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Old April 23rd, 2006, 09:50 AM   #41
Vapour
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The three metro areas, downsized:





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Old April 23rd, 2006, 09:54 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoSkyline
Hey Vapour, How are the riderships in Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto and Nagoya stacks up to Tokyo?
Which city do you think has the most advance and complex commuter systems and networks in Japan?
According to the source I posted before, ridership in Osaka is 1/3 of Tokyo's and Nagoya is 1/16.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 10:05 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour
According to the source I posted before, ridership in Osaka is 1/3 of Tokyo's and Nagoya is 1/16.
Thanks! Tokyo commuter rail is incredible!
Now, that after seeing some eye opening Japan cities' commuter network, I am feeling like an azz by comparing Chicago's to Tokyo's,lol!

Also very welcome to post anything that will educate forumers of SSC from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya commuter rails. LIke the ivestments, maintainances, and future outlook for commuter rails.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 11:01 AM   #44
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Tokyo central area:

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Old April 23rd, 2006, 01:58 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoSkyline
Now, that after seeing some eye opening Japan cities' commuter network, I am feeling like an azz by comparing Chicago's to Tokyo's,lol!
very good: don't forget that only dummies never change their mind.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 02:16 PM   #46
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1. Toyko
2. London
3. Paris
4th.... dunno - perhaps another European city such as Madrid?

Also - it's all very well to have miles/kms of commuter track - but surely frequency here counts as well! In South London, where the subway doesn't really exist much, commuter trains come every 2-3min in Peak hours - and Clapham Junction (argued as the World's Busiest Railway Station) has a commuter train every 30 seconds in to Central London.
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 05:33 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour
The three metro areas, downsized:

Unfortunately there is no combined map of the city and metro area services for London that is similar to the above map for Greater Tokyo.




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Old April 23rd, 2006, 05:51 PM   #48
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very nice great report ChicagoSkyline :cheers
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 11:26 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vapour
The three metro areas, downsized:


[/URL]
Is that the combined rail services or just the commuter rail alone for the greater Tokyo?
What is the scale used for the map?
Just curious about some Greater Tokyo commuter rail service stats.
How far spread out does it cover and How many km/miles of tracks in total?

As for Chicago Metra commuter rail, it is a suburban sprawl vehicle, that explaines the total reliance on cars once you left the metro. The furtherest single route in the NW suburban city of Harvard is about 60 miles away from the Chicago loop!...
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Old April 24th, 2006, 01:05 AM   #50
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Tokyo is definitely the commuter rail capital of the world.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 04:37 AM   #51
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TRAINS Magazine's Top 10 train-wacthing spots in the railroad capital

I would say that this is like another sport for the railroad fans!

TRAINS Magazine's Top 10 train-wacthing spots in the railroad capital
by J. David Ingles and Kevin P. Keefe

If you want to know railroads, you’ve got to know Chicago. And TRAINS Magazine takes you there in its July 2003 Special Issue.

You’ll see how 500 freight trains a day thread their way through the city, check in at the 30 active interlocking towers, pay homage to the city’s six great passenger stations, and understand why Chicago’s role as the nation’s railroad capital will only grow larger in the years to come.

And if you want to see it all for yourself, here are TRAINS Magazine’s "10 Best" hot spots for Chicago train watching, as nominated by the magazine in its July 1993 issue.

The criteria were fairly simple: Each location had to be accessible to the public, with good vantage points that would not require trespassing on railroad property. Accessibility via public transportation was desirable but not necessary (and all but three are). Each one had to feature a variety of railroads or styles of operation; and collectively, should include most of Chicago’s line-haul railroads. And each spot had to be busy. You’ll easily find others of your own, but the message is simple: Head for Chicago and enjoy the show!

Roosevelt Road
The best Chicago skyline views with trains are available from Roosevelt road (12th Street), which spans the multi-track routes of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Amtrak, and Metra’s Rock Island District south of downtown.

Trains and yard moves keep action seemingly constant at this passenger-train only location. The Roosevelt Road bridge has ample sidewalk room, although it might be wise to be with at least one companion at what can be a conspicuous location. Roosevelt Road is a hearty walk from Union Station—go south along Canal Street. Parking is available on Canal Street, just off the viaduct to the west of the BNSF tracks.


