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 justalurker66
 
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky is praising 11 communities and Lake County for pledging money to the South Shore expansion and urging the remaining eight to get on board.

"April 1 marks a seminal moment in Northwest Indiana," Visclosky said in a statement Monday. "Most communities and state leaders have made the decision to act and commit to the extension of the South Shore Rail Line. I anticipate additional actions and commitments in the coming days."

http://www.nwitimes.com/business/local/ ... 650e2.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

In other news, NICTD awarded the contract for the West Lake Corridor Rail Extension DEIS on Friday (to AECOM).

http://www.nwitimes.com/business/transp ... bda04.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

(The West Lake Line is a $571 million project targeted to be running in 2023.)
  by virtualchuck
 
I’m glad someone brought this up on this board. I have been a vocal opponent of this project. While I think another line is needed, I just don’t like this plan or the way they are approaching it. They plan on spending $615 million for an 8-mile extension to Dyer. 6 miles of the is new track on the Monon from Munster to somewhere in Hegwisch. At least a couple hundred million of that cost will go in to a flyover starting in downtown Hammond to at least the state line if not further. In addition, no mention has been made of the fact that Metra is planning the SES line just 5 miles away from this one.

Phase 3 of this project consists of using the Elsdon Sub from Munster eventually out to Valparaiso. I have been pushing for an alternate plan where NICTD works with METRA on a joint line downtown. Metra wants to use the UP line from Crete to Harvey and then eventually over to the Rock Island line to get downtown. If NICTD used the Elsdon Sub. And METRA used the U.P. Line, they could save HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS in costs... Thoughts?

Chuck Pullen
  by justalurker66
 
Metra's potential line has been mentioned ... as potential interference to getting this project completed. That is one reason why there is such a push to get this project moving again.

Crete on the proposed SES is about 5 miles away from University Park MED ... the lines get closer as one goes north. If being five miles away from a proposal is a reason not to build West Lake then they should not build SES less than five miles away from an existing line. As West Lake moves south it gets further away from SES and MED.

I would not run the eventual Valpo trains through Munster ... I would restore the Calumet/Dummy segment from Valparaiso to Gary then join the existing South Shore Line serving East Chicago to Chicago.

I do not expect any NICTD line to end in Chicago anywhere except Millennium Park. But if the DEIS and FEIS point to another station there are always possibilities. That is why they have the studies ... not just for what the name suggests (environment impact) but to decide where the best place to put the service taking into account all reasonable possibilities.
  by CHTT1
 
NICTD is now far ahead of Metra in the West Lake/SouthEast Service race. The Metra SES project, along with the Circumferral/EJ&E line, is stalled, with no activity in several years. The NICTD line would serve as a main line for an eventual route beyond Dyer to Cedar Lake, as well as a Valpo line. The SES would use the UP north to a connector line on the South Side which would lead to LaSalle Street. As a guy who lives in Crete, I think the West Lake route has much more potential than the SES, which basically parallels the Meta Electric.
  by mtuandrew
 
virtualchuck and justalurker: This sounds like a pretty odd race. "Congrats, you won! Now you get the privilege of spending $750 million!"

Otherwise, I agree - run a Dinky back to Valparaiso and connect it to NICTD here. No reason not to string wire either, since it's a short run, but I can understand if they want to do diesel-under-wire or dual-mode.
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote:virtualchuck and justalurker: This sounds like a pretty odd race. "Congrats, you won! Now you get the privilege of spending $750 million!"
Fortunately for the winner, they get to spend federal dollars for a major portion of the price. Which is why West Lake Line supporters are lining up local matching funds to pay the state portion of the construction.
  by virtualchuck
 
justalurker66 wrote:Fortunately for the winner, they get to spend federal dollars for a major portion of the price. Which is why West Lake Line supporters are lining up local matching funds to pay the state portion of the construction.

