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I decided to take some shots of the construction @ Ravenswood. It seems to me that the outbound station is going to look very extraordinary after completion. There's a new partial viaduct @ Leland with very bright lights underneath.

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I decided to take some shots of the construction @ Ravenswood. It seems to me that the outbound station is going to look very extraordinary after completion. There's a new partial viaduct @ Leland with very bright lights underneath.

That looks somewhat similar to other stations on embankments (53rd, 57th, Harvey).

The one difference is that theoretically the station is supposed to link up with the shopping center that contains Mariano's.

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That looks somewhat similar to other stations on embankments (53rd, 57th, Harvey).

The one difference is that theoretically the station is supposed to link up with the shopping center that contains Mariano's.

In which that's true. How in the world it supposed to connect to the station if it's across the street from the outbound side? By the way, it's a L.A. Fitness on top of Mariano's.

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In which that's true. How in the world it supposed to connect to the station if it's across the street from the outbound side? By the way, it's a L.A. Fitness on top of Mariano's.

Maybe "connected" isn't the correct word, and maybe the fact that the shopping center is called "Ravenswood Station" is a bit misleading, but there obviously an intent to have some sort of transit oriented development there. See, for instance, this story.

Having to cross a side of N. Ravenswood Ave. apparently isn't a deterrent. The Glen of North Glenview Station is supposedly the hub for a transit oriented development, but one still has to cross Lehigh Ave.

Maybe the closest example of an actual TOD is the Mariano's and apartment development at Waukegan Road and Golf, where the apartments under construction abut the Glenview side of the Golf Metra station, which, I'm sure, the Village of Golf didn't contemplate.

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Maybe "connected" isn't the correct word, and maybe the fact that the shopping center is called "Ravenswood Station" is a bit misleading, but there obviously an intent to have some sort of transit oriented development there. See, for instance, this story.

Having to cross a side of N. Ravenswood Ave. apparently isn't a deterrent. The Glen of North Glenview Station is supposedly the hub for a transit oriented development, but one still has to cross Lehigh Ave.

Maybe the closest example of an actual TOD is the Mariano's and apartment development at Waukegan Road and Golf, where the apartments under construction abut the Glenview side of the Golf Metra station, which, I'm sure, the Village of Golf didn't contemplate.

Come to think about it, that does makes a lot of sense. I haven't been out there in a while but you're indeed right about the crossing on Lehigh. It's kinda narrow though.

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In which that's true. How in the world it supposed to connect to the station if it's across the street from the outbound side? By the way, it's a L.A. Fitness on top of Mariano's.

The station was originally supposed to be on the North side of Lawrence & you can see the large, flat section that has been reinforced by sheet pilings along the parking lot.

But the NIMBYs that live on Ravenswood between the Newark Electronics building [formerly some C&NW Ry offices] & Ainslie went nuts & demanded it be moved.

In the meantime, they've had the temporary platform 2, right across from them & I haven't heard a peep of complaints about that.

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The station was originally supposed to be on the North side of Lawrence & you can see the large, flat section that has been reinforced by sheet pilings along the parking lot.

But the NIMBYs that live on Ravenswood between the Newark Electronics building [formerly some C&NW Ry offices] & Ainslie went nuts & demanded it be moved.

In the meantime, they've had the temporary platform 2, right across from them & I haven't heard a peep of complaints about that.

Yeah I haven't heard any complaints myself. It's just weird how Metra allowed crybabies to have their way.

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I think the ME NS cars are up to 1286.

Nope...1300 (about 4 weeks now)

Posted 16 April 2014 - 07:26 AM
1297-98 visually seen at KYD

Told 1299-1300 have been seen there too.

1st cars in over a month (6 weeks).

**UPDATE 4/17...1299-1300 in service South Chicago Branch this morning**

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Looks like Metra is under fire with the Federal Railroad Administration after three separate complaints recently...

  • One complaint of a train running a red signal
  • Two complaints of Rock Island trains tilting

Running a red signal should never happen, but happens throughout all railroads in the country. Now trains tilting while on track is definitely a dangerous situation as those trains could derail or tip off the rails causing serious passenger injuries and/or deaths. Tilting trains sounds like some stretches of bad rails along the Rock Island line, and should be repaired quickly.

Story

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.....Tilting trains sounds like some stretches of bad rails along the Rock Island line, and should be repaired quickly.

Story

What was indicated in other sources wasn't track, but they were running too fast. Trains have suspensions, too.