Elmhurst
Anywhere on Union Pacific’s West Line—the former Chicago & North Western Overland Route for old-timers—can be a good spot. But those west of Proviso Yard, UP’s hub, have more main line freight action. One favorite is the pleasant suburb of Elmhurst, just west of Proviso. UP freights go slow here, either accelerating in departure or decelerating for arrival. If you want more speed, other good spots include curves in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton; the EJ&E diamonds (with tower) in West Chicago, also known as Turner Junction and the end of a BNSF branch from Aurora; and the Fox River bridge in Geneva. Metra runs 59 trains each weekday on the West Line.<br>

The Elmhurst Metra station is at York Road in the city’s central business district. To drive to Elmhurst, exit from the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290) at St. Charles Road, go west to Poplar, then north to the tracks (just east of the depot). From the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), exit at North Avenue/Lake Street (Illinois 64/U.S. 20) and go west to York Road, then south to the tracks.


Rondout
Rondout, a storied junction 32 miles north of Union Station, offers variety on Canadian Pacific’s ex-Milwaukee Road main line to Wisconsin and the Twin Cities. An active interlocking tower guards the crossing of Elgin, Joliet & Eastern’s main line to Waukegan, and the divergence of Metra’s Milwaukee District North Line onto the Fox Lake branch.

Amtrak’s 14 Chicago-Milwaukee push-pull trains, plus the Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder, roar through Rondout, and Metra has 58 weekday North Line trains through the junction, although Rondout is no longer a Metra stop (Libertyville is the closest). CPR runs most of the freights through here; EJ&E fields a local, and Wisconsin & Southern comes off the Fox Lake branch nightly with a freight from Janesville, Wis., bound for Belt Railway’s Clearing Yard. One public vantage point is the old North Shore Line’s Mundelein branch bridge, now part of a trail, which spans the CPR.

Rondout is about halfway between Libertyville and Lake Bluff on Illinois 176. To reach Rondout from the northbound Tri-State (I-94), exit at 176 and go east.


Highlands
Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s street-level, three-track “raceway” is Chicago’s busiest main line, when freight and passenger train volumes are combined. Just as with the UP West Line, anywhere on BNSF between Cicero and Eola yards can be a great train-watching location. This stretch encompasses 23 miles, from the Metra station at La Vergne to the yard at Eola, on the east side of Aurora. Perhaps the most serene spot is Highlands station in eastern Hinsdale. It features a park, a charming stone depot, and a narrow street “rainbow bridge.”

Metra fields 94 trains on weekdays, although only a handful stop at Highlands; most call at nearby Hinsdale. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, plus the California and Illinois Zephyrs also ply the route.

Among other raceway favorite raceway vantage points: La Vergne, in Berwyn, the west throat of BNSF’s Cicero Yard and where the Canadian National’s Freeport Sub bridges the BNSF main line; Riverside, site of a picturesque city water tower and depot; La Grange Road, not far from where the Indiana Harbor Belt ducks under BNSF; and Lisle and Naperville, towns at each end of a long S-curve.

To reach Highlands, exit the Tri-State (I-294) at Ogden Avenue (U.S. 34), go west to York Road, then south to Chicago Avenue (47th Street) just across the tracks, then east to the park. If you’re going by auto, Ogden Avenue generally follows the BN through the suburbs.


Joliet
Trains of seven railroads can be seen from the platforms of Joliet Union Station, 40 miles from Chicago. The building, refurbished in the early 1990s, is above street level at the southeast corner of downtown in this industrial city of 77,000. It is the terminus for Metra Rock Island District and Heritage Corridor trains (three each weekday rush hour), and it serves Amtrak’s six daily trains on the route to Springfield, Ill., and St. Louis.

As with half our Chicago Hot Spots, diamonds are a train-watcher’s best friend at Joliet. But only one Rock Island track is left to cross the four that split the depot and the interlocking tower, which is still in use. BNSF’s busy former Santa Fe main line to Kansas City claims two of the four east-west tracks. Union Pacific trains to St. Louis use the other two, as do occasional Canadian National coal trains bound for the nearby Plaines Power Station. UP track ownership changes to CN a few blocks north of the depot, but a CN switch job goes through the junction. On the Rock Island, CSX runs two weekday freights, usually at night; Iowa Interstate sends two through daily, east in the early morning, west in the afternoon.

