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 Pacific 2-3-1
 
An idea whose time has come rather late, and apparently motivated by the rental car business, not the train business:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 2997.story

O'Hare Transfer station is served only by Metra's North Central Line, which uses CN tracks (former Wisconsin Central) and Metra Milwaukee District tracks to Union Station from Antioch, IL.
  by justalurker66
 
Someone has to pay ... if the rentals can buy an extension that will help transit it isn't a bad thing.

(BTW: That article was painful to read with all the repeated text.)
  by orangeline
 
"And it also gives the opportunity too for the Metra riders to get into the building and then take the people mover to the terminal and get on the Blue Line and get downtown," she added.

Considering that taking Metra already WILL get passengers downtown, that statement is silly. Besides, getting off Metra, taking the people-mover to terminal 3, 2 or 1, then a bunch of escalators/elevators to the basement, then walking some distance to the CTA station, doesn't seem to be at all practical.
  by orangeline
 
One hope I have if the ATS is extended is that they keep the station announcements. I just love it when the train pulls into "Reeemote Parking"!
  by ryanch
 
While I agree that it's silly to think anyone would transfer Metra/people-mover/Blue Line to get downtown, it's not so crazy to think they might do that to get to a job in Rosemont or near one of the other Blue Stations anywhere north of Damen.

But my real point in reviving this thread is that I parked in lot F over the weekend, and was mystified that the peoplemover ended where it did rather than being extended, and came digging for info. Interesting to learn that an extension is gearing up. Is there any planned expansion of Metra service on the North Central line, independent of this project or in conjunction? A line that runs 9:00 then 1:00 then 3:00 is never going to be something most people even bother to check when thinking of getting to O'Hare, but if they could get that schedule up to hourly weekdays, I think they'd have a lot of riders. (I have no idea what ridership and fare structure would be needed to meet operating costs of a train running hourly for, say 14 hours/day, so I'm not saying they should do it, just that if they did, it would attract people.)
  by Tadman
 
A line that runs 9:00 then 1:00 then 3:00 is never going to be something most people even bother to check when thinking of getting to O'Hare
Well said. Much as I hate driving to O'Hare, I couldn't take Metra seriously as a method of getting there with that level of service.
  by doepack
 
Tadman wrote:
A line that runs 9:00 then 1:00 then 3:00 is never going to be something most people even bother to check when thinking of getting to O'Hare
Well said. Much as I hate driving to O'Hare, I couldn't take Metra seriously as a method of getting there with that level of service.

Right. Besides, the Blue line is faster anyway...
  by ryanch
 
The long-bustituted O'Hare People-Mover sees another setback:
https://www.bizjournals.com/chicago/new ... again.html

Completion of the extensions was predicted for 11/18/19, but is now pushed back to "early 2020."

Still, this seems like a moment to think about possibilities. The new station is right next to the Metra North Central line O'Hare station. Station counts show O'Hare is not a strong station today, with 111 daily riders:
https://metrarail.com/sites/default/fil ... _final.pdf

Only 6 of the 18 NC stations do significant service though. And O'Hare was 30% higher before People-Mover problems began.

What level of service would put this on the mental map of O'Hare travelers? Are there specific runs that could serve O'Hare workers based on predominant shift start and end-times? Should Galewood be added to the North Central, given the likelihood that Oak Park has a disproportionate number of air passengers compared to other areas near the line between the airport and downtown?

There are currently 9.5 trains in both directions serving this station, with the late south-bound running express from Antioch to downtown, presumably as an equipment movement. Should that express add the O'Hare stop? 6 trains run inbound in the morning, with the other 4 scattered through the rest of the day every 2-4 hours; and 6 trains run outbound in the evening, with the other 4 likewise. What would it cost to increase service to once/hour from 9:00 to 5:00, and add a rush hour back-haul?

Or is there no middle-ground in terms of attracting large-scale ridership without going all the way to a frequency that is unrealistic, say every 15 or 20 minutes?

Is there more growth potential north of O'Hare (where transit options to the airport are limited) or southeast, where populations are denser?

At any rate, I'll be interested to see how the station does once the People-Mover is back in service. Surely it retains and soon beats the 2014 numbers, given a much more convenient passage to terminal. Could it surpass Mundelein and push into the #6 position on the line even with existing service?
  by ryanch
 
I didn't initially notice an interesting detail in the station rider counts. Current O'Hare patronage is heavily weighted towards north suburban riders, with about 90 riders vs. 25 coming from the direction of downtown.