Anyway, the FRA should get to the bottom of it.

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Metra seems to have some engineers that are really jerks.

I'm sure it's a small group, but there doesn't seem to be a culture there to rein them in, possibly due to the fact that they really work for the railroads that Metra operates on.

A couple times a month, I eat lunch at the Olgilvie food court. Numerous conductors also eat there & so do a few engineers, but they're a rarity.

And listening to the conductors rag on some of the engineers is enlightening. I've heard a few referred to as "wild men" on the rails & it appears I've ridden on their trains on occasion.

Most of the engineers stop their trains exactly so the last car is at the end of the platform, no matter how long the train is & whether all the cars are in use. But a few seem to delight in stopping way down the platforms, when running a midday train where only four out of seven cars have passengers. So everyone that's waiting at the shelter or the benches has to run down the platform to board.

It may be a minor thing, but then there are a few who manage to not get that last car on the platform & you have to race to the next car to get off, because the conductor won't let you debark onto the gravel. I had that happen a few weeks ago where the engineer undershot every single station by on car, even after the conductors radioed him what was happening.

But I guess I'm lucky as I've never been on a train that was speeding. I often use the speedometer app on the phone to check the speed. The fastest on the UP North Line has been 72. The Milwaukee North Line rarely even goes that fast.

Contrast that with the CTA 192 bus, which regularly goes 55 on SB Lake Shore Drive every morning, despite the 45 limit. But then it's just keeping up with the other traffic, which is the safer way to go. I don't know if the CTA still uses Goodyear City Cruiser tires, which had a max speed of 35 molded into the sidewall.

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Metra seems to have some engineers that are really jerks.

I'm sure it's a small group, but there doesn't seem to be a culture there to rein them in, possibly due to the fact that they really work for the railroads that Metra operates on.

A couple times a month, I eat lunch at the Olgilvie food court. Numerous conductors also eat there & so do a few engineers, but they're a rarity.

....

The issue here is that all of the safety reports (2 RI and 1 ME) and the two derailments at 47th (RI) were on Metra owned lines operated by Metra (Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation) employees.

Hence, regardless of this being a slam, it is totally irrelevant to the situation.

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But I guess I'm lucky as I've never been on a train that was speeding. I often use the speedometer app on the phone to check the speed. The fastest on the UP North Line has been 72. The Milwaukee North Line rarely even goes that fast.

Contrast that with the CTA 192 bus, which regularly goes 55 on SB Lake Shore Drive every morning, despite the 45 limit. But then it's just keeping up with the other traffic, which is the safer way to go. I don't know if the CTA still uses Goodyear City Cruiser tires, which had a max speed of 35 molded into the sidewall.

I remembered when I was on RI heading to Blue Island a couple years ago that I clocked it's speed at 83 mph between LaSalle and Gresham. I'm normally a UP-W rider and the highest speed that line went was about 75 mph. I don't understand why MD-N don't go that fast if that's only one of a couple lines that's privileged the top up to 79 mph (80 is ok).

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It's been a minute since I've been on RI. I can't remember if there is a crossover south of 35th (my memory doesn't recall one). Running over crossovers at high speeds could cause a tilt. CTA trains do it all the time, but Metra trains are much taller.

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On the UP-NW line, you can get some good speed between Woodstock-Crystal Lake, Pingree Road-Cary, Fox River Grove-Barrington, Barrington-Palatine, Norwood Park-Gladstone Park (If your train isn't stopping at Gladstone Park, in which case it will slow a bit until Jefferson Park), and Irving Park-Clybourn.

Points of note are Pingree Road-Cary, Barrington-Palatine, and Irving Park-Clybourn. Somewhere on the stretch between Pingree Road and Cary, there's a crossing with a curve right after (if you're going into the city) that the trains take at a high speed. Since I have three or four bags with me on the train, I sit on the lower level so I don't have to drag them all up the stairs. However, on that curve there is a significant nudging feeling the train is giving to me when I'm sitting. I wonder what it's like on the upper deck.

Except for when the two tracks become three, Barrington-Palatine is relatively straight, so the engineers usually bring the train up to high speeds after the switches (if you're inbound). The main thing is how the trains pull into Palatine. Sometimes the engineer has to use heavy breaking to stop because the train started braking late and close to the station. Other times the train brakes too soon, and we pull into the station at around 20 MPH (if we kept braking, we'd stop before the platform) and then start braking again.