Elgin, Joliet & Eastern’s yard and back shop are a mile or so northeast of Union Station; the J’s main line passes over the BNSF and CN north of town and crosses Metra at grade a mile east of union Station. A view of the J yard is available from the overpass on Jefferson Street, U.S. 7.

To reach Joliet Union Station from I-80, exit at either Illinois 53 (Chicago Street) or Richard Street and go north until you pass under the Rock Island.


Homewood
Homewood is a south suburb at the north end of a stretch that offers the best Chicagoland viewing of Canadian National’s former Illinois Central main line. Through the city and close-in suburbs, the CN main is elevated above street level. At Homewood, it comes down to grade level except for street underpasses and the EJ&E railroad underpass at Matteson. So, anywhere from Homewood station south six miles to University Park, where the Metra Electric line ends, is about equal. Metra Electric, formerly IC’s operation, runs on the westernmost two tracks of CN’s multi-track right of way.

Homewood is also at the south throat of Markham Yard, no longer CN’s primary freight facility (that’s now Glenn Yard in southwestern Chicago) but still very much in use, with the Moyers Intermodal Terminal occupying land once used for carload switching.

Markham is also the site of CN’s large Woodcrest diesel shop. Homewood is a Metra Electric stop, and is Amtrak’s suburban stop for the Illini and City of New Orleans. Norfolk Southern runs three or four trains a day on trackage rights to Decatur, Ill. Metra Electric runs hourly off-peak service Monday through Saturday, and every two hours on Sundays.

The Tri-State Tollway (I294 and I-80) passes over Markham Yard. To reach Homewood from the west, exit the Tri-State at Dixie Highway. Go south until you pass under the IC, then turn right to the depot. From the east, exit the Tri-State at Halsted Street, Illinois Route 1. Go south a mile to Ridge Road, then west two miles through the Homewood business district to the tracks.


Blue Island
The junction that offers the biggest variety of freights at any single Chicagoland site, and one of the busiest, is “Blue Island crossing,” one of two Hot Spots in Blue Island, a gritty southwestern suburb of 21,000. The other is Vermont Street, one of two Metra passenger depots.

B&OCT’s main line from Pine Junction, Ind., splits here, with one leg headed north to Chicago and the other leg, jointly owned with Indiana Harbor Belt, running northwest around the city. Slicing across is Canadian National’s former Grand Trunk Western main line. All cross Broadway at grade, protected by the watchman’s tower. Also visible are two of the five imposing truss bridges over the Calumet Sag Channel Canal, which add a ruggedly photogenic element to many pictures. The interlocking tower is out of sight across the canal to the north.

Trains from at least 8 railroads pass through this junction. Metra’s Rock Island District crosses overhead near the diamonds. An interchange ramp track is used by Iowa Interstate and CSX trains off the Rock Island to reach their yards. Chicago Rail Link occasionally sends a local out to the Rock.

Vermont Street is parallel to Broadway but north of the Sag Channel. The two Metra depots — across the tracks from one another — are a half-mile northeast of Blue Island crossing (but a longer and indirect walk). The Rock Island District depot is at the divergence of the Suburban Line from the Main Line. Nearby is the tiny, two-track outer terminus of the Metra Electric’s Blue Island branch. Besides all the Metra trains (there is no Sunday service on the Electric here), freights of Iowa Interstate and Chicago Rail Link, a switching line with freight rights on most of the former RI track in Chicago, go through here.

To reach Blue Island, use the 127th Street exits from either the Tri-State Tollway (I-294) to the west (the exit is marked for Cicero Avenue, Illinois 50), or I-57 to the east. Go to Western Avenue, then south to Vermont Street; Western Avenue’s connection with Broadway is via street ramps, as Western passes over Broadway as well as the Rock Island District on the same overpass.


