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Old April 23rd, 2006, 05:34 AM   #1
ChicagoSkyline
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MISC | Commuter Rail Capital of the World

Which city is it? Provide some proofs that are only relating to commuter rail!

Last edited by ChicagoSkyline; April 23rd, 2006 at 05:42 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 05:48 AM   #2
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I would say Tokyo is easily the commuter rail capital of the world!
Then some of more closely match ups by London, Paris, NYC and Moscow.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:17 AM   #3
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Windy City ramp-up

How about Chicago among those close second ones?

Chicago's sprawling passenger rail network is being modernized and expanded to handle surging ridership and demands for new service in the region's burgeoning suburbs.
By Julian Wolinsky, Contributing Editor


Metra commuter rail daily ridership now averages 300,000. The agency plans to invest $2 billion over the next five years in plant and equipment.


Metra commuter rail daily ridership now averages 300,000. The agency plans to invest $2 billion over the next five years in plant and equipment.

Chicago's comprehensive rail transit system is operated by three independent agencies: Metra, which runs the commuter rail system within Illinois; the Chicago Transit Authority and its classic rapid transit system; and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which owns the South Shore Line linking South Bend, Ind., with downtown Chicago. Throughout the Chicago region, planning and capital spending are continuing at a vigorous pace to keep the network in top physical condition and ready to accept a growing volume of traffic well into the 21st Century.

Metra extends its reach
Metra, whose 703 weekday trains carry about 300,000 passengers, is plunging ahead with a five-year, $2 billion capital plan that includes both system expansion and a renewal of its car and locomotive fleet (RA, March, p. G16).

Beyond that, demand for rail service from areas not being served is driving a long-range plan to add new routes. Perhaps the most elaborate would be the Outer Circumferential proposal, which would utilize all or part of a 105-mile Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway freight line stretching from Waukegan south to the Illinois/Indiana state line. It would connect with all eight Metra routes and create a belt line providing suburb-to-suburb service. A feasibility study found no major problems despite the need for extensive upgrading and double-tracking that could cost up to $1.3 billion. A Phase 2 study is under way and, if results are positive, federal money would eventually be sought for the project, for which there is political and community support.

Two more radial proposals are under advanced study. One, the Inner Circumferential, would run 22 miles and link O'Hare and Midway airports, primarily on tracks of the Inner Belt route. It would intersect five Metra routes and also provide intra-suburb service. The other would be a new 38-mile SouthEast line in eastern Will and southern Cook counties using existing UP and Metra Rock Island rights-of-way. An alternative would be the nine-mile Peotone extension of the Metra Electric route south from University Park to a proposed new regional airport. Two possible alignments have been studied but no decision will be made until the fate of the airport is decided.

Two suggested Metra extensions into southern Wisconsin have been dropped after preliminary research found that projected patronage would be far too low to justify the capital cost. However, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission has begun a feasibility study into an extension north from Kenosha to Racine and Milwaukee.

Already under way is FAST (Future Agenda for Suburban Transportation), a long-range program designed to increase average speed and enhance other aspects of operating performance. The cost, should all of the projects come to fruition, would be in the billions of dollars.

The first major project to be completed under FAST was the 45-mile North Central Service, primarily over Wisconsin Central tracks, from Chicago to Antioch, near the Wisconsin border in northern Lake County. Now under way is a $192.7 million project that will add 16.3 miles of double track and 2.3 miles of triple track along the WC, allowing 22 weekday trains to use the route instead of the 10 now operated. In addition, tracks and signals along the Milwaukee District West line, which carries North Central trains from Franklin Park to Union Station, will be upgraded. This should increase average weekday ridership from 5,000 now to an estimated 8,400 by the year 2020. There will be five new stations, and 19 existing stops will be improved by 2005.

Also under way is a $108.7 million program to extend the 35-mile Union Pacific West line along an existing UP route from Geneva to Elburn in Kane County, a distance of 8.5 miles. The job includes 5.1 miles of triple track, the replacement of an interlocking plant, and construction of a new interlocker. The Geneva station will be updated and new stations built at La Fox and Elburn. The latter location will be home to a new yard that initially will store up to 116 cars overnight. There will also be crew facilities and storage areas for the m/w and signal departments. Completion is scheduled for 2006.

The 33-mile SouthWest line is to be extended by 12 miles, from Orland Park to Manhattan in Will County, with an increase in weekday trains from 16 to 30 by 2005. This $186.4 million project includes 3.3 miles of new double track, expansion of the 179th Street yard, and construction of a new yard in Manhattan. Track and signals along the existing line will be upgraded to allow higher operating speeds. Three new stations will be opened and nine existing facilities will be enhanced and made accessible to handicapped riders.

All three expansion projects have 62% federal funding under the FTA's New Start program, with a 38% match coming from the Illinois FIRST public works program and other local sources. For FY 2002, the Bush Administration has proposed $62 million for these projects.

