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 MetraBNSF
 
All afternoon Naperville expresses still board from track 2. Not withstanding train length I think the Naperville trains and the Downers Grove trains are kept away from each other to minimize confusion and not crowd up one specific area. I see how the area around tracks 2-4 gets crowded with outbound passengers having to fight those coming in.

Re:

  by bn9900
 
Before any changes can take place on UP/W, improving the OTP of the current service on UP/W should be top priority; delays due to freight train interference are still too common. Case in point: Twice this week, a dispatcher in Omaha lined up a freight just ahead of 52, which is supposed to get downtown at 3:47. As a result, 52 was already 5 minutes down when it arrived Wheaton, and 15 minutes down by the time it got to OTC because it had to run at restricted speed with the freight ahead of it in the next block all the way to Elmhurst, when the freight went into Proviso. Granted, 52 isn't always affected, but it happens to enough trains (particularly inbounds) often enough to the point where the OTP is still suffering, and remains among the lowest on Metra's system. Let's get that fixed first before we start talking about upgrades...



The problem with the UP-W line is that it is double track for portions of its run, so what Omaha needs to do is 1) triple track the entire Chi-Elburn route or 2) Allow no freights for the rushes, or 3) put the freight behind the passenger. It doesn't take a rocket scientist do do this.
  by qboy
 
bn9900 wrote:Before any changes can take place on UP/W, improving the OTP of the current service on UP/W should be top priority; delays due to freight train interference are still too common. Case in point: Twice this week, a dispatcher in Omaha lined up a freight just ahead of 52, which is supposed to get downtown at 3:47. As a result, 52 was already 5 minutes down when it arrived Wheaton, and 15 minutes down by the time it got to OTC because it had to run at restricted speed with the freight ahead of it in the next block all the way to Elmhurst, when the freight went into Proviso. Granted, 52 isn't always affected, but it happens to enough trains (particularly inbounds) often enough to the point where the OTP is still suffering, and remains among the lowest on Metra's system. Let's get that fixed first before we start talking about upgrades...



The problem with the UP-W line is that it is double track for portions of its run, so what Omaha needs to do is 1) triple track the entire Chi-Elburn route or 2) Allow no freights for the rushes, or 3) put the freight behind the passenger. It doesn't take a rocket scientist do do this.
Wow lets make you dispatcher 11 you have it figured out amazing. Didn't know it was that simple.
  by doepack
 
bn9900 wrote:The problem with the UP-W line is that it is double track for portions of its run, so what Omaha needs to do is 1) triple track the entire Chi-Elburn route
There will be a third track added between control points Kress & Peck which will fill in a six-mile gap in the current triple track ROW (See the "UP-W improvement project" thread for more details). I'm not aware of any plans to fill in the other 5 mile gap east of Proviso (between control points Vale and Park), but keeping that as a double-tracked section should be fine anyway, and should even support modest future increases in Metra service.
bn9900 wrote:2) Allow no freights for the rushes,
A good idea yes, but not always possible. Especially when Omaha 11 is racing the clock trying to get an eastbound into Proviso before the crew runs afoul of the 12-hour service limit.
bn9900 wrote:or 3) put the freight behind the passenger. It doesn't take a rocket scientist do do this.
Works most of the time, but again, there are exceptions. For those just tuning in, I'll say it again (all the regular posters feel free to move on, 'cause you should know what I'm about to say :-) ) The real culprit behind the current capacity constraints is that 14-mile stretch of triple track ROW between Elmhurst and West Chgo with no crossovers, which limits the dispatcher's ability to route trains around each other. Thankfully, the expansion project will address this at long last, with a new control point at Lombard...
  by tobuadantoq
 
Morning Naperville express trains should leave equally as the 20 minute intervals.

1242 leave Aurora 7:27, Route 59 7:37, Naperville 7:45 CUS 8:18 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1252 leave Aurora 7:47, Route 59 7:57, Naperville 8:05 CUS 8:38 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1370 leave Aurora 8:07, Route 59 8:17, Naperville 8:25 CUS 8:58 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)

1214 leave Lisle 6:21, Belmont 6:25, Main Street 6:30, CUS 6:57 (Leave Lisle 5 minute earlier)
Is it good idea and what is your opinion?
  by doepack
 
tobuadantoq wrote:Morning Naperville express trains should leave equally as the 20 minute intervals.