Dolton
Dolton (pronounced Dahl-ton), five miles east of Blue Island, is the most interesting junction in the southeast suburbs. It is where the IHB and B&OCT (CSX) double-track main lines cross Union Pacific’s north-south double-track main. A half mile west of Dolton, the B&OCT and IHB routes pass under the elevated Canadian National (ex-Illinois Central) main.

On an average day, Dolton sees more than 40 freights from five railroads: IHB, CSX, UP, CN, and CPR. East of Dolton, IHB and B&OCT parallel each other for a mile before separating for State Line and Hohman Avenue junctions, respectively.

Dolton’s tower, south of the IHB, is aligned along the former Pennsylvania “Panhandle” line, now abandoned. CSX trains coming up on UP’s ex-C&EI main from the south leave the UP at Dolton to access Barr yard. These include the few trains off the Monon, which run on CN and UP via Thornton Junction, a crossing 3.4 miles south of Dolton. Some CN run-through trains also go this way.

CPR trains through Dolton include the 500-series, which operate on CSX to Detroit and Canada, as well as those going south on CSX to southern Indiana.

From the Metra Electric Riverdale station at 138th Street, a moderate walk of less than a mile through a residential area east on 138th, then southeast on Lincoln, brings you to the junction. To reach Dolton by car from the Calumet Expressway (I-94), exit on Dolton Avenue west to Lincoln, then northwest to the IHB grade crossing.


Porter
Perhaps the most pastoral yet busiest spot in Indiana’s portion of Chicagoland is Porter, a junction dominated by Norfolk Southern and Amtrak. Porter is a small town of 3000 next to the larger community of Chesterton. The junction, 40.6 miles from Chicago Union Station, is where Amtrak’s Michigan Line passenger route splits from Norfolk Southern’s main line, the former New York Central, to Elkhart Yard and points east. At the same point, which used to have diamond crossing, CSX’s ex-Conrail freight branch off the Indiana Harbor Belt from Blue Island converges. This branch and the Amtrak Line comprised the original Michigan Central route to Detroit.

The junction has been remotely controlled since March 1985, after which PO (Porter) Tower was razed. Now it’s just “CP 482,” for “controlled point” and the milepost from Buffalo, N.Y.

Just east of the Amtrak switch, in the same junction, CSX’s former Chesapeake & Ohio route to Grand Rapids also diverges. Trains of CSX and Canadian Pacific, plus Amtrak’s Pere Marquette, use this line to the east and NS’s main line to the west.

Amtrak runs 12 trains a day through Porter. Most are on the Michigan line: three Detroit/Pontiac trains each way plus the International for Toronto. The overnight Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited use NS’s main line.

The junction is just south of Interstate 94. Exit Indiana 49 south, go into Chesterton, and just beyond the Conrail tracks, take Broadway west into Porter to 18th Street, then north to the tracks.


Hammond
Three separate locations, each a busy Hot Spot in its own right, are in Hammond, Ind., a blue-collar city of 85,000. They are the Amtrak depot and two junctions with towers, State Line and Hohman Avenue.

The Amtrak station “Hammond-Whiting,” in Hammond’s Robertsdale neighborhood on Conrail’s main line at the lakeshore, sees 14 Amtrak and over 40 Norfolk Southern trains a day. An EJ&E branch runs parallel to CR north of the depot. It’s seldom used by its owner, but you’ll see the switchers of little South Chicago & Indiana Harbor (former Chicago Short Line) on it. The Amtraks are the same as at Porter (18 miles to the east), with the addition of the Three Rivers. To reach the depot from the Indiana Toll Road or Calumet Skyway (I-90), at the state line, exit on eastbound Indianapolis Boulevard, U.S. 12-20-45. Go to Calumet Avenue, then north to the tracks. A day at Hammond-Whiting was featured in September 1985 TRAINS.

Four miles south of the Amtrak depot on Hohman Avenue is South Shore Line’s Hammond passenger station. (Go south on Calumet, U.S. 41, to Gostlin Avenue, then west a half mile.)

