Jump to content
Pace831

Metra taking over UP operations?

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Pace831 said:

As you know, there has been an ongoing dispute between Metra and Union Pacific. The UP wants Metra to take over operations on the three UP lines. UP has stated that they will discontinue some functions, and Metra has now asked the STB for an injunction to prevent this.

Trains magazine article

Metra press release

Aren't the POS agreements for a specified amount of time?  Are perpetual or are they automatically renewed?  In any case,  Metra knew or should have known UP would not be interested in renewing any POS agreements  abs should have been prepared for the day when it will have to assume operational.  I promise it won't be long before the same thing happens with BNSF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Aren't the POS agreements for a specified amount of time?  Are perpetual or are they automatically renewed?  In any case,  Metra knew or should have known UP would not be interested in renewing any POS agreements  abs should have been prepared for the day when it will have to assume operational.  I promise it won't be long before the same thing happens with BNSF.

Yes, the POS agreements are under a specified time. I believe the UP-Metra agreement ended December 31, 2019. That said, the UP never wanted to operate commuter trains in Chicago since they took over from the CNW. They put them 3rd in priority in their dispatch system behind stack trains and coal trains. I was a dispatcher when the UP took over from the CNW and saw how they wanted to operate. There were agreements in place on how passenger trains would be handled and within 30 days of the operation being moved to Omaha, trains on the west line frequently operated 30-60 minutes late because of freight train interference.  Legend has it that the only reason they kept Metra somewhat happy is that Metra was paying big bucks to maintain the tracks. The Metra extension to Elburn had less to do with Metra wanting to extend west of Geneva and more of the UP wanting them out of West Chicago for a intermodal ramp which never happened (this ramp was eventually built around La Fox and will be closing if not already done so). I think Metra believes they would have taken over the operation of the 3 UP lines. But remember, the UP owns the track, and right now there is no agreement. I believe they want to dump the commuter interference and that is why there is no agreement, per se. It will be interesting to see just how this plays out in the courts and the STB.

And if there is any question if a railroad can restrict passenger trains, look no further than the CN not allowing Metra to add trains to the weekday line up (currently limited to 20 per day, 10 in each direction) and refusal to allow any weekend service on the North Central Line. In fact, under normal circumstances, the last train out of Antioch was forced to use the Milwaukee North line to come into the city because the CN would not let Metra to go south of Grayslake. Remember, Metra signed agreements with the old Wisconsin Central for use of track, signal upgrades and double tracking. When the CN bought the WC, the whole ball game changed. 

Like I said, this will be interesting, very interesting to watch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its unfortunate, especially since Metra and the State are pouring money into sthose lines (especially the UPN) to replace bridges and tracks.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, rl12383 said:

Its unfortunate, especially since Metra and the State are pouring money into sthose lines (especially the UPN) to replace bridges and tracks.  

And don't forget the addition of a third track through much of the UPW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, rl12383 said:

Its unfortunate, especially since Metra and the State are pouring money into sthose lines (especially the UPN) to replace bridges and tracks.  

So Metra has known before December 31,2019 that UP wasn't interested in running commuter service.   Metra certainly could have had its own crews and maintenance by then.  The only thing left, I think,  is to work out an agreement with UP concerning trackage use.  Since UP has little to no freight service on the N and NW lines, Metra should have no problems buying the tracks or working out some agreement.   I think the big issue is the UPW.  That us a freight heavy Line.  Freight trains are always backed up in Oak Park so Metra trains can pass through.

Metra may have learned from the CN NCS fiasco and doesn't want to repeat history with UP.  Knowing how vital the W Line is, UP is trying to extract maximum leverage or should I say revenue.

Railroads have a long history of abandoning passenger service .  Most of that service was intercity or interstate.  The RTA and Metra  were created to save those services.   In essence,  UP wants Metra to assume the operations, maintenance,  and personnel for the three routes AND substantially charge Metra higher fees for track rights.  If possible,  UP wants to cap Metra service levels at current levels,  if not reduce those levels, to expand their freight business.  Here's looking at you CN.  You can bet BNSF is watching this closely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, trainman8119 said:

Yes, the POS agreements are under a specified time. I believe the UP-Metra agreement ended December 31, 2019. That said, the UP never wanted to operate commuter trains in Chicago since they took over from the CNW. They put them 3rd in priority in their dispatch system behind stack trains and coal trains. I was a dispatcher when the UP took over from the CNW and saw how they wanted to operate. There were agreements in place on how passenger trains would be handled and within 30 days of the operation being moved to Omaha, trains on the west line frequently operated 30-60 minutes late because of freight train interference.  Legend has it that the only reason they kept Metra somewhat happy is that Metra was paying big bucks to maintain the tracks. The Metra extension to Elburn had less to do with Metra wanting to extend west of Geneva and more of the UP wanting them out of West Chicago for a intermodal ramp which never happened (this ramp was eventually built around La Fox and will be closing if not already done so). I think Metra believes they would have taken over the operation of the 3 UP lines. But remember, the UP owns the track, and right now there is no agreement. I believe they want to dump the commuter interference and that is why there is no agreement, per se. It will be interesting to see just how this plays out in the courts and the STB.

