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Put your divining rod to Ask Carole to try to figure that out. The current status is that the consultant's report indicated that CTA was under a contract with the Mills Corp. to provide some type of service when the Block 37 station is completed in 2008. It distinguished between a direct service, which would be stuck behind existing Blue Line trains, and a future express service, which would require bypass tracks or a new elevated structure over the CNW, and 4 tracks in the Kennedy west of Jefferson Park, requiring moving the expressway. You then had Carole's oracular statement:

I should note that I’m not at all interested in non-express “direct†service absent a viable plan to do real express service.
The only result of that is that a motion to give the consultant a second contract to search for a private operator of the direct service was shelved by the CTA Board.

If you read the links as I did, it still appears that CTA is under a contractual obligation, but hasn't figured out how to fulfill it. Also, it seems that direct service becomes a highly questionable proposition in light of the later revelation in the Sun-Times that the Blue Line needs $100 million and 3 years of work to get rid of the slow zones west of Jefferson Park.

Like I said, all you can do is read the tea leaves. :blink:

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2 hours ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

Seems like you've seen this article on Electrek. :P Funny how I saw it last night.

No, I saw it in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, and Dennis Byrne's blog.

2 hours ago, artthouwill said:

Considering  how long it took to bore two miles for the new 2nd Ave  subway in New York, we may be 50 years  away from  a downtown  to O'Hare  high speed railway  with dedicated  r.o.w.   Better start printing  new money now.

That's one thing I tried to debunk on Byrne. The Sun-Times article says:

 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel thinks he just might. That’s why the mayor dispatched a team of top aides to Los Angeles last week to check out the Jetsons-like technology that Musk plans to use to build a subterranean mass transit system in tunnels beneath Los Angeles County....

The mayor said then that the city has been “hearing from potential investors and companies from around the world about their interest in this project” and that its engineers “have made progress in identifying the routes to move this forward.”

Now, I don't know if Musk can deliver, but ask a couple years ago if you could envision electric cars and SpaceX,

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Probably a BOS service to o'hare would be most likely, but with the future rental car area and people mover relocation they might actually have a market going by Metra express. They need a faster people mover though. Can you imagine all the riders people mover is going to get? I think they are going to need a bigger yard. If you figure in all the bus riders from all the rental car places. Your probably talking in the neighborhood of 100 riders every 5 minutes at max capacity. Throw in Metra and the park n ride lots and the intl. Terminal which fills the cars now to capacity and you have pandemonium.  Looks like by looking at the station they want to expand to 4 cars. They'll need 6 at least. Slowly though this will be turning into rapid transit. Probablythey should just change the service now to heavier rail thats faster.

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46 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

Probably a BOS service to o'hare would be most likely, but with the future rental car area and people mover relocation they might actually have a market going by Metra express. They need a faster people mover though. Can you imagine all the riders people mover is going to get? I think they are going to need a bigger yard. If you figure in all the bus riders from all the rental car places. Your probably talking in the neighborhood of 100 riders every 5 minutes at max capacity. Throw in Metra and the park n ride lots and the intl. Terminal which fills the cars now to capacity and you have pandemonium.  Looks like by looking at the station they want to expand to 4 cars. They'll need 6 at least. Slowly though this will be turning into rapid transit. Probablythey should just change the service now to heavier rail thats faster.

Actually the poor train is packed to the gills as it is. Rode it from remote parking to United Terminal 1 last December. The ride from remote parking to T5 was OK, but once we hit T5 everyone piled in all 3 cars. It looked like the Lexington Ave lines in NYC, it was that full. Now you can imagine how uncomfortable the ride was from T5 to American Terminal 3, and that’s the longest stretch between terminals. The train crowds thinned out as we went along, but still. I think they only have like 15 cars in the system, and they only run 12 of them or something like that. And I believe the stations can only take 3-4 cars each.

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14 hours ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

Actually the poor train is packed to the gills as it is. Rode it from remote parking to United Terminal 1 last December. The ride from remote parking to T5 was OK, but once we hit T5 everyone piled in all 3 cars. It looked like the Lexington Ave lines in NYC, it was that full. Now you can imagine how uncomfortable the ride was from T5 to American Terminal 3, and that’s the longest stretch between terminals. The train crowds thinned out as we went along, but still. I think they only have like 15 cars in the system, and they only run 12 of them or something like that. And I believe the stations can only take 3-4 cars each.

There's the issue to of can they expand the existing stations? They could always run high frequency like the cta red line but the chances of an accident increase.