Major Portion = Half of initial expenses. The state, county, and local municipalities will cover the other half. I will essentially be “triple taxed” for the rest of my working career to subsidize this debacle…

Chuck
  by virtualchuck
 
mtuandrew wrote:virtualchuck and justalurker: This sounds like a pretty odd race. "Congrats, you won! Now you get the privilege of spending $750 million!"

Otherwise, I agree - run a Dinky back to Valparaiso and connect it to NICTD here. No reason not to string wire either, since it's a short run, but I can understand if they want to do diesel-under-wire or dual-mode.
The plan is a hybrid engine, diesel on the new line/electric on the existing line downtown. The way I understand it, Chicago will not allow any new diesel service?

Chuck
  by mtuandrew
 
virtualchuck wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:virtualchuck and justalurker: This sounds like a pretty odd race. "Congrats, you won! Now you get the privilege of spending $750 million!"

Otherwise, I agree - run a Dinky back to Valparaiso and connect it to NICTD here. No reason not to string wire either, since it's a short run, but I can understand if they want to do diesel-under-wire or dual-mode.
The plan is a hybrid engine, diesel on the new line/electric on the existing line downtown. The way I understand it, Chicago will not allow any new diesel service?

Chuck
Even if that diesel service cancels a higher amount of automotive emissions, and is specifically an interim service? That's pretty ridiculous.
  by The EGE
 
I assume that's a matter of practicality involved with running into an underground terminal.
  by justalurker66
 
The EGE wrote:I assume that's a matter of practicality involved with running into an underground terminal.
The old diesel tie-down remains active at that underground Chicago terminal at the end of track 9.


Initially I'd blame Chicago laws for no diesels to Randolph St. But NICTD was able to have one and leave it at the old open air Randolph St station a few years ago so I wouldn't say the law that led to the electrification of the IC (and everything north of Central Station for freight) is a problem.

Yes, Randolph St is now "underground" ... primarily because they threw a few feet of dirt on top of the new station roof. But the station is ventilated. The biggest difference between Randolph St and Union Station is the neighborhood and the number of trains. CUS is all diesel and covered (by buildings instead of dirt and sod). The sensitive issue is the park and lakefront where the parked diesels would eventually be ventilated.

There is a push to electrify other Metra lines to cut down on diesel pollution ... so I could see that be part of the push to make West Lake a hybrid ... electric only in Chicago, diesel from Hammond south. A lot has been proposed - once the DEIS is complete we and the planners will have a better idea of what is feasible, practical and a good idea to take forward to the FEIS and then construction.
  by dinwitty
 
I just got the latest First and Fastest and it talks about the Skokie Swift, the North Line version never did that well financially but times change, the people ergomatics changed and the accessibility for the Skokie Swift ridership was made provided for (parking) and it has had large ridership since. This South Shore expansion if done right should do well.

Doing the Hybrid saves on the electrical infrastructure but I wonder if they just go all out and electrify the whole thing.
  by BrianLM007
 
I seem to recall that during the last time West Lake was being seriously discussed back in 2008 that the ventilation system does not have the capacity to vent out diesel emissions (this is not to say that it could potentially be upgraded as such). A number of plans that I've seen over the years involve the electrification of the trackage under NICTD control, which in theory would from the connection to the "legacy" South Shore Line somewhere in Illinois and along the old Monon railroad to the junction of the GTW (now CN) in Munster. From there, diesels would run on the old Monon Railroad (now CSX) South to Dyer, Lowell or wherever the terminus ends up.

If NICTD was to consider complete electrification, would there be an issue with the catenary making contact with double-stack trains? I don't believe CSX runs double-stacks on the old Monon Line, but CN runs regular double stacks on the GTW & EJ&E lines.
  by Backshophoss
 
NJT has made the "Dual-Mode" diesel-catenary loco practical,as has the former CN commuter operation in Montreal Canada.
The Question becomes how to adapt the design to work with the DC powered wire used by Metra Electric and the South Shore.