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: metraRI, JamesT4

  by orangeline
How would a routing such as the very limited "Brownage" (Orange from Midway to Adams/Wabash then Brown from Adams/Wabash to Kimball) and v.v. be numbered? There are only a limited number of trains each weekday in each direction. By your proposed scheme would the northbound trains be numbered 5->3 (5 to 3) and southbound 3->5 (3 to 5)?

Since you brought up NYC, the earliest trains, such as the 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9th Avenue lines and the shuttles along 34th and 42nd Sts didn't have displayed route numbers. It seemed to work well while it lasted. New York is an outlier in that with the exception of the G , 7, Franklin Shuttle, Rockaway Shuttle, and some truncated overnight routes, trains on all lines start in an outer borough, go through Manhattan and continue to an outer borough. Almost all the trunk lines have multiple routes running as either Express or Local so there has to be a way to differentiate them. Chicago doesn't have that problem (yet?).
  by ExCon90
Pittsburgh Railways had the famous "Flying Fraction" (77/54) for as long as the streetcars lasted, and I think Vienna still has a 5/31 during weekday rush hours. New York managed without route designators on the IRT and BMT (the numbers assigned to the BMT were displayed only on the front of the trains, not the sides, and were rarely referred to) until after letter designations were adopted for the IND. Regular riders were familiar with the routes they habitually used, but the system often baffled out-of-towners.
  by oknazevad
ExCon90 wrote: Sat Jun 12, 2021 9:36 pm Designation by color is useful only when a system has a relatively small number of lines because there is a limited number of readily distinguishable colors; I suspect that may be the reason why Los Angeles switched to letters. As it is, New York has to use two shades of green on its map, augmented by letters and numbers -- take the Pale Green from Queens to Brooklyn?. At one point New York produced a map with a different color for each individual route, resulting in about three different shades of blue, and a number of different shades of red; it didn't work and was quickly abandoned. Systems all over the world use letters or numbers, which are the clearest and simplest way of distinguishing between routes. I have trouble picturing a Puce Line, or a Mauve Line, or a Teal Line ...
The need for similar colors is exactly the reason given by Metro for LA switching to letters. Once you get beyond the basic 10 Crayola colors, they become only shades of the same general color, which makes it not only harder to describe the routes verbally, but can also be an issue with fading of signs and such making the colors look alike.
  by ExCon90
And Chicago already has two shades of red (the color that fades faster in sunlight than any other), and both yellow and orange -- although admittedly the yellow is well out of the way and unlikely to be confused with orange since it doesn't go downtown.
  by justalurker66
Fortunately Red and Pink only share tracks when Red runs "over the top" for maintenance and emergencies. Blue and Purple don't share tracks. And CTA has assigned multi-character names to the lines and put the names on many of the signs. (In other words, most Red line signs have the word Red on them and most Pink line signs have the word Pink on them.)