Metra is also pressing ahead with a major rolling stock upgrade program. The fleet now consists of 130 diesel locomotives, 781 bilevel gallery cars, and 223 self-propelled electric gallery cars.

The latest round of acquisitions began last December with an order for 250 stainless steel bilevel gallery cars, followed a month later by a contract for 26 new 3,800-hp diesel locomotives from Motive Power Industries. Twenty-two of the streamlined locomotives will replace life-expired units and four will be assigned to expanded services. They will be equipped with microprocessor propulsion controls and electronically monitored air brake systems, and will be compliant with EPA Tier I emission requirements. Delivery of the first unit is expected during the second quarter of 2003. The federal government will pay 80% of the cost, with Illinois FIRST funds covering the local match.

The $398.6 million coach order, which includes an option for 50 vehicles, was awarded to Sumitomo Corp. of America. Super Steel of Milwaukee will assemble the 85-foot vehicles with shells from Nippon Sharyo in Japan, which is also designing and integrating onboard systems. Initial deliveries will begin in 2003 at a rate of about 10 a month. The new cars will allow the withdrawal of 258 coaches dating from the 1950s and 1960s as well as provide equipment for the three expanded lines. Sumitomo's bid was $98 million below the $496.9 million budgeted, so Metra plans to use the extra funds to buy 25 self-propelled cars for the Electric District, the start of a program to replace the line's 30-year-old rolling stock. Illinois FIRST will pay the entire cost.

CTA builds for growth
The Chicago Transit Authority's elevated and subway lines (known in Chicago as the "L")-seven rail routes with 222 miles of track, 143 stations, and 1,190 cars-handle approximately 1,452 trips each day. "We will continue to strengthen service and work toward better-matching service to demand," says CTA Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. That commitment is being realized through a multi-billion-dollar capital program to rejuvenate existing facilities and extend the system. CTA says at least $4.1 billion will be needed over the next five years; however, only $1.78 billion is currently in the pipeline.

The last new CTA route to open was the Orange Line in 1993, linking the downtown Loop to Midway Airport. Now, two more extensions are in the study stage. The most ambitious proposal is a branch off the Blue Line near O'Hare International Airport that would serve suburban towns all the way to Schaumberg. The Northwest Corridor Transit Feasibility Study, completed a year ago, identified six rapid transit options including commuter rail, light rail, three bus alternatives, and the Blue Line. The latter proposal is the overwhelming favorite of local elected officials. A branch running along the Northwest Tollway would cost an estimated $720 million-the most expensive choice-but would draw the highest projected ridership, about 52,000 each weekday compared with 42,600 for light rail and 6,500 for commuter rail. A Phase 2 study is now under way to refine the route, ridership, and capital costs. It should be completed in 2003.

The other proposed expansion project, now the subject of a $150,000 study, would extend the Skokie Swift from its current terminal at Dempster to the Old Orchard shopping mall. Also being investigated is whether the addition of several stations along the existing route would unacceptably slow the service, which is now non-stop from Dempster to Howard Street. There is also a proposal to convert the line to third rail power supply over its entire length, replacing catenary on the outer end where it crosses several streets at grade.

Completed in 1996 was a two-year, $350 million total rebuilding of the Green Line Lake Street segment. Now, a similar makeover costing $482 million in FTA funds is planned for the badly deteriorated 6.6-mile Douglas Branch of the Blue Line. Eight stations are to be reconstructed, new signal and communications equipment will be installed, and the 54th Street/Cermak yard will be upgraded. Construction could begin by year-end.

Installation of a new signal control system in the State Street Subway is due for completion this year, improving safety and reliability of the line. The $27.2 million contract with GE Harmon includes a cab signal system and three new interlockings, with interfaces to six other CTA lines, replacing trip-stops that have been in place since 1943.

Rising ridership on the 9.3-mile Brown Line has made capacity improvements there of the highest urgency. Design work is under way on a platform-lengthening project that will allow the use of eight-car trains and will see the straightening of some curves to shorten running times.

In addition to these large-scale projects, the CTA has an on-going station rehabilitation program and is accelerating efforts to improve passenger amenities. For example, the CTA in 1997 eliminated token booths at stations, replacing them with a $52 million Cubic magnetic fare card system that can be adapted for smart cards.

Rolling stock is not being neglected in CTA's capital plans. A half-life overhaul by Alstom of the 2600 series built by Budd/Transit America between 1981 and 1987 is now 60% complete. The 2600s are being fitted with an upgraded propulsion system, IGBT-based auxiliary inverters, higher capacity heating systems, upgraded door controls, full-width cabs, and an advanced microprocessor-based cab signal system. Interior work includes the installation of new air conditioning, a public address system, and improved lighting.

Meanwhile, an order for 150 new cars is being prepared that could be put out to bid later this year. These will replace the Budd-built 2200 series, the oldest vehicles.


