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

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  by metraRI
 
So I thought this would be a good place to place those random newspaper/news articles that really don't fit into a current topic, but are still interesting to read.

Starting things off:

Design firm asked to 'outdo itself' on Tinley train station

Metra cuts bathrooms to add seats
Its interesting that Metra actually has bathrooms in all the new 8500/6000 series cars. In VRE's recent gallery car order, they ordered a good amount of cars without bathrooms.
  by doepack
 
Metra wrote:Metra cuts bathrooms to add seats
Its interesting that Metra actually has bathrooms in all the new 8500/6000 series cars. In VRE's recent gallery car order, they ordered a good amount of cars without bathrooms.
Again, not really going to do much in terms of adding capacity, it still won't keep up with the ridership growth. At least they won't be altering any of the newer cars on the electric district, which would not be a good idea...
  by MetraBNSF
 
Also consider that a majority of the new cars are on UP, so they'll have all the bathrooms :wink:

And the UP-N is tied with NCS in ridership growth when comparing the first six months of 2008 with 2007
  by doepack
 
doepack wrote:Get outta my seat...

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 9312.story
For a good look at the sad state of humanity, check out the comments section at the bottom of the page. Some of it is kind of amusing, though...
  by metraRI
 
Metra directors approved a $641.7 million operating budget, to cover expenses such as salaries and fuel, in addition to a $203.4 million capital budget

And - in an ambitious move - the board agreed to seek proposals from suppliers in order to purchase $725 million worth of new locomotives and train cars to replace outdated equipment.
Metra pins its hopes on state/ federal funding action
  by AMTK347
 
Derailed CN loco delays Metra run


December 3, 2008

NEWS-SUN STAFF REPORT
LIBERTYVILLE -- A Canadian National freight locomotive jumped a track near Route 45 and Winchester Road on Tuesday, causing minor delays for Metra.

Michael Gillis, Metra spokesman, said the derailment occurred at 4:17 p.m. and that four freight cars blocked the northbound Metra train. A Metra locomotive pushed the four cars to a side track, allowing the run to Antioch to continue at 5:10 p.m.


A Canadian National locomotive, derailed trying to switch tracks near Route 45 and Winchester Road in Libertyville Tuesday, remained upright.
(Joe Shuman/Special to the News-Sun)
No further delays were expected today.

Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said that one set of wheels came off the tracks on a locomotive that was entering an industrial track to pick up cars from a customer. Four cars were left on the tracks and then pushed out of the way. The locomotive stayed upright.
  by doepack
 
Metra gambled on buying fuel on the open market last year as opposed to having a fixed amount allocated in the budget. Looks like they're coming out ahead...

http://www.suntimes.com/news/transporta ... 09.article
  by doepack
 
ChicagoTribune wrote:Although the majority of riders use monthly passes, passengers in January still bought more than 666,000 one-way tickets or used 10-ride tickets, which conductors have to punch individually.
Ok, time for a little math. 666,000 passengers over a month averages out to about 21,500 passengers a day. Not including weekends, this amounts to only 8% of Metra's average daily ridership. During rush, the vast majority of riders use monthlies, and for those using ten-rides, it only takes a second to punch it, and no receipt is issued. Conductors only issue receipts for cash fares paid aboard the train, and the majority of those are on off-peak runs, plus most weekend riders buy the $5 dollar pass anyway, so what's the big deal?
ChicagoTribune wrote:The Metra Web site looks like an old paper [railroad] schedule posted on the Web," Schofer said. "It is not easy to find or see what you are looking for. And it is not interactive."
Yes, the lack of interactivity can be a bit annoying, and the site is set to be re-designed later this year. But seriously, I guarantee that 99.99998% of the users that visit the site want to know schedule and fare information. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. In its current form, it's not that hard to find. But in a web 2.0 world, we just have to continue to dumb things down for everybody else (Sigh)...
ChicagoTribune wrote:The MBTA boasts that it offers first-in-the-nation free Wi-Fi service on its commuter trains.

The Boston-area agency plans to have at least two coaches on each train Wi-Fi-enabled by spring.

The MBTA says it costs about $1 million to install the hardware, plus about $270,000 a year to service, but the agency expects to make up the cost in additional ridership.
All fine and dandy. But what Mr. Wronski (the author of this article) forgot to mention is that the MBTA already has some of the highest fares in the country. For instance, a ride on the MBTA's Haverhill line from North Station (Zone 1) to Haverhill (Zone 7) is $7.25 for a one-way ticket, or $235/month, which covers about 30 miles. Riding a similar distance on Metra (from say, CUS to Route 59 on BNSF) is $5.15 for a one-way, or $139.05/month. And yet, MBTA's commuter rail ridership averages 150,000 riders a day, or 100,000 less than Metra. So if the cost of the MBTA's new wi-fi service isn't offset by additional ridership, guess what will happen to the fares? Besides, as one commenter said in response to the article: Wireless ability on the train is a luxury, not a necessity. It would only add to operating costs (and passed on to customers)--and conductors would have to field a whole new slew of complaints and problems if the network goes down. Amen to that.
ChicagoTribune wrote:But designating "quiet cars" or requiring cell phone users to talk in vestibules would be impractical, Pardonnet said.
I've raised the issue before about having quiet cars on trains, and I think it would be a great idea, even if it's just applied to rush hours. I wish she'd be more specific in describing why she feels it would be impractical...


Really, I don't know what the purpose of this hit piece was. No, Metra may not have the technological bells and whistles that the MBTA, or other commuter agencies have, but they still move thousands of folks every day safely on clean, comfortable trains. And compared to other large systems, they do so while having among the lowest fares in the country...
  by metraRI
 
The one thing I wish Metra had, and looks like will have in the future, on its website is the GPS real time tracking... if VRE can do it, I'm sure Metra could get it done.

http://www.vre.org/vremap/app?action=ovmap

On a side note, the CTA just had a website makeover recently... I do like how they have thier stuff laid out.
  by octr202
 
Also amusing that they've used the MBTA as an example of electronic fare collection for commuter rail. While they've been talking about it for quite a while now, we've yet to see any actual roll-out here. Our tickets are still done the old fashioned way, except that you can buy commuter rail tickets from subway vending machines (since its all one agency). The analogy would be if you were able to buy single ride Metra tickets at the machines in L stations - handy sometimes, but not that big of a deal. Clearly not much fact checking, though, on the reporter's part.
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