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Aug 27, 2002
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Chicago would definitely benefit from RER-type service. It would be possible to provide run-through commuter trains through Union Station. The infrastructure is already there. BNSF trains could continue north on the Milwaukee line. The Southwest service trains could be extended west and north. The Joiliet Commuter trains could also provide run-through service. Ideally, the trains should run at 30-minute headways during off-peak hours.
 
Chicago would definitely benefit from RER-type service. It would be possible to provide run-through commuter trains through Union Station. The infrastructure is already there. BNSF trains could continue north on the Milwaukee line. The Southwest service trains could be extended west and north. The Joiliet Commuter trains could also provide run-through service. Ideally, the trains should run at 30-minute headways during off-peak hours.
I think Union would really have to be rebuilt before this could truly happen. It probably would or could eliminate the need for Olgivie and LaSalle Street as well, even if some of the trains only ran through to the yards.
 
It wouldn't be cheap, and would require electrification, but Metra could have a Loop tunnel linking all the lines for through service.

The plan for a tunnel north-south under Clinton Street has been around for years. The Metra Electric and NICTD run below grade and essentially in a tunnel under Millennium Park. The hard part (other than the $$$) is connecting the two with east-west tunnels.

The southern link could go under the Eisenhower Expy./Congress Pkwy., or maybe a bit farther south. The northern link would probably have to be more or less due east from the tracks coming into Union Station from the north. In other words, under or near Kinzie St. or Fulton St./Wacker Dr. I'm no engineer, so I have no idea if the Chicago River and existing tunnels would unduly complicate matters.

I don't picture all Metra trains on a more frequent electrified regional system using this Super-Loop. Some would still terminate/originate at the existing terminals. And the rolling stock would have to be different to accommodate smaller crowds getting off (and simultaneously boarding) a continuing train vs. one large crowd getting off at a terminal. But it would add a lot of capacity.

Make no small plans!
 
It wouldn't be cheap, and would require electrification, but Metra could have a Loop tunnel linking all the lines for through service.

The plan for a tunnel north-south under Clinton Street has been around for years. The Metra Electric and NICTD run below grade and essentially in a tunnel under Millennium Park. The hard part (other than the $$$) is connecting the two with east-west tunnels.

The southern link could go under the Eisenhower Expy./Congress Pkwy., or maybe a bit farther south. The northern link would probably have to be more or less due east from the tracks coming into Union Station from the north. In other words, under or near Kinzie St. or Fulton St./Wacker Dr. I'm no engineer, so I have no idea if the Chicago River and existing tunnels would unduly complicate matters.

I don't picture all Metra trains on a more frequent electrified regional system using this Super-Loop. Some would still terminate/originate at the existing terminals. And the rolling stock would have to be different to accommodate smaller crowds getting off (and simultaneously boarding) a continuing train vs. one large crowd getting off at a terminal. But it would add a lot of capacity.

Make no small plans!
Not be argumentative, but simply pedantic (oh no I'm turning into the Tim Traveller) - MED actually runs at grade and the ground was raised around it - I can't find the picture online readily showing how Grant Park and the area around the Field Museum were raised up with spoil from the Chicago Tunnel System construction (in fact the tunnel to the Field Museum was built at grade from Central Station with an elevator and buried - diesel fumes from the yard would sometimes penetrate the museum).

It would add capacity and make quicker dwell times at each station - MED already does that with it's three downtown stations, but the tunnels would have to be VERY deep to go under the existing tunnels and foundations that are in the loop and carefully avoid the deep tunnel system (storm drainage system), however, I think that is mostly immediately under the river in the loop/downtown area. It'd be like the Elizabeth Line in that regard with extremely deep stations.

My personal take is rebuilding Union for run through makes more sense for a more affordable and in service sooner service. Another advantage would be allowing Amtrak services to run through as well (the non-electrified ones that is).
 
Anyone have any Metra riding experience if so good? B(ad?
Anything more specific you want to know? I ride on a regular, but not daily, basis. It's a good system, has become more bike friendly recently. Would like to see better non-rush frequencies.
 
Rode everyday in the before times, now once or twice a week. My line* has the most frequencies and best on-time performance. Not happy about new fare structure and elimination of the ten-ride ticket and forcing people to the app. But on-train and in station staff are generally good.

*owned and run by Metra, with only one grade crossing on mainline (private driveway) - branches have lots of crossings and one runs in the median like light rail or an interurban. All high-level platforms as well.
 
Rode everyday in the before times, now once or twice a week. My line* has the most frequencies and best on-time performance. Not happy about new fare structure and elimination of the ten-ride ticket and forcing people to the app. But on-train and in station staff are generally good.

*owned and run by Metra, with only one grade crossing on mainline (private driveway) - branches have lots of crossings and one runs in the median like light rail or an interurban. All high-level platforms as well.
I am not happy about the ten-ride ticket going away either. My general riding these days has been once a week out to Glen Ellyn for class at College of DuPage so the ten-ride was perfect for me. All the fare deals now you have to own a smartphone to get.

Where is that grade crossing on the ME mainline? I don't think I ever knew about that.
 
I am not happy about the ten-ride ticket going away either. My general riding these days has been once a week out to Glen Ellyn for class at College of DuPage so the ten-ride was perfect for me. All the fare deals now you have to own a smartphone to get.

Where is that grade crossing on the ME mainline? I don't think I ever knew about that.
Way down in like U Park or Olympia Fields somewhere.
 
Metra buying battery-powered trainsets

https://x.com/Metra/status/1760378688380473349?s=20

Metra charged into a greener future today when the Board of Directors approved a contract to buy zero-emission, battery-powered trainsets. Metra will be one of the first in the nation to operate this innovative technology.

“This purchase demonstrates Metra’s commitment to cleaner power, to quieter trains, and to thinking outside the box as we plan for our future,” said Metra CEO/Executive Jim Derwinski. “We are excited to bring this technology, and its efficiency, flexibility, and reliability, to Chicago and to our riders.”

https://metra.com/newsroom/metra-buying-battery-powered-trainsets
 
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