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 lstone19
 
Where do the tracks north of Chicago Union Station change from Amtrak ownership to Metra? I have always been of the impression that the division was just west of Canal Street at the eastbound dwarf home signals. Further proof of that is the ID plagues on the grade crossing signals / gates reference what has to be an Amtrak milepost as it's miles from Pittsburgh via the PRR continuing the historical mileposts of the PRR approach to CUS. Yet yesterday, Metra put out a press release (https://metrarail.com/about-metra/newsr ... s-april-22) about the crossing being closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic while METRA crews replace and resurface the crossing. So why would Metra do the work if Amtrak owns the crossing?
  by eolesen
 
Larry, possibly it's contracted out to Metra because they have the people and equipment.
  by Tadman
 
Or given the fact the train ratio is something like 20:1 in favor of Metra, maintenance of the grade crossings may be in the lease as part of Metra's payment for the trackage rights.
  by justalurker66
 
BTW: Amtrak owns a total of two public crossings in the entire state of Illinois. The other crossing is Lumber St (MP 521.2).
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:40 pm BTW: Amtrak owns a total of two public crossings in the entire state of Illinois. The other crossing is Lumber St (MP 521.2).
That's a really good point. A lot of times we talk about "why doesn't Amtrak own more of it's own lines". It's not just the cost of buying them, it's maintaining them. UP probably has thousands of grade crossings in Illinois and every other state. They have their own equipment and organization to fix them. If Amtrak were to buy the Saint Louis line, for example, they might pick up 500 crossings. Now they have to service those crossings. That means buying $20m of equipment, hiring 30 people, having a managerial staff that works with affected cities, lawsuits about tire damage to family cars, etc...

By leasing track below market rate, Amtrak gets the bargain of the century.
  by justalurker66
 
Amtrak also has 25 public crossings in Indiana and 195 in Michigan. Not completely off the hook for track ownership in the midwest. The Michigan Line would probably be as bad as the Monon if it were not for Amtrak and the Michigan trains.

The balance on buying the St Louis line would be the income they would get in return (unless the freight road pulled their trains).

Circling back to Chicago, that final mile north and south of CUS is probably their most profitable track.

BTW - Metra has 256 grade crossings in Illinois, 109 within the city limits of Chicago. They are in a good position to help with Amtrak's two crossings.
  by MACTRAXX
 
justalurker66 wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:40 pm BTW: Amtrak owns a total of two public crossings in the entire state of Illinois. The other crossing is Lumber St (MP 521.2).
JL: MP 521.2 is from Buffalo,NY as measured by Penn Central and Conrail.
For another example Pittsburgh-Chicago Union Station via Fort Wayne,IN (PRR/PC)
(the former Broadway Limited route) was 468.4 miles.

Nearby is the South Branch Bridge over the Chicago River which I remember was
a two track "bottleneck" that almost every train into CUS from the east and south
had to cross...Does Amtrak now have title to this bridge?

Back to the original topic: Is there any practical way to eliminate the Canal Street
grade crossing? Would a street closure or new overpass be worthwhile? MACTRAXX
  by eolesen
 
Closing the Canal St. crossing is entirely feasible, and you could probably close at least half of the other seven at-grade crossings between CUS and the viaduct at Noble St.

From what I recall, Canal is fairly low traffic, and you could easily take northbound flow over Milwaukee Avenue to Clinton St. There's little southbound flow because Canal is one-way all the way up to Milwaukee Ave.
  by Allouette
 
The 21st Street lift bridge belongs to Amtrak.
  by lstone19
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:37 pm
justalurker66 wrote: Fri Apr 24, 2020 5:40 pm BTW: Amtrak owns a total of two public crossings in the entire state of Illinois. The other crossing is Lumber St (MP 521.2).
JL: MP 521.2 is from Buffalo,NY as measured by Penn Central and Conrail.
For another example Pittsburgh-Chicago Union Station via Fort Wayne,IN (PRR/PC)
(the former Broadway Limited route) was 468.4 miles.
Yet the crossing ID signs at Canal St. identify it as MP 468.3, clearly miles from Pittsburgh via Fort Wayne. So two crossings in Illinois and each referenced by a different MP base. Although I'd be curious to see how the crossing ID signs (the blue signs) identify Lumber St.

I have a Conrail ETT from 1980 which was before the ex-PRR west of Whiting was re-mileposted to use miles from Buffalo (at the time, the transition from ex-NYC to ex-PRR was at NYC MP 501.0 / PRR MP 446.7 and referred to as CP 446 (the ex-PRR east of there not yet abandoned and still used by the Broadway Limited). Using the ex-PRR mileposts, CUS was 467.8 so given the signs at Canal St. indicate 468.3, the 468.4 MACTRAXX mentions must be to the end of the former CUS and today Amtrak's ownership just west of Canal St.
  by justalurker66
 
Yep. The 521.2 mileage reflects the NYC routing from Buffalo, extended on the PRR tracks to CUS.
The 21st St interlocking, lift bridge north of the interlocking and approaches to CUS are owned by Amtrak.

According to the FRA Crossing Inventory, Canal St had 4150 vehicles per day *10% trucks) in 2018 - and 215 passenger trains per day.
Lumber St had 1750 vehicles (19% trucks) and an alleged 9 passenger trains per day. I'd say the trains are undercounted.
  by eolesen
 
4150 vehicles is ~3-5 per minute, which I'd say is light traffic by downtown standards.
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Tue Apr 28, 2020 7:13 pm Yep. The 521.2 mileage reflects the NYC routing from Buffalo, extended on the PRR tracks to CUS.
The 21st St interlocking, lift bridge north of the interlocking and approaches to CUS are owned by Amtrak.

According to the FRA Crossing Inventory, Canal St had 4150 vehicles per day *10% trucks) in 2018 - and 215 passenger trains per day.
Lumber St had 1750 vehicles (19% trucks) and an alleged 9 passenger trains per day. I'd say the trains are undercounted.
I think the 9 passenger trains are timetabled. There are countless switch and turn moves shoved through here. Also a few freights. Lumber could be shut down if public traffic were allowed to use that ramp off Roosevelt.

Canal and Clinton are different stories. Canal's 4150 are not evenly distributed, they're heavily weighted toward rush hour. It's an interesting issue because that's when the most trains come through as well. It's a big surprise that given the recent hefty development of the area, the city didn't ask those new buildings to come up with a ramp or something.
  by lstone19
 
Tadman wrote: Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:47 am I think the 9 passenger trains are timetabled. There are countless switch and turn moves shoved through here. Also a few freights. Lumber could be shut down if public traffic were allowed to use that ramp off Roosevelt.
Far more than 9 scheduled. As near as I can figure:
2 Lake Shore Limited
2 Capitol Limited
2 Pere Marquette
2 Blue Water
6 Wolverine Service
2 Texas Eagle
8 Lincoln Service
8 Metra Heritage Corridor (including a scheduled deadhead)
30 Metra Southwest Corridor

That's 62 scheduled moves each day. Plus Amtrak uses the bridge to wye trains and occasionally the City of NO, Saluki, or Illini goes in or out that way and the ex-IC Iowa Division rather than using the St. Charles Air Line. And as Tadman mentioned, freight trains.