Catenary replacement is a major part of the South Shore's capital improvement plans. A constant-tension system is needed.

Photo by Howard Ande

Modernization on the South Shore
The South Shore Line, which shares Metra Electric District tracks into its Chicago terminal at Randolph Street Station, is also modernizing its facilities with a program of station, right-of-way, and rolling stock upgrades. Among the projects completed or under way are bridge rehabilitation and replacement, conversion of the entire system to CWR, construction of an expanded shop at Michigan City, a mid-life overhaul of 41 Nippon Sharyo cars delivered in 1982-83 (including conversion to a.c. propulsion), and studies on a new constant-tension catenary system that would cost about $34 million. Ten new cars were delivered last year to handle expanding ridership, which now totals over 12,000 on weekdays. Forecasts show boardings will grow by approximately 30% over the next 20 years.

An expansion to either Lowell or Valparaiso, Ind., is under consideration by the NICTD board. A study found the project would serve an estimated 7,900 weekday passengers by 2020 and cost about $250 million. So far, funding sources have not been identified. Two existing freight lines were found to be viable, the 46.6-mile CSXT route to Lowell, and the 54.2-mile Canadian National line to Valparaiso. The proposal does not include electrification, instead calling for dual-mode locomotives.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:41 AM   #4
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Chicago commuter rail network maps

"L" [metro & loop rail]


"CTA" [metro & loop rail]


"Subway" [metro & loop]



"Metra" [metro & suburb rail]


"Amtrak" [regional & international HSR]
Midwest routes

Overlook routes






Scroll----------------------------------->


Illinois Amtrak:


HSR


^I will be using this line very often!

Last edited by ChicagoSkyline; April 23rd, 2006 at 08:19 AM.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:53 AM   #5
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Very clearly Tokyo followed by London, with Paris and New York tied (IMO, although this is debatable).
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 07:57 AM   #6
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Im sorry, but Chicago just gets killed here. The only North American city even remotely in contention for such an award is NYC. Tokyo easily wins this one..
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:13 AM   #7
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What are Chicago's commuter rail trains look like?

Use your imagination then, if it is such pain to see~!
"HSR"


Last edited by ChicagoSkyline; April 23rd, 2006 at 11:05 PM.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:14 AM   #8
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The L is metro, not commuter rail.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:16 AM   #9
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Tokyo most certainly.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQui
The L is metro, not commuter rail.
I think that Chicago's "L" carries commuters from Loop #1 -------> Loop#2 consider as "commuter" rail.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:19 AM   #11
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Acela is most certainly not in Chicago..
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:22 AM   #12
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Are those last trains in the last two pictures even from the United States?



They appear to be running on the left and to my knowledge the US goes against international convention and drives its trains only on the right side.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:23 AM   #13
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Why show photos of the CTA system if you're asking about commuter rail? The el is rapid transit, not commuter rail. Metra is commuter rail. And Tokyo still pwns Chicago. It has SEVENTY FIVE commuter rail lines that transport 20 million a day. Metra has about 350,000 riders each day. Tokyo is the undisputed KING of commuter rail, without question.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:24 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoSkyline
I think that Chicago's "L" carries commuters from Loop #1 -------> Loop#2 consider as "commuter" rail.
Mmmmmm, no.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_storms
Acela is most certainly not in Chicago..
It is only matter of time! I think that we are getting something faster than that of Acela of the NE!
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:28 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydrogen
Why show photos of the CTA system if you're asking about commuter rail? The el is rapid transit, not commuter rail. Metra is commuter rail. And Tokyo still pwns Chicago. It has SEVENTY FIVE commuter rail lines that transport 20 million a day. Metra has about 35,000 riders each day. Tokyo is the undisputed KING of commuter rail, without question.
Good post. These rail threads are a disgrace to Chicago, a wonderful city that doesn't need to be associated with a stubborn poster. :p
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoSkyline
It is only matter of time! I think that we are getting something faster than that of Acela of the NE!
And I banged the tooth fairy last night.

We are dealing with reality, not fantasy.

As of now, Chicago has no Acela and a mediocre commuter rail system.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:32 AM   #18
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^
Thanks for the compliments guys!
I love to compare Chicago commuter rails with other cities like Tokyo, London, Paris, NYC and Moscow! Of course, there are many other cities that also have killer commter rail network, please all welcome to post them here!
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:33 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jue
Good post. These rail threads are a disgrace to Chicago, a wonderful city that doesn't need to be associated with a stubborn poster. :p
Thank you for making the distinction. ChicagoSkyline's ignorance and bravado in no way represent that of most Chicago forumers here at SSC.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 08:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonQui
And I banged the tooth fairy last night.

We are dealing with reality, not fantasy.

As of now, Chicago has no Acela and a mediocre commuter rail system.
Well, I know, of course!
Chicago is definitely working on it!
Once it is complete particulary the HSR lines to Miami, I will be the stalker!
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