Another three blocks west of the depot, via Gostlin, Dearborn, and Brunswick streets is State Line Tower, hard by the Illinois border. Where once you could see Erie Lackawanna, Monon, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Wabash, as well as predecessors of today’s occupants, now only two main lines cross: CSX’s ex-Baltimore & Ohio to Garrett, Ind., and points east, and Norfolk Southern’s ex-Nickel Plate line to Fort Wayne and beyond.

The South Shore is a city block north of the tower, and that line, NS, and CSX each are crossed by a north-south Indiana Harbor Belt branch used about five times a day. CPR haulage trains and the occasional EJ&E switch job run on CSX. South Shore schedules 37 passenger trains each weekday, and has a few diesel-powered freights.

To get to State Line from the east, use the Calumet Avenue (U.S. 41) exit on the Indiana toll road, I-90. From the west, off the Calumet Expressway (I-94), exit at 130th Street east to Burnham Avenue, then go southeast along the South Shore past the Hegewisch depot to the state line.

South of State Line Tower a mile along the Norfolk Southern is Hammond’s third Hot Spot, Hohman Avenue Tower, just north of the downtown district. Here, with diamonds in a street intersection that’s guarded by gates controlled manually from the interlocking tower, NS crosses the old Michigan Central route, used by IHB and CSX freights to or from Blue Island (Ill.) yard.


Ten alternate Chicago hot spots…

So, we cheated — we’ve given you more than 10 top hot spots. Add the extra one in Blue Island to Hammond’s three, and you get 13. Actually, we’ve mentioned dozens if you’re liberal on the CN&W and BN routes. Enjoy all of them, and more, in the Railroad Capital.

And before you stroke that keyboard to tell us of your favorite Chicago train-watching spot that wasn’t included in our “Top 10,” allow us to mention our “Second 10.” Some lack the easy public accessibility that we made a requirement for the “first team.” From north to south:

Deval Tower, Des Plaines: The active interlocking tower (Deval is short for Des Plaines Valley) sits amid three sets of diamonds where UP’s Northwest Line, UP’s freight cutoff for Wisconsin trains, and CN’s Wisconsin Central all cross.

Tower B-12, Franklin Park: Controls the crossing of CN with Metra’s Milwaukee West Line, also a route for CPR through freights to and from Milwaukee. The junction marks the north end of Indiana Harbor Belt, and you’ll see transfers of several roads, including BRC and CN.

River Forest: A station on UP’s West Line, just west of CN’s ex-WC bridge, which crosses over UP. UP intermodal trains and transfers of several roads can be seen.

Tower A-2, Western Avenue: A good Metra spot. The Milwaukee District crosses the UP West Line, and it’s at the eastern throat of both Metra coachyards, California Avenue (UP) and Western Avenue (MILW). Amtrak’s Chicago-Milwaukee trains pass through here, too. We chose this spot for Metra rather than Mayfair Tower, six miles north, where the Milwaukee North and UP Northwest lines cross, because Mayfair is not as accessible for visitors. At A-2, the Milwaukee Western Avenue station platform is handy.

Twenty-First Street: The southerly of Amtrak’s towers near Union Station, is where Amtrak’s routes to Joliet and the East Coast divide. Canadian National’s freight link crosses here. The tower is just south of Amtrak’s tall Chicago River lift bridge, itself an engineering landmark. Every Amtrak Chicago headed east of Chicago crosses the bridge, as do Metra Heritage commuter trains, and NS and UP freights. In the mornings, you can watch the action from a city park along the Chicago River, sandwiched between the Amtrak lift bridge and the CN tracks.

Panhandle Crossing, or Brighton Park: A noninterlocked junction where CN’s Joliet line (Metra Heritage) crosses two parallel north-south lines, B&OCT (CSX) and NS. Transfers of many railroads go through here; a cabin with semaphores guards the crossing.

Lemont: In this Chicago suburb, BNSF’s ex-Santa Fe main line crosses the Sag Channel on a sharp S-curve. The track is very close to CN’s Joliet route, also used by UP road freights. The restored stone depots in Lemont and nearby Lockport, the oldest in use by Metra, were built in 1853 and 1863, respectively, by Chicago & Alton.

Thornton Junction: Located in the south suburb of South Holland, the crossing of CN’s ex-GTW main and the joint UP-CSX line, also used by CPR’s Indiana freights. The tower has been razed.