1242 leave Aurora 7:27, Route 59 7:37, Naperville 7:45 CUS 8:18 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1252 leave Aurora 7:47, Route 59 7:57, Naperville 8:05 CUS 8:38 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1370 leave Aurora 8:07, Route 59 8:17, Naperville 8:25 CUS 8:58 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)

1214 leave Lisle 6:21, Belmont 6:25, Main Street 6:30, CUS 6:57 (Leave Lisle 5 minute earlier)
Is it good idea and what is your opinion?
Pushing 1214's schedule back by 5 minutes wouldn't be a good move, because that would put it right on the blocks of 1212, and as such, will likely get signals no better than approach for its express run downtown. You could move 1212 back five minutes to compensate, but that would disrupt the 20 minute headways for the Naperville express runs, and would likely affect the schedules of the other center track expresses further east. Unless you're trying to add a run somewhere (and with this railroad pretty much at peak capacity during rush, I'd sure like to know how you'd pull that off), I can otherwise see no gain or purpose in adjusting the schedules of the trains above. The current schedule isn't perfect, but it still works most of the time. Leave well enough alone...
  by tobuadantoq
 
doepack wrote:
tobuadantoq wrote:Morning Naperville express trains should leave equally as the 20 minute intervals.

1242 leave Aurora 7:27, Route 59 7:37, Naperville 7:45 CUS 8:18 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1252 leave Aurora 7:47, Route 59 7:57, Naperville 8:05 CUS 8:38 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1370 leave Aurora 8:07, Route 59 8:17, Naperville 8:25 CUS 8:58 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)

1214 leave Lisle 6:21, Belmont 6:25, Main Street 6:30, CUS 6:57 (Leave Lisle 5 minute earlier)
Is it good idea and what is your opinion?
Pushing 1214's schedule back by 5 minutes wouldn't be a good move, because that would put it right on the blocks of 1212, and as such, will likely get signals no better than approach for its express run downtown. You could move 1212 back five minutes to compensate, but that would disrupt the 20 minute headways for the Naperville express runs, and would likely affect the schedules of the other center track expresses further east. Unless you're trying to add a run somewhere (and with this railroad pretty much at peak capacity during rush, I'd sure like to know how you'd pull that off), I can otherwise see no gain or purpose in adjusting the schedules of the trains above. The current schedule isn't perfect, but it still works most of the time. Leave well enough alone...
What about only move 1242, 1252 and 1370 by 5 minute later? Would that work?
  by doepack
 
tobuadantoq wrote:
doepack wrote:
tobuadantoq wrote:Morning Naperville express trains should leave equally as the 20 minute intervals.

1242 leave Aurora 7:27, Route 59 7:37, Naperville 7:45 CUS 8:18 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1252 leave Aurora 7:47, Route 59 7:57, Naperville 8:05 CUS 8:38 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)
1370 leave Aurora 8:07, Route 59 8:17, Naperville 8:25 CUS 8:58 (Leave Aurora 5 minute later)

1214 leave Lisle 6:21, Belmont 6:25, Main Street 6:30, CUS 6:57 (Leave Lisle 5 minute earlier)
Is it good idea and what is your opinion?
Pushing 1214's schedule back by 5 minutes wouldn't be a good move, because that would put it right on the blocks of 1212, and as such, will likely get signals no better than approach for its express run downtown. You could move 1212 back five minutes to compensate, but that would disrupt the 20 minute headways for the Naperville express runs, and would likely affect the schedules of the other center track expresses further east. Unless you're trying to add a run somewhere (and with this railroad pretty much at peak capacity during rush, I'd sure like to know how you'd pull that off), I can otherwise see no gain or purpose in adjusting the schedules of the trains above. The current schedule isn't perfect, but it still works most of the time. Leave well enough alone...
What about only move 1242, 1252 and 1370 by 5 minute later? Would that work?
Maybe; it looks doable. You probably wouldn't have to adjust 1370. Only minor drawback could be that the schedules of a few westbound equipment moves may need to be tweaked a little to minimize potential conflicts, but it could work...
  by metraRI
 
I wish Metra had train by train ridership available publically... One of the reasons for the current 15 minute gap of 1236 & 1242 could be because of the high demand for a train that gets downtown around 8... such as an 8:02 and 8:15, for example (used to be 7:58 & 8:13 arrivals). Also the longer gap for late morning trains, such as 1252 and 1370 is typical... 1370 is the most recent express added in 2000, and from what I remember, this is only a 6 car train... shortening the gap could take away ridership from this train.
  by doepack
 
metraRI wrote:I wish Metra had train by train ridership available publically... One of the reasons for the current 15 minute gap of 1236 & 1242 could be because of the high demand for a train that gets downtown around 8... such as an 8:02 and 8:15, for example (used to be 7:58 & 8:13 arrivals). Also the longer gap for late morning trains, such as 1252 and 1370 is typical... 1370 is the most recent express added in 2000, and from what I remember, this is only a 6 car train... shortening the gap could take away ridership from this train.
Hm. According to my notes from last year, 1370's equipment is 8 cars, hopefully someone can verify whether or not that's still the case. If the gap between 1252 & 1370 were to be shortened, you might be able to run the latter with six cars, but I think 1370 would still run at or near capacity, because, as we know, BNSF fills trains like no other route, and it's clear that there simply isn't enough trains to meet the steadily growing demand. But you're right, ridership data broken down by actual train numbers on each route would paint the picture a little clearer...
  by metraRI
 
