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 DominikW118
eolesen wrote: Sat Jan 06, 2024 12:10 pm It's a state drowning in nuclear fuel... but there is still an active moratorium against the construction of new plants, and both Byron and Dresden are set for retirement within the next four years (Zion was retired years ago).

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They are planning on passing a bill for small, modular nuclear reactors. But I don't know if that could be used for transit. Blame the GA for not properly funding transit, and the freight companies for being you know what.

Also, I don't think Stadler battery EMUs will be that bad, Stadler is a proven company. Their sets seem to do well.
  by eolesen
Nah, I can't blame the freight railroads for sticking with a proven flexible model. They need motive power that can give anywhere.

The IL GA? The State is bankrupt. Holding out hope for more funding is a waste of time.

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  by Tadman
Nasadowsk wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2024 6:24 pm But, for main line operations, it’s insane that Metra is still diesel, especially in a state that is drowning in nuclear power.

Diesels are loud, slow, dirty, and have no place in regional transit, beyond short branch lines that can use DMUs.
The nice thing about Metra is that they have a varied and vibrant existing diesel and electric system. They don't have to mobilize, electrify all of it at once, then demobilize this great machinery. The could hire a team of 300 construction workers of various crafts and trades and spend the next 10-15 years electrifying the busier routes. 2-3 years per line. Start with the Rock, then BNSF, then the two Milwaukees, then the three UP lines.

Further, its not necessary to scrap all of the trailer gallery cars and convert entirely to MU. The folks at NJT have shown us that locals and 4-8 car trains are for EMU's, while the expresses and longer trains can still be diesel-hauled or electric motor-hauled trailer cars. Ergo 1000+ cars are not immediately surplus.

So it takes 3-5 years for funding and politics.

Then by 2030 you have wire from LaSalle through suburban branch to Blue Island. Suburban locals use existing 1200 cars, diesels pull gallery cars on Express, Main Line, and Joliet trains.

By 2032 you have wire all the way to Joliet with motors pulling gallery cars on the express, main line, and Joliet trains.

By 2035 you have wire to Lisle, 2037 to Aurora. Same pattern with EMU's on locals and short turns, motor-hauled gallery cars on express and Aurora trains.

TLDR what this does is set up a vibrant economic eco-system for stringing wire and the crews and planners actually get good at the process. Also it sets up a model where a carbuilder(s) are ready to sign multi-year contracts to build 100 cars per year, both trailers and EMU, to a fairly standard design that is improved over a few years.
  by Gilbert B Norman
While I'm not overly concerned about this "Envirostuf" (I won't be around long enough @82yo to get too worried), it looks like METRA reviews my stuff at this site to recognize the pre-COVID busoness is never coming back.

There is no earthly reason to.haul around nine car trains for the level of future business they can reasonably expect.

Now if they can only bail out of the 200 car order with Alstom.
  by eolesen
It's a Hail Mary to keep the Blue Island Line around, and hopefully, they'll look at expanding them to the NCS....

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  by SRich
Perhaps the new trains can be convert from batteries to fuel cell or fully electric in the future.

California is already acquiring four of hydrogen powered trains, Metra should follow them...
  by eolesen
Easy enough to charge from the pantograph, since the Blue Island is part of the existing Metra Electric....

The battery will only really be used for the 1-2 miles between the MED and LaSalle Street Station.

I don't see this as being earth shattering as much as a way to get some free money.

Question I haven't seen answered is whether or not this is in addition to or replacing the service to Millenium on the MED. This branch only sees four-six trains a day on weekdays.
  by RandallW
These are going to be operating from LaSalle Street to Blue Island on the Rock Island Line Beverly Branch (about 16.4 miles). The Stadler cars are low platform only, not high platform, so can't operate at MED stations. (This is per Metra's press release.)
  by electricron
Stadler’s YouTube video link

The initial CMAQ 80% and Illinois 20% funds buy just 8 two car FLIRT (BEMU) trainsets. There is an option for 8 more two car trainsets and 32 more trailers. So Metra could have 16 four car trainsets if all the options are used.
Stadler reports a 100% charged battery can go 46 to 65 miles, and a charging time of 25 to 30 minute from 20% to 80% charge.. I wonder if that was in normal or winter weather? Cold batteries do not discharge or charge well in icy cold weather which Chicago gets frequently. If the battery area on the trains are heated from the interior, sluggish battery performance could be eliminated.
The Beverly branch of the the ex-Rock Island RR they will use these trains on is just 16.3 miles in length. In theory, these trains could make a round trip easily, 32.6 miles, on one charge even in winter. They could just install battery charging overhead wires on the terminating station like Blue Island, and at the maintenance yard.