Fort Wayne Crossing: West of Valparaiso off Indiana 130 is the diamond of CN (Grand Trunk Western) and NS (Nickel Plate). Parallel to NS is CSX’s old PRR main line, once the route of the Broadway Limited. The junction is named for PRR predecessor Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago.

Last edited by ChicagoSkyline; April 24th, 2006 at 04:43 AM.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 04:46 AM   #52
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Commuter capital of the World...Tokyo, no area compares...

Of the US, it's New York, it has triple the ridership than Chicago with Metro-North, NJ Transit, and the busiest rail in the US, the LI Railroad.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 05:22 AM   #53
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Tokyo really is king, espectially when you consider it the center of Japan's amazing intercity rail system. This video is amazing... check out the view from the driver's seat a 1/3 of the way through.

"Nozomi" operation from Hakata to Shin-Osaka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp0M8tnPP98
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Old April 24th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #54
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i agree, tokyo.

chicago pales in comparison.

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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:17 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OettingerCroat
i agree, tokyo.

chicago pales in comparison.

Yea, Chicago still needs tons of improvements!

http://www.catsiatf.com/linkfiles/material/trains.html
Scroll---------------------------->




Capping three years of negotiations, the railroad industry and the City of Chicago announced on June 16 a $1.5 billion plan to improve Chicago's railroads.


Chicago has more rail traffic by far than any other terminal in North America, but it doesn't handle it efficiently. Though efficiency has improved recently, due to better management, the railroads are bumping up against inherent constraints of an antiquated plant. The number of freight cars traversing Chicago grew from 28,500 per day in 1998 to 37,500 now, and is projected to be 67,000 in 20 years. "You've got an 1890 infrastructure supporting a 2003 freight system," says city transportation commissioner Miguel d'Escoto. "It doesn't work."

The consequences of what would happen without improvements led Mayor Richard M. Daley to write Surface Transportation Board chairman Linda Morgan in December 2000, seeking her help in solving the effects on city street traffic, noise, air pollution, and emergency vehicle response times. The STB helped the city convene a task force of Chicago's trunk-line railroads and belt lines, Metra, Amtrak, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The task force considered future rail traffic and what is required to reconcile it with the city's livability. The railroads met last year at a Norfolk Southern facility in North Carolina. Each presented its three "most-needed" improvements-which could be on someone else's railroad. More than 80% of the proposed improvements were included in the plan.

"This is a very unusual agreement," says one Class I official who participated in building the plan. "Getting six Class Is to agree on a complicated plan, all at once, may be unprecedented in history. I don't think it would have been possible without the mergers, which reduced the number of players and gave each of them a much broader perspective."

The plan, called the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency Project ("CREATE"), selects for improvement five primary railroad corridors with a total length of 122 miles [see map, following pages]. Four corridors would be used primarily by freight trains. The fifth would improve Metra's Southwest Service over the former Wabash.CREATE calls for construction of 50 miles of new track and 364 new switches, most on existing rights-of-way, though two significant new sections cut through residential neighborhoods. Most of the 25 rail-highway crossings to be grade-separated were selected to improve train movements, for instance, by avoiding having to hold a train well short of an interlocking to stay off a busy street crossing.

While a centralized dispatching center for the Chicago terminal is not included, signaling enhancements would enable dispatchers to monitor intersecting lines on their own screens. Ten staffed interlocking towers, including A-5, B-17, Blue Island, Gresham, Deval, and Kensington would be automated.

Computer models project the improvements would increase average freight-train speed through Chicago from 9 mph to 13 mph or more, reducing delays 63% and saving 375 to 450 train hours per day. Construction is expected to take six years and employ more than 1000.

The unanswered question is money-full funding has not yet been obtained. The six Class I railroads have committed $212 million of the $1.5 billion, an
average of $5.9 million per railroad per year for the life of the plan. Metra plans to contribute a substantial but yet undetermined amount. The rest of the money will have to come from local, state, and federal funds, which proponents hope will be provided in this year's federal transportation funding bill.

Primary proponent for inclusion of CREATE in that bill is expected to be U.S. House will be Rep. William Lipinski (D.-Ill.). But Lipinski is already criticizing the railroads' funding commitment as inadequate.