Alright, sooo a little Youtube search shows 1370 being a 9 car set... must be 1260 that runs with 6 cars :wink:
  by MetraBNSF
 
1370 was featured last summer in a Chicago Tribune article being 9 cars at the time when seats were becoming scarce and gas prices were over $4/gallon. At one time it was 8 cars and when it was upped to 9 cars that train was often SRO by the time it reached Naperville.
  by MetraBNSF
 
The forthcoming BNSF schedule revision to account for PTC implementation and reducing overcrowding on busy trains prompted me to dust off this old thread. When comparing the old and new schedules vs what has been discussed before, the ideas floated here are basically spot on, along with some new twists. Theoretically speaking, new trains aren't really being added, instead, existing trains are being modified. While one train is being split, there are actually six trains total that are affected one way or another. Not accounting for possible changes in turns, deadhead moves, and tying up at the end of a run.

The current 1249 expresses out to Berwyn, then makes intermediate stops to Fairview, where it becomes EB deadhead 1282, then becomes WB 1283, a Naperville express. The revised 1249 will add stops at Western Ave and Cicero, stops that were made by 1247. The revised 1247 will make a stop at Halsted, then it will likely have to go center track as it will pass 1249 somewhere around LaGrange. 1247 retains the Fairview Ave stop, so it would have to cross over to main 1 at Highlands.

The current 1251 over the years has become one of the most crowded afternoon rush hour trains. This is a 10 car train in which there are often many standees. The surprising part is its earlier counterpart, 1243 has a reputation of being a very crowded train and has one extra car. An extra express train is often put ahead of 1243 in advance of major holidays. 1243 is also cut in Aurora after completing its run and runs several evening round trips. The revised 1251 essentially becomes a Naperville express.

1253, currently a local will become a Downers Grove express that terminates in Lisle. As doepack said in one of the more recent threads, this train could become an EB deadhead (1286?) from Lisle to CUS. It could very well have to, because the next train, 1255 has a very interesting revision that I didn't see the first time.

1255 is currently an express to LaGrange after making a stop at Halsted St. It makes all stops from LaGrange to Fairview, flips as an EB deadhead and will become WB 1373. The revised 1255 is essentially picking up the void to an extent left by 1253 by adding stops at Berwyn and Riverside. After making a stop at Fairview, it will express to Aurora, arriving at 6:03 PM. My guess is the revised 1253 will ultimately become the revised 1373, but will stop at DG, Lisle, and Route 59.

1267, a Naperville/59 express in its current form even at 11 cars is a severely overcrowded train. I have rode that run in the past on multiple occasions and there were times there were no available seats even in the front cars closest to the locomotive. The idea of splitting up Naperville and Route 59 stops and putting them on separate runs could make for a more even distribution of passengers. The new Lisle/Naperville/Aurora express trains likely will run center track to Fairview and make a crossover to one of the two outer tracks for the local run. I have a feeling there might also be more "wrong main" running on some of these later far zone express trains. 1267 and 1279 routinely go main 3 when they come off the center track. Occasionally, 1269 and 1283 will go main 3 as well (1269 is dependent on the running of EB 1288 and the current WB 1261 (the revised 1261 and 1263 will flip spots).

All told, these are pretty significant changes to some afternoon rush trains. That "think tank" from many years ago ultimately became reality.
  by doepack
 
Yes, it's a bit ironic (and ever so slightly gratifying) that a couple of the ideas we threw around in this fun, brainstorming discussion from years ago have become reality. It's also amusing to believe in hindsight that us dumb railfans came up with something that was ahead of its time, born right here in our little "think tank". Visionaries, dontcha know! Ah, if only...

But before we get too carried away, let's remember that it is the consequences of PTC installation that's indeed the prime mover behind it all, as has been stated. If not for this government mandated safety initiative, I'd argue that the schedules would have otherwise stayed mostly the same, save for a few tweaks in running times to certain trains here and there, as Metra is wont to adjust every now and then.

Still, the recent announcements about experimentation in the fare structure along with other modernization projects, have impressed me to believe that Metra is trying with baby steps to change it's image from a stodgy, utilitarian, change-resistant outfit that never deviates from the norm; as it slowly starts to adopt a 21st century (!) attitude in some areas. However, with the required PTC compliance that have necessarily altered the BNSF schedule while also driving the construction of a new interlocker at 11th St, I'd say these changes aren't so much about seeing the light but rather, feeling the heat...