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11 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

There's the issue to of can they expand the existing stations? They could always run high frequency like the cta red line but the chances of an accident increase.

Question is essentially whether CN will let Metra run more service. Better chance that Elon Musk's boring machine can do the job.

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54 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

There's the issue to of can they expand the existing stations? They could always run high frequency like the cta red line but the chances of an accident increase.

They can, but if they extend the domestic terminal station length they might as well build walkways between them because the distance would be so short. I’m sure the T5 station can be extended because that terminal is so big.

Either way, Busjack pointed out another critical issue: the NCS line needs more services to make it a practical alternative to the Blue Line, which is still the best ride to O’Hare despite its flaws.

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15 minutes ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

They can, but if they extend the domestic terminal station length they might as well build walkways between them because the distance would be so short. I’m sure the T5 station can be extended because that terminal is so big.

Either way, Busjack pointed out another critical issue: the NCS line needs more services to make it a practical alternative to the Blue Line, which is still the best ride to O’Hare despite its flaws.

Plus you get into the area that the railroad there belongs to Canadian Pacific. They would have to authorize an expansion of service and why bite off the hand that feeds you (cp freight traffic). This is probably why the ncs had only one track for so long. Traffic is busy now on the Milwaukee west main. They probably couldnt take on much more service unless they did a 4th track. Speedier trains on this corridor as in electric trains sort of like what Amtrak is experimenting with would be interesting.  I'd especially want to know the 0-60 speed. This is where the cta "L" triumphs over its heavy rail competitor.

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14 minutes ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

Garbage company. I hate how they give Metra and Amtrak such a hard time...

But that, and the issue about the Tollway and the CP Bensenville yard, is that the freight railroads lost any interest in anything except freight about 1970. The RTA was able to buy up the Milwaukee Road and Rock Island tracks basically only because they were bankrupt.Now the railroads have the argument that interfering with freight operations impedes interstate commerce.

The CN one is aggravating to the extent that the feds paid to double track the NCS, but that project started when the Wisconsin Central still owned it.

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3 minutes ago, Busjack said:

But that, and the issue about the Tollway and the CP Bensenville yard, is that the freight railroads lost any interest in anything except freight about 1970. The RTA was able to buy up the Milwaukee Road and Rock Island tracks basically only because they were bankrupt.Now the railroads have the argument that interfering with freight operations impedes interstate commerce.

The CN one is aggravating to the extent that the feds paid to double track the NCS, but that project started when the Wisconsin Central still owned it.

I find this interesting, as UP and BNSF not only allow Metra owned rolling stock to operate on their tracks, but they agreed to do it themselves, and they do so with minimal interruption to commuter operations on their lines (aside from the freight train interference on the UP-W). And they operate the two busiest Metra routes with decent timetables with train departing options that make the NCS and HC line schedules look puny.

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13 minutes ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

I find this interesting, as UP and BNSF not only allow Metra owned rolling stock to operate on their tracks, but they agreed to do it themselves, and they do so with minimal interruption to commuter operations on their lines (aside from the freight train interference on the UP-W). And they operate the two busiest Metra routes with decent timetables with train departing options that make the NCS and HC line schedules look puny.

Well North Central Service is dominated with only a single track north of Prospect Heights. So they can't just alter the schedule without CN permission. Heritage Corridor is like a Rock Island Express. The schedule was made due to ridership. 

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36 minutes ago, garmon757 said:

Well North Central Service is dominated with only a single track north of Prospect Heights. So they can't just alter the schedule without CN permission...

Actually I didn't know that there was any portion of single track, so thanks for pointing that out. However the single track is only between just north of the Mundelein stop and just south of Round Lake Beach Station. The bottleneck, if any, appears to be around the MD-N line.  And as for the schedule, I would think the case is the same for UP and BNSF, however they are clearly much less restrictive.

 

36 minutes ago, garmon757 said:

...Heritage Corridor is like a Rock Island Express. The schedule was made due to ridership. 

But it also serves Union Station instead of LaSalle, and takes an entirely different route, with different opportunities at the few stations it serves. Yes, there might be low ridership, but that could be because it isn't as convenient as the Rocket. Obviously, I don't know the passenger loads (it's one of the 4 lines I never rode), so these are just ideas.

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Just to be clear, CO dispatches the MD-W tracks the NCS uses until Schuller Park when it switches to the CN tracks.  Unfortunately, even if the CN allows Metra to run a more liberal schedule to O'Hare, whatever time would be saved traveling  express  from Union Station to the O'Hare Transfer Station would be lost taking the ATS from there to the Terminals.