"These improvements are worth more to the railroads than $212 million," Lipinski remarked a few hours after the plan was announced. "I assume they will ultimately be willing to pay whatever price is deemed fair."

Congressmen from other areas may perceive the plan as a giveaway to privately owned railroads.

Daley's concern is that if the railroads have to pay more, they may walk away.

"They could say, 'We don't have to participate. We pay our taxes,' " Daley said. Association of American Railroads President Edward Hamberger defended
the railroads' commitment as "real money" and pointed out that railroads had spent $1.2 billion on capital improvements in the Chicago area over the past five years.

With the federal deficit projected to break records and the Bush administration loath to impose new taxes, competition for available federal transportation dollars is likely to be fierce, and there is no assurance Lipinski will be able to bring the needed money home.

Beltway Corridor: Basically the Indiana Harbor Belt-Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal joint main line between Tower B-12 in Franklin Park and Blue Island, it suffers from inadequate connections with major freight routes radiating from the city. CREATE will add a second connecting track with UP at Provo Junction, along with a third UP main track around Proviso Yard, to reduce delays and allow freights to run during Metra rush hours.

The BNSF connection at McCook would be similarly improved. Centralized traffic control would be added on IHB between CP Hill (Bellwood) and CP La Grange, and on B&OCT between McCook and the connection with BRC at Argo. B&OCT would gain a third main track between 123rd Street (Alsip) and
Francisco (just west of Blue Island).

A key objective in this corridor is to improve access between BRC's Clearing Yard and the UP-CSX joint line heading south from Yard Center (the former
Chicago & Eastern Illinois). A realignment of the Blue Island interlocking, with new connections, would enable UP and CSX trains to use the B&OCT or CN
(Grand Trunk Western) interchangeably to reach Clearing. The Beltway would be extended over CN from Blue Island to Thornton Junction, where a new
connection to the former C&EI would be built to let trains bypass busy Dolton.

East-West Corridor: This covers the length of the BRC from Argo to Rock Island Junction near the lakefront. Due to the interlockings at 80th Street,
Belt Junction, and 75th Street, the highway crossing at Columbus Avenue, and Metra movements, just one train at a time can move over the current plant
between Hayford and 80th Street. A second connection between B&OCT and BRC would be built at Argo, and two main tracks would be constructed through Clearing, where none exist today.

The Columbus Avenue crossing would be grade-separated, and flyovers for Metra would be built at the 75th Street and 74th Street interlockings. Belt Jct. interlocking would be eliminated.

Western Avenue Corridor: This corridor consists of the parallel NS (ex-New York Central), B&OCT, and ex-Pennsylvania Railroad rights-of-way running
north and south along its namesake street. The NS and B&OCT trackage would get CTC signaling; hand-thrown switches at Ogden Junction would be powered.

The diamonds at Ash Street would be removed, and Brighton Park would become a flyover, enabling Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis and Metra Heritage Corridor
trains to soar over three busy freight lines. A new connection in the northwest quadrant of Brighton Park would give BNSF a direct route between Cicero and Corwith Yards. A new NS main track through Ashland Avenue would expedite movements on and off the corridor.

Central Corridor: This corridor will allow the St. Charles Air Line to be abandoned, long sought by the Daley administration. The Air Line's elevated tracks divide the South Loop neighborhood where the mayor currently lives, and it impedes real estate development. Extending from South Wye Junction at 18th Street near the lakefront to Union Avenue about a mile to the west, the Air Line carries Amtrak's City of New Orleans and Illini, plus freights serving CN's Illinois Central lines. Operations are complicated by the crossing at 16th and Clark of Metra's Rock Island District commuter line, and the route will not clear double-stack cars.

In 1999, the city and Illinois Central reached an "understanding in principle" eliminate the Air Line and reroute IC and Amtrak trains onto a new route through Englewood and Brighton Park [pages 26-27, June 1999 Trains]. This understanding, which led to withdrawal of the city's opposition to CN's corporate acquisition of IC, has with small changes been incorporated in CREATE.