And if there is any question if a railroad can restrict passenger trains, look no further than the CN not allowing Metra to add trains to the weekday line up (currently limited to 20 per day, 10 in each direction) and refusal to allow any weekend service on the North Central Line. In fact, under normal circumstances, the last train out of Antioch was forced to use the Milwaukee North line to come into the city because the CN would not let Metra to go south of Grayslake. Remember, Metra signed agreements with the old Wisconsin Central for use of track, signal upgrades and double tracking. When the CN bought the WC, the whole ball game changed. 

Like I said, this will be interesting, very interesting to watch.

This seems incredibly hostile of CN. Is this typical behavior from them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2020 at 9:36 PM, NewFlyerMCI said:

This seems incredibly hostile of CN. Is this typical behavior from them?

Absolutely. Currently, the only railroad that is somewhat "commuter friendly" is the CP, and that is primarily because I found that Metra actually owns the track they run on over the CP territories (Milwaukee West and North lines).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2020 at 9:36 PM, NewFlyerMCI said:

This seems incredibly hostile of CN. Is this typical behavior from them?

No railroad really wants to be in the passenger business.  This predates Amtrak.  I think the government had to pass laws that require the railroads to allow passenger services to use their tracks.  With all the bankruptcies and mergers, we are only left with BNSF, CP, CN, NS, CSX, and UP. (did I miss any?) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metra actually owns the rails on the UP-N line.  The markings on the rails at Rogers Park are: Bethlehem Steelton Metra 115 lbs 1995

Compared to the markings at Geneva, which are: Nippon Steel 136 lbs  I don't remember the year for the West line rails.

According to an article in Trains Magazine, the UP buys the rails from Japan in  80' lengths

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, artthouwill said:

No railroad really wants to be in the passenger business.  This predates Amtrak.  I think the government had to pass laws that require the railroads to allow passenger services to use their tracks.  With all the bankruptcies and mergers, we are only left with BNSF, CP, CN, NS, CSX, and UP. (did I miss any?) 

KCS rounds out the big 7

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, strictures said:

Metra actually owns the rails on the UP-N line.  The markings on the rails at Rogers Park are: Bethlehem Steelton Metra 115 lbs 1995

Compared to the markings at Geneva, which are: Nippon Steel 136 lbs  I don't remember the year for the West line rails.

According to an article in Trains Magazine, the UP buys the rails from Japan in  80' lengths

Who owns the UP-NW rails?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Who owns the UP-NW rails?

I don't know, as I've never been on the UP-NW at the correct time when the sun highlights the manufacturer markings. 

But the ties at Rogers Park are falling apart, one is actually missing on Track 1, another is skewed & not 90 degrees to the rails & the ballast in between the rails has been ground up into what are known as "fines', which are no longer capable of locking the ties & rails solidly together.  The ties are older than 1995, maybe mid 1980s.  I wonder what happened to that massive ballast undercutter the C&NW imported from Austria in the 1980s.  That machine was designed to lift the ties & rails, removed the ground up ballast & replace it with new larger ballast & then put the ties & rails back into place.  That's what need there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/22/2020 at 11:26 AM, trainman8119 said:

Yes, the POS agreements are under a specified time. I believe the UP-Metra agreement ended December 31, 2019. That said, the UP never wanted to operate commuter trains in Chicago since they took over from the CNW. They put them 3rd in priority in their dispatch system behind stack trains and coal trains. I was a dispatcher when the UP took over from the CNW and saw how they wanted to operate. There were agreements in place on how passenger trains would be handled and within 30 days of the operation being moved to Omaha, trains on the west line frequently operated 30-60 minutes late because of freight train interference.  Legend has it that the only reason they kept Metra somewhat happy is that Metra was paying big bucks to maintain the tracks. The Metra extension to Elburn had less to do with Metra wanting to extend west of Geneva and more of the UP wanting them out of West Chicago for a intermodal ramp which never happened (this ramp was eventually built around La Fox and will be closing if not already done so). I think Metra believes they would have taken over the operation of the 3 UP lines. But remember, the UP owns the track, and right now there is no agreement. I believe they want to dump the commuter interference and that is why there is no agreement, per se. It will be interesting to see just how this plays out in the courts and the STB.

