (6.7) was left open.

On the West line, it was more noticeable. Eight stations closed: Lathrop (MP9.2), Avenue (MP 8.2), Ridgeland (M7.6), Austin Blvd (MP7.2), Austin (MP6.6), Linden Park (6.1), Moreland (5.6), and 40th Ave/Keeler (MP4.8). They left open Oak Park which was walking distance to the Green Line.