That suggests where any minimal publicity or advertising might be directed. Hopefully there will be a bit of a PR campaign once the PM is back in service to let people along the line north of O'Hare know of the improved convenience.

Another interesting detail is that among the few downtown-O'Hare riders, there are far more "outbound offs" than "inbound ons" -- more people going to O'Hare than from. This may just be caused by the schedule. Four out of nine inbound trains hit O'Hare before 7:40, a time when relatively few flight arrivals have even happened. I'd argue that at least 8 of 10 outbounds, maybe all of them, are at times when there are still many departures.
  by ryanch
 
A couple more interesting details from the station counts. With 2,967 Union Station pax out of 6,357 total, that leaves only 423 non-downtown trips on the whole line. Of those, O'Hare is a quarter of them.

It's also interesting the degree to which this service is all about the 6 stations from Mundelein to Prospect Heights. The 5 stations beyond Mundelein don't add up to Buffalo Grove alone, and the 6 stations inside Prospect Heights added together barely beat Prairie View.

Another factoid - based on notes in the timetable, River Grove is conceived as a "transfer station" with the Milwaukee West. But that really doesn't happen at all. There are only 7 "outbound ons" all day. Even those I think are more easily explained as trips originating in River Grove, maybe heading to O'Hare. Basically no one is coming in the MW and out the NC, nor in the NC and out the MW. Perhaps actually no one, at all.
  by eolesen
 
Let's not forget the total lack of service on weekends.

Would a connection to the UP-NW line at Deval westbound to Cumberland provide more feed? There's barely room right at Deval, but it's not impossible.
  by doepack
 
ryanch wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:12 am What level of service would put this on the mental map of O'Hare travelers? Are there specific runs that could serve O'Hare workers based on predominant shift start and end-times? Should Galewood be added to the North Central, given the likelihood that Oak Park has a disproportionate number of air passengers compared to other areas near the line between the airport and downtown?
If NCS service is ever beefed up, a Galewood stop would be a good idea. But with today's service levels, it really doesn't make much sense.
ryanch wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:12 amThere are currently 9.5 trains in both directions serving this station, with the late south-bound running express from Antioch to downtown, presumably as an equipment movement. Should that express add the O'Hare stop? 6 trains run inbound in the morning, with the other 4 scattered through the rest of the day every 2-4 hours; and 6 trains run outbound in the evening, with the other 4 likewise. What would it cost to increase service to once/hour from 9:00 to 5:00, and add a rush hour back-haul?

Or is there no middle-ground in terms of attracting large-scale ridership without going all the way to a frequency that is unrealistic, say every 15 or 20 minutes?
That last sentence framing your question is instructive. If you build it (or more accurately, if it's built properly) they will come, but the trouble is, it's only really "half-built" as far as ridership potential is concerned, and since CN will see to it that frequencies will never approach BNSF levels (or even 80% of that), we're just going to be left with skeletal, hap-hazard Metra service to O'hare. Tens of millions of dollars in wasted potential flushed down the drain.
ryanch wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:12 amIs there more growth potential north of O'Hare (where transit options to the airport are limited) or southeast, where populations are denser?
Good question. IMO, given the dearth of transit options, there could be several untapped markets north of O'hare, with nearby stations like Wheeling, Buffalo Grove and Prospect Heights greatly benefiting from increased service. But for city residents, the Blue line is still king.
  by doepack
 
eolesen wrote: Wed Oct 30, 2019 2:50 am Let's not forget the total lack of service on weekends.

Would a connection to the UP-NW line at Deval westbound to Cumberland provide more feed? There's barely room right at Deval, but it's not impossible.
Sounds doable, but I don't think it's going to generate that much more traffic from the N/NW suburbs than NCS already does, despite UP/NW's superior service levels. Could do well on weekends, though...
  by ryanch
 
Does more freight move through Chicago on weekends because of the lower levels of commuter service?
  by Rockingham Racer
 
doepack wrote: Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:14 pm
Tadman wrote:
A line that runs 9:00 then 1:00 then 3:00 is never going to be something most people even bother to check when thinking of getting to O'Hare
Well said. Much as I hate driving to O'Hare, I couldn't take Metra seriously as a method of getting there with that level of service.

Right. Besides, the Blue line is faster anyway...
Does CP own the tracks at the people mover parking lot station? Or is it CN? In any case, the line is perfect, it seems, for a non-stop shuttle to Union Station every half hour, presuming sufficient equipment and railroad cooperation, of course.