Finally there's the stretch between Irving Park and Clybourn, which feels like the fastest stretch. Braking into Clybourn is better than at Palatine, but it really feels like you're hitting the speed limit (not confirmed) most of the way.

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On the UP-NW line, you can get some good speed between Woodstock-Crystal Lake, Pingree Road-Cary, Fox River Grove-Barrington, Barrington-Palatine, Norwood Park-Gladstone Park (If your train isn't stopping at Gladstone Park, in which case it will slow a bit until Jefferson Park), and Irving Park-Clybourn.

Points of note are Pingree Road-Cary, Barrington-Palatine, and Irving Park-Clybourn. Somewhere on the stretch between Pingree Road and Cary, there's a crossing with a curve right after (if you're going into the city) that the trains take at a high speed. Since I have three or four bags with me on the train, I sit on the lower level so I don't have to drag them all up the stairs. However, on that curve there is a significant nudging feeling the train is giving to me when I'm sitting. I wonder what it's like on the upper deck.

Except for when the two tracks become three, Barrington-Palatine is relatively straight, so the engineers usually bring the train up to high speeds after the switches (if you're inbound). The main thing is how the trains pull into Palatine. Sometimes the engineer has to use heavy breaking to stop because the train started braking late and close to the station. Other times the train brakes too soon, and we pull into the station at around 20 MPH (if we kept braking, we'd stop before the platform) and then start braking again.

Finally there's the stretch between Irving Park and Clybourn, which feels like the fastest stretch. Braking into Clybourn is better than at Palatine, but it really feels like you're hitting the speed limit (not confirmed) most of the way.

Man, I haven't rode UP-NW out to Crystal Lake in 5 years. It's speed was very solid going outbound but I don't like that it only goes about 45-55 coming in and out McHenry despite having a single track.

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I remembered when I was on RI heading to Blue Island a couple years ago that I clocked it's speed at 83 mph between LaSalle and Gresham. I'm normally a UP-W rider and the highest speed that line went was about 75 mph. I don't understand why MD-N don't go that fast if that's only one of a couple lines that's privileged the top up to 79 mph (80 is ok).

Can't happen. Max speed there would be 79 MPH. If your speedo hits 80, you have 5 seconds to react or the train goes into emergency. No if ands or buts about it.

As for UP engineers not being at Ogilvie, it is because they take the equipment to Cal Ave and that is where they stay. The only time they get downtown is when they bring their stuff downtown from the yards and they might be able to grab a quick bite or a cup of coffee.

As for what happened....no excuses. In both cases of the RI, both engineers apparently hit 30 MPH crossovers at 60 MPH. In both cases they were lucky to stay on the track. The last incident had a number of people who work at 547 on that train and the calls downtown were 10-fold before the train got to La Salle St.

As for the ME...ran a signal, pure and simple, no excuse. Lack of focus ? Not paying attention ? Some dispatcher pulled a fast one ?? Who the hell knows. Claims to have had a line up....don't know much more than that right now.

Different areas have different maximum speeds and many are based on the grading of the track. You will not have a 79 MPH speed limit without continuous welded rail. Many of the older single track spurs do not, therefore speeds are considerably slower, usually in the 40-60 MPH range.

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Can't happen. Max speed there would be 79 MPH. If your speedo hits 80, you have 5 seconds to react or the train goes into emergency. No if ands or buts about it.

As for UP engineers not being at Ogilvie, it is because they take the equipment to Cal Ave and that is where they stay. The only time they get downtown is when they bring their stuff downtown from the yards and they might be able to grab a quick bite or a cup of coffee.

As for what happened....no excuses. In both cases of the RI, both engineers apparently hit 30 MPH crossovers at 60 MPH. In both cases they were lucky to stay on the track. The last incident had a number of people who work at 547 on that train and the calls downtown were 10-fold before the train got to La Salle St.

As for the ME...ran a signal, pure and simple, no excuse. Lack of focus ? Not paying attention ? Some dispatcher pulled a fast one ?? Who the hell knows. Claims to have had a line up....don't know much more than that right now.

Different areas have different maximum speeds and many are based on the grading of the track. You will not have a 79 MPH speed limit without continuous welded rail. Many of the older single track spurs do not, therefore speeds are considerably slower, usually in the 40-60 MPH range.a

Well said mate. I would've thought that it was be 35 mph crossovers but 30 mph seems right. Let's just say that thank goodness it didn't get worse like a derailment leading to injuries and/or casualties.