And if there is any question if a railroad can restrict passenger trains, look no further than the CN not allowing Metra to add trains to the weekday line up (currently limited to 20 per day, 10 in each direction) and refusal to allow any weekend service on the North Central Line. In fact, under normal circumstances, the last train out of Antioch was forced to use the Milwaukee North line to come into the city because the CN would not let Metra to go south of Grayslake. Remember, Metra signed agreements with the old Wisconsin Central for use of track, signal upgrades and double tracking. When the CN bought the WC, the whole ball game changed. 

Like I said, this will be interesting, very interesting to watch.

What can you see happening if the STB rules in Metra's favor? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, MRChiCity said:

What can you see happening if the STB rules in Metra's favor? 

I think UP appeals to the courts.  They will argue the STB has no jurisdiction concerning the matter.  Their primary argument is that they aren't a  common carrier and thus they are not obligated to provide commuter (passenger) rail service.   Metra is pointing to the original agreement with CNW that includes a clause that if the RR and Metra don't have a POS agreement in place, the RR would continue to run the commuter service per the common carrier provision by ICC.  Since then,  the ICC was abolished and replaced by the STB. UP is arguing that,  since the ICC was abolished, the common carrier provision was abolished with it, and thus no longer applies  I think UP will lose un the STB hearing. which is partially why they don't believe,  or want to believe the STB has jurisdiction over this case  

Does anyone know what became of the fight between UP and CTA over the r.o w concerning the westernmost leg of the Green Line?  UP wanted to drastically increase the fees CTA paid them and CTA balked.  CTA even filed a lawsuit to have that portion if r.i w "condemned "  UP argued that wasn't possible or legal because federal law superceded that.  UP won that part.  I assume that eventually they came to some agreement. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metra may or may not win the STB case...hard to say. If they win, look for the UP to make travel over the lines difficult

with freight being priority slowing things down, especially on the West line. They can do a number on the North line

north of Lake Bluff too, whether Metra owns that part of the rail or not (which I don't think they do).

Either way, watch how the court case plays out. There, I suspect Metra is in a world of trouble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, trainman8119 said:

Metra may or may not win the STB case...hard to say. If they win, look for the UP to make travel over the lines difficult

with freight being priority slowing things down, especially on the West line. They can do a number on the North line

north of Lake Bluff too, whether Metra owns that part of the rail or not (which I don't think they do).

Either way, watch how the court case plays out. There, I suspect Metra is in a world of trouble.

So if Metra wins in booth the STB and Court then what do you think will happen?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, MRChiCity said:

So if Metra wins in booth the STB and Court then what do you think will happen?

I think z

UP appeals until it wins.  Meantime, like @trainman8119 said. UP will deliberately delay IP Metra service until an agreement is reached for Metra to take over. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, artthouwill said:

I think z

UP appeals until it wins.  Meantime, like @trainman8119 said. UP will deliberately delay IP Metra service until an agreement is reached for Metra to take over. 

And if UP keeps appealing and ends up losing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, MRChiCity said:

And if UP keeps appealing and ends up losing?

Eventually UP and Metra will work it out and Metra will take over the service.   Metra is trying to buy time to implement the takeover but UP doesn't want to wait and wants out asap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That what it sounds like, rumor has it that UP laid off all of there ticket agents. If this is true is it possible that they could be running a foul of a collective bargaining agreement? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2020 at 1:19 PM, MRChiCity said:

That what it sounds like, rumor has it that UP laid off all of there ticket agents. If this is true is it possible that they could be running a foul of a collective bargaining agreement? 

Huh. Is that part of the reason why they haven’t been collecting tickets? I can’t lie, the UP lines have been a great alternative to the Green, Blue & Purple lines and it’s so easy to social distance as well. I just went out to Gurnee on Sunday via the UPN line since it was free and the place I was looking for was only located in Gurnee, Aurora and Michigan City, the latter two of which still required paid fare on the train to get to

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2020 at 1:19 PM, MRChiCity said:

That what it sounds like, rumor has it that UP laid off all of there ticket agents. If this is true is it possible that they could be running a foul of a collective bargaining agreement? 

Might as well passenger levels are horrible. Many of the metra stops dont even have one car in the parking lot. You pass lines like the bnsf and the UP's and your asking yourself in rush hour where are the trains??? No kidding at 5pm not one train on the racetrack. The only thing racing are a few mice here and there!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...