Northbound from Markham Yard, CN (IC) trains would be diverted onto the "Nickel Plate Connection," a dormant structure at Grand Crossing that once linked NKP's main line to the New York Central for access to LaSalle Street Station. The Central Corridor would follow the PRR route through Englewood, which would be grade-separated from Metra's Rock Island line, to a connection at 45th Street with the former Chicago & Western Indiana main now run by Metra.

A new connection at "the Pepsi curve" (for the adjacent plant) will turn west onto CN's unused elevated line along 49th Street. Another new connection
(tentatively called CP Damen) would join the Central Corridor with the 49th Street Line west of the Western Avenue Corridor. Two new main tracks would
be constructed for CN's use from CP Damen to Brighton Park, and one to Ogden Junction.

From Ogden Junction west, the Central Corridor would follow the CSX (B&OCT) elevated Altenheim Subdivision, the eastern portion of which is out of service owing to viaduct problems, to a connection with CN's former Wisconsin Central at Forest Park. CN's IC trackage northward along Lake Shore Drive from Grand Crossing to South Wye Junction, plus the Air Line, would be abandoned, with the Air Line converted to park, residential, and commercial use. The Metra Electric main line, also used by South Shore Line, would remain in place.

Passenger Express Corridor: This corridor requires construction of flyovers at Englewood, 74th Street, 75th Street, and Chicago Ridge, achieve Metra's
goal of shifting Southwest Service trains from Union Station to La Salle Street Station, and eliminating freight train interference that afflicts this Metra route. The improvements would reduce the number of railroad diamond crossings on the route to one-the moderate-volume CN (GTW) at Ashburn.

-Michael W. Blaszak
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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:18 AM   #56
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I thought this thread is about commuter rails...
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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:19 AM   #57
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I thought this thread was about the world and not Chicago.

-_-
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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:20 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbarn
I thought this thread is about commuter rails...
The articles mention our Chicago Metra and Amtrak rail...
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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:37 AM   #59
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Old April 24th, 2006, 06:38 AM   #60
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On shared track who pays for what? - Chicago, Illinois, railroads work together

Railway Age, Oct, 1999 by Tom Judge

Metra and BNSF have learned how to amicably divvy up m/w and signal costs on the 35-mile Chicago/Aurora "racetrack."

If you have 160 freight and passenger trains operating around the clock on a 35-mile stretch of track, you face some tremendous operating, signaling and m/w challenges. Now add in the fact that three different entities--one public, one private, and one public/private--must figure out who pays for what and you could have constant, contentious bickering.

But not in Chicago. The original formula for allocating costs, negotiated more than 20 years ago between Metra and a pre-merger Burlington Northern, is still in effect. Thanks to good communications and lots of understanding, Metra and today's Burlington Northern and Santa Fe are able to get the needed work done without constant hassles. Every weekday, BNSF, under contract to Metra, carries approximately 58,000 riders on that line, 30,000 in the morning rush hour and 28,000 in the evening, with 92 revenue trains and 10 equipment moves.

BNSF operates approximately 50 freight trains daily, about 60% of them intermodal trains. The railroad also has major yards at Cicero and Eola and a smaller facility at Western Avenue in the City of Chicago along the line. Amtrak adds another six trains a day, one each way for the venerable California Zephyr and two each way for Chicago-to-Quincy, Ill., service.

HOW THE FORMULA WORKS

"We pretty much follow the original fixed facilities agreement negotiated back in the early 198Os," says Bill Tupper, chief engineer, Metra. "The basic split for track work is based on gross ton miles. For signal work, it's based on train movement. West of Cicero, the gross-ton-miles figure is in the 70% range for BNSF, perhaps higher now. Whereas that number is almost reversed for train movements. So if it's a signal improvement, we pay more. If it's rail, tie, ballast, turnouts, and so on, they pay more." There are variations within that. An example is a project set for next year: the Lisle crossovers.

Originally installed in the late 70s, they're up for renewal now. "Metra is paying 100% of the cost of this project," Tupper notes. "The only reason for those crossovers is to allow our Naperville express trains to get onto or off of the middle track. A freight train may use the crossover occasionally to get around something else, but the basic purpose is to aid commuter trains.

Rest of article.....
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