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...I don't understand why MD-N don't go that fast if that's only one of a couple lines that's privileged the top up to 79 mph (80 is ok).

I'll leave the rest to trainman, but the only MD-N trains that seem to have any speed are the ones that run express to Glenview or Lake Cook. That knocks about 12-15 minutes off the trip.

Otherwise, too many crossovers through Mayfair, and stations too closely spaced between Edgebrook and Deerfield.

Of course, I don't ride with an accelerometer in a smartphone. I assume you do.

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I'll leave the rest to trainman, but the only MD-N trains that seem to have any speed are the ones that run express to Glenview or Lake Cook. That knocks about 12-15 minutes off the trip.

Otherwise, too many crossovers through Mayfair, and stations too closely spaced between Edgebrook and Deerfield.

Of course, I don't ride with an accelerometer in a smartphone. I assume you do.

I do have a speed tracker app but I haven't used it for Metra trains since 2011. I haven't tracked MD-N speed at all because of the simple fact that I only rode that train twice in my life (The Glen/North Glenview and to/from Fox Lake).

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It seems strange that the two train tilt incidents and the two derailments linked to speeding through crossovers all happened on the Rock Island line. When I have rode this line on the weekends, we never had to switch tracks between Gresham and downtown. I have rode the ME and the NICTD late night and weekends where we've switched from the express track to the local track between 47th and Hyde Park (in both directions) with no issues. I've never seen any issues at any time on the two other lines that I ride often, the UP West and the BNSF. So the question for me becomes if there are sufficient notices or communications on this line alerting engineers where there are active crossovers that are not normally in effect? Were the engineers involved working their regular shifts or were they filling in? What about the conductor's role? IIRC, the head conductor (at least on UP and BNSF) has a radio and communicates with dispatch concerning track traffic, crossovers, etc. What if the conductor did not notify engineer about the track change (if he knew)? Trainman?

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It seems strange that the two train tilt incidents and the two derailments linked to speeding through crossovers all happened on the Rock Island line. When I have rode this line on the weekends, we never had to switch tracks between Gresham and downtown. I have rode the ME and the NICTD late night and weekends where we've switched from the express track to the local track between 47th and Hyde Park (in both directions) with no issues. I've never seen any issues at any time on the two other lines that I ride often, the UP West and the BNSF. So the question for me becomes if there are sufficient notices or communications on this line alerting engineers where there are active crossovers that are not normally in effect? Were the engineers involved working their regular shifts or were they filling in? What about the conductor's role? IIRC, the head conductor (at least on UP and BNSF) has a radio and communicates with dispatch concerning track traffic, crossovers, etc. What if the conductor did not notify engineer about the track change (if he knew)? Trainman?

I can't speak specifics for the Rock Island. I don't work there and have for only a brief time in my 14 years with Metra. So I can only guesstimate like you. I am not sure of the people there involved. All Metra conductors and brakemen have radios, although only the conductor in charge would be responsible for keeping track per se. In reality, only the dispatcher and engineer would have any privy to the information regarding crossovers. Currently, Metra dispatchers have carte blanche to do what they want with no repercussions (or so it seems). They have become the high and mighty and any finger pointing will always go away from them. Why, I don't know.

If the engineer sees a signal and does not call it out, there is no way any conductor would know about it until something happened....unless a track is out of service and it is on the track warrant, which would be covered in a job briefing that a conductor is supposed to conduct and in which case he is suppose to be aware of the restriction and is suppose to be making notifications. Conductors do not normally have radio contact with dispatchers, engineers do.

Similar to Metra dispatchers, the Rock Island District seems to get all the benefits of the doubt and is coddled to no end. Why, I have no idea.

All I can suggest is this...a- there are quite a few new engineers that probably shouldn't be. b- there are some conductors that probably shouldn't be. c- there are a LOT of dispatchers that shouldn't be. and finally d- the current training system stinks, which doesn't much help a and b too much in being at least a little competent.

.

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Man, I haven't rode UP-NW out to Crystal Lake in 5 years. It's speed was very solid going outbound but I don't like that it only goes about 45-55 coming in and out McHenry despite having a single track.

I haven't rode the McHenry branch at all. McHenry and Harvard are the two stations I haven't been to yet on the UP-NW line.

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I haven't rode the McHenry branch at all. McHenry and Harvard are the two stations I haven't been to yet on the UP-NW line.

Harvard is a nice little town at the end of the line. A storage track and adequate size station at that location. Very nice ride.

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