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Not necessarily, it would take just as long to get to terminal 5 from the airport as using the ats. Really they need a faster moving service. 

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2 hours ago, MTRSP1900-CTA3200 said:

I find this interesting, as UP and BNSF not only allow Metra owned rolling stock to operate on their tracks, but they agreed to do it themselves, and they do so with minimal interruption to commuter operations on their lines (aside from the freight train interference on the UP-W). And they operate the two busiest Metra routes with decent timetables with train departing options that make the NCS and HC line schedules look puny.

Difference is that C&NW and Burlington  provided commuter service for over a  century, and now Metra subsidizes them well for what they always did. CN is a recent entrant only interested in freight.

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12 minutes ago, BusHunter said:

Not necessarily, it would take just as long to get to terminal 5 from the airport as using the ats. Really they need a faster moving service. 

Yes. There's absolutely no speedy zones in the domestic terminal area, and the only fast parts of the system are very brief. Between Terminal 3 and International Terminal 5, you would think with all that space between them, the train would speed up, but it only does in that dip when the train is passing under the taxiways for the planes. And Terminal 5 to Remote Parking is another place for speedups, but when the trains go past the yard they slow down when they go over the switches associated with the yard. I guess the switches have some sort of speed limit, but the train is going straight through them...and they could have programmed the speed limits better between the yard and the Remote Parking end. It basically looks like the train is slowing down through half of that stretch of track for no reason.

Regardless, I still love that dumb train, and it is better than having a bus do all that stuff in traffic.

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Just now, Busjack said:

Difference is that C&NW and Burlington  provided commuter service for over a  century, and now Metra subsidizes them well for what they always did. CN is a recent entrant only interested in freight.

Got it. That makes sense, as unfortunate as it is.

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If the O’Hare express train came from downtown (Block 37) to O’Hare Airport along the Blue Line, do you think it’ll be a good idea to add an intermediate stop at Jefferson Park Transit Center? It’s a big transfer point and I think an intermediate stop there will be cool! Also is Block 37 still going to be the Downtown Terminus? Or are there other plans.

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26 minutes ago, TransitXan17 said:

If the O’Hare express train came from downtown (Block 37) to O’Hare Airport along the Blue Line, do you think it’ll be a good idea to add an intermediate stop at Jefferson Park Transit Center? It’s a big transfer point and I think an intermediate stop there will be cool! Also is Block 37 still going to be the Downtown Terminus? Or are there other plans.

Basically, there aren't plans of any kind (except perhaps putting one's faith in Musk).

The issue with Jefferson Park isn't "coolness." Jefferson Park is only 4 stops from O'Hare, so no time would be saved, and I doubt someone would pay a $20 premium fare (my estimate, based on the 12 year old consultant's report saying $10) compared to $2.25 (or even $5 at the O'Hare station) on the Blue Line, plus the theory behind Block 37 was that there would be secure luggage checking there, which you wouldn't have if the baggage car was opened en route. Finally, I don't think riders at Jefferson Park would know what to do with a 2 car train (which was proposed--one passenger car and one baggage car). Which brings us back to the fact that cars 5623 to 5706 were changed from those kind of cars to standard L cars, which shows that it isn't going to happen.

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On 10/31/2017 at 3:56 PM, TransitXan17 said:

...Also is Block 37 still going to be the Downtown Terminus? Or are there other plans.

As it stands, Block 37 is an unfinished over-budget cavern underneath Chicago, with Washington/State wiped off the CTA map as collateral damage. The entire plan is dead, and if it ever came to reality, it would probably not be successful with the two car trains as Busjack mentioned.

Although it may be seen as an "apples to oranges" comparison, bringing up the Hong Kong Airport Express (like O'Hare Express) also brings up some similarities. Today, it runs with eight cars, seven as passenger cars, one as a baggage car. It has its own dedicated fare areas and platforms, and takes 24 minutes between Hong Kong Island and the airport due to the distance. However it sometimes shares tracks and some stations (albeit with dedicated sections previously mentioned) with a more local line known as the Tung Chung Line (like our Blue Line). As a result, it has had a disappointing amount of riders, since most people prefer to take the Tung Chung Line and transfer to a bus to go to the airport. This is also due to a very premium fare. With a large population in HK, but with low ridership, imagine how our own airport express would do with the smaller population of Chicago...

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