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 JamesT4
 
vxla wrote:Is Ogden the best place to catch the NS line on weekends when day-trippers to the Dunes are plentiful?
Yep, I go there when I railfan in Indiana(even on weekdays), I always park in the Gravel lot east of the Ogden Dunes South Shore Station off of US 12 between the South Shore, and the NS tracks.
  by Milwaukee_F40C
 
The "All American Railroad Show" will be at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange on Saturday, March 25, 2017. I don't know much about it or how much will be Chicago related, but some people associated with Shore Line, CERA, and modelers of Chicago transit will be there. Fox River Trolley Museum will have a table, so I'm going.
  by BAR
 
I will have a twelve hour layover between trains in Chicago and am thinking about taking a commuter train out to a station on the BNSF racetrack to watch the action. Which station would be the best? I am thinking about La Grange Road. Are there places to sit at the station there and what about nearby restaurants? My travel partner is also a railfan but can't walk long distances. If you have a suggestion for a better station to spend the day let me know. Thanks very much for any advice/help.

BAR
  by CHTT1
 
laGange Road would be an excellent choice. There are benches on both platforms and a large number of restaurants along LaGrange Road and nearby streets.
  by BAR
 
CHTT1,

Thanks for your help.

BAR
  by BAR
 
Spent four hours at La Grange Road on Thursday, September 26. Saw six BNSF trains, all four Amtrak trains, and lots of Metra commuter trains. I unexpectedly met a railfan friend from Toronto who was also at La Grange Road to watch the action. What a coincidence!

BAR
  by ExCon90
 
Just out of curiosity, while you were there did there seem to be many pedestrians crossing while the gates were down without looking to see whether another train was coming, or motorists driving around the gates, or other foolish things? (I seem to remember LaGrange Road being a grade crossing, but it's been awhile.)
  by BAR
 
La Grange Road is still a grade crossing but I did not observe any pedestrians crossing with downed gates, or motorists driving around them. In fact no foolishness whatever and we found La Grange Road to be a terrific location for train watching. We plan to visit again next time we have a layover in Chi.

BAR
  by MetraBNSF
 
ExCon90 wrote: Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:24 pm Just out of curiosity, while you were there did there seem to be many pedestrians crossing while the gates were down without looking to see whether another train was coming, or motorists driving around the gates, or other foolish things? (I seem to remember LaGrange Road being a grade crossing, but it's been awhile.)
Down the line in Downers Grove several weeks ago cops were at the Main Street grade crossing watching for pedestrians crossing the tracks when the gates are down. It tends to happen there more often than not.
  by J.D. Lang
 
I too am from the east and planning a trip in April with a 6 hour layover between trains in Chicago and am also thinking about taking a commuter train out to a station on the BNSF racetrack to watch the action. I'm thinking of going to LaGrange Rd. or Hinsdale. I would like to spend a few hours train watching and would like to shoot some video of the action. So my question is will taking pictures or shooting video of trains upset any of the local authorities? Just worried that they may ask me to leave on account of security. I don't want to cause any problems. Thanks for any tips in advance.
  by BAR
 
We had no problems on La Grange Road platform in September. Police cruised by, were friendly, and told us how to get to the location where the BNSF crossed the IHB. It's a great place to spend a few hours with plenty of trains.
  by MACTRAXX
 
JDL: Good idea to ride the BNSF Aurora Line on your Chicago layover.
Which train are you arriving on and when does your connection leave Union Station?

Going to LaGrange (Road) would be my first choice with Hinsdale probably second.
You will probably see just about everything that the Race Track has to offer.
There are amenities within walking distance for food choices and refreshments.
Example: If you can go west on a weekday in the 3 PM hour and return east to CHI
after 6 PM you will see the PM rush. Make sure the eastbound train that you ride gets
back with ample time to allow you to prepare to board your second Amtrak train.

You should be fine provided that you do not trespass or block passenger pedestrian movements. I like to be able to read car numbers on passing equipment and for that
manner I tend to stand back away from the tracks well behind any safety lines and
barriers. I will seek out a strategic spot and than settle in to enjoy the "parade"...

BAR: The place where BNSF crosses over the IHB is an added feature that is within
walking distance of La Grange Road Station. That bridge was built back in 1977 as
a replacement to a previous bridge that collapsed during a serious train wreck on
August 27, 1977 - an eastbound freight train derailed blocking all three tracks and
than the wreckage was struck by the westbound San Francisco Zephyr. The result
was a pile-up of about 12 freight cars and both Amtrak SDP40F units #584, 587 at
the bridge causing it to collapse into the IHB tracks below. The Amtrak train carried
192 passengers - 24 injured and 8 Amtrak employees were treated and released.

MACTRAXX
  by J.D. Lang
 
Thanks for the replies folks. I did a similar thing way back in the eighties going out to Hinsdale for a few hours. I'll be coming in on the Lateshore and leaving that late afternoon on the Cardinal heading back east. Depending how late I'll be on the LSL will determine how much time I'll have but looking on Google street view of LaGrange it looks like a good stop with places to get some lunch and get some good action shots. I did read on Metra's website about their railfan tips and with me being very respectful of private property and right of way it looks like I'll be ok. Again thanks for the info.
  by MACTRAXX
 
JDL: After reading your reply I checked schedules for Amtrak #49 and #50 and the
current BNSF Aurora Line schedule to plot out a round trip CHI-LAG as I would for
myself. #49 is due in CHI at 9:50 AM if it is on time.

The current BNSF Aurora Line timetable shows these trains to and from LaGrange
mid days. Amtrak #50 Cardinal is scheduled to leave CHI at 5:45 PM.

Metra Westbound CHI to LaGrange:
10:30 AM-11:01 AM;
12:30 PM-1:02 PM;
1:30 PM-2:06 PM;
2:34 PM-3:07 PM.

Metra Eastbound LaGrange to CHI:
1:08 PM-1:47 PM;
3:09 PM-3:47 PM;
4:10 PM-4:47 PM;
These two eastbound trains I will add but arrive late enough that I would not
chance using them unless absolutely necessary:
4:48 PM-5:25 PM and 5:19 PM-5:38 PM (runs nonstop LAG-CHI)

The problem with the weekday Metra Aurora Line schedule is dealing with two hour
headways between trains at times during middays.

The one way Metra fare between Chicago and LaGrange (Zone C) is $5.50 one way
and $11 round trip-adult fare. Reduced (senior) fare: $2.75 O/W or $5.50 RT.
There is a $5 penalty charge for tickets purchased on board trains when a ticket
office or ticket machine is available before boarding.

Post a trip report at some point afterwards and enjoy your visit...MACTRAXX
  by J.D. Lang
 
MACTRAXX: Thanks for doing some leg work for me. Much appreciated. I'll get back with a trip report toward the end of April after I get home.

Regards,