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  #8961  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 1:42 AM
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Interesting. Seems like a good project.
Loop Track Renewal Project starting this month
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  #8962  
Old Posted Apr 12, 2012, 10:07 PM
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Mayor, CTA privately talked about $300 million no-bid deal

Plans fell through after disclosures about poor quality work surfaced


By Jon Hilkevitch and David Kidwell, Chicago Tribune reporters

8:26 a.m. CDT, April 12, 2012
The Emanuel administration and the CTA engaged in private discussions on a $300 million no-bid contract with the maker of the transit agency's new rail cars, but the talks collapsed amid disclosures about the poor quality of the company's work, the Tribune has learned.

Bombardier Transportation's pitch to build and operate a South Side rail car overhaul facility on vacant city and CTA land in a CTA rail yard took off in May 2011 after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was elected, CTA officials told the newspaper.

The talks over the public-private partnership continued for 10 months, "in keeping with the mayor's priority of creating jobs and generating economic development," CTA spokeswoman Molly Sullivan said.

CTA lawyers had been working to justify the unusual practice of awarding such a large contract without competitive bids, the transit agency said.

But the city and CTA backed away from the talks in recent weeks amid Tribune reports that disclosed defective-parts problems with Bombardier's ongoing production of 706 new rail cars under a contract that totals $1.14 billion.


Rest of Article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,5215344.story





Kinda a bummer as it would have been nice to have the refurb shops in Chicago. I'm sure they'll work something out though in the long run even if they have to bid it out.

In other news, they started refurbishing the Belmont Blue Line Station yesterday. Can't wait for that dingy POS to be shinny and white inside like the Logan Sqaure stop is.
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  #8963  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 6:05 AM
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Are there any plans to electrify the La Salle Station network and merge it into the Metra Electric network.
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  #8964  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 9:29 AM
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CTA EVM at MED 55/56/57th St. Station

http://metrarail.com/content/dam/met...with%20CTA.pdf

Interesting announcement, especially the part about "future cooperation between sister agencies"!
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  #8965  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 9:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Are there any plans to electrify the La Salle Station network and merge it into the Metra Electric network.
Not that I am aware of (but of course I don't know everything)
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  #8966  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 9:47 AM
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Are there any plans to electrify the La Salle Station network and merge it into the Metra Electric network.
No. However, if Metra ever actually considered the possibility of electrification, the Rock Island District would be a good first choice - it is owned by Metra, sees no regular freight service, and has closely-spaced stations served at reasonable frequency. Once the Englewood Flyover is completed, it will also be completely grade-separated from other freight lines, with the exception of the St Charles Air Line at 16th and the EJ&E in east Joliet.
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  #8967  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 7:33 PM
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No. However, if Metra ever actually considered the possibility of electrification, the Rock Island District would be a good first choice - it is owned by Metra, sees no regular freight service, and has closely-spaced stations served at reasonable frequency.
I could also imagine communities along the line being strongly in favor of such a conversion. The residents of Beverly would probably throw a parade.
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  #8968  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 10:25 PM
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Does UP-North share tracks with very much freight? From a functional standpoint it seems like a good candidate for electric, too.
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  #8969  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 10:27 PM
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Since Freight does not use the line , could they use Stradler Flirt trains?
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  #8970  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 10:57 PM
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Does UP-North share tracks with very much freight? From a functional standpoint it seems like a good candidate for electric, too.
Yes, north of Lake Bluff. This suggests a French-style approach in which electrification might only extend to Lake Forest, where the local trains would terminate, and a small number of diesel or dual-mode trains would go all the way to Kenosha. Metro-North also does this, so it's not just a European thing.

That said, Union Pacific might oppose electrification.

The best candidates for electrification are the lines that Metra already owns. The Milwaukee District lines see substantial freight traffic from CP, so that poses a problem. That leaves Southwest Service, which is technically owned by NS but is used and maintained exclusively by Metra, except for a short stretch on the South Side that NS uses for yard access.
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  #8971  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2012, 10:58 PM
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Since Freight does not use the line , could they use Stradler Flirt trains?
Interesting question. Rock Island is an excellent candidate for FRA waivers since it's really not a mixed environment - very occasional freights run only at night. If Caltrain got a waiver, so can the Rock. We could get some real DMUs.
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  #8972  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2012, 2:19 AM
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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yes, north of Lake Bluff. This suggests a French-style approach in which electrification might only extend to Lake Forest, where the local trains would terminate, and a small number of diesel or dual-mode trains would go all the way to Kenosha. Metro-North also does this, so it's not just a European thing.

That said, Union Pacific might oppose electrification.

The best candidates for electrification are the lines that Metra already owns. The Milwaukee District lines see substantial freight traffic from CP, so that poses a problem. That leaves Southwest Service, which is technically owned by NS but is used and maintained exclusively by Metra, except for a short stretch on the South Side that NS uses for yard access.
That (and the Stradler Flirt idea) is just tantalizing. But may I make the observation that electrification introduces a spider's web of catenary and support pillars, along with other electrical, that I have a strong sense would be viscerally opposed by North Shore communities, and fought off as a "blight". Never mind that the eardrum-splitting diesel noise would disappear for good and shiny new railcars introduced and (I assume) acceleration/deceleration distances improved and (I assume) energy efficiency would be gained. Sometimes society just can't win for losin'.

What would be the reasons that UP itself would oppose electrification - maintenance costs and snowstorm outages?
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  #8973  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2012, 3:54 PM
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They might be uncooperative just because UP’s UP and likes to do things the UP way.

There is still some freight still comes down to the North/Elston area (when walking down Blackhawk I was shocked to see it pull in during the day) via the UP-NW line. If we’re lucky, the amount of freight might be trivial enough that they can reschedule it to hours when passenger trains aren’t running (or maybe even stop stop it altogether). If not—or if UP’s uncooperative in rescheduling—then it makes getting a waiver more difficult.

In terms of NIMBYS, it helps that a lot of the UP-North line is elevated or trenched, and I’d say quicker deceleration and braking would be a big selling point for communities with grade crossings. You’re probably right about there still being opposition to catenary as blight, though, plus there’s be the awful “electromagnetic radiation” canard.
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  #8974  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2012, 4:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Since Freight does not use the line , could they use Stradler Flirt trains?
Stadler Rail, not Stradler.
Flirts are single level EMUs. KISSs are double level EMUs. GTWs are single level DMUs. They don't make double level DMUs.
GTWs are being used in Austin and will enter service later this year in Denton.
Any line without freight trains can qualify for exemptions from the FRA. Often lightly used freight lines can get temporal separation waivers so non compliant FRA passenger trains can be used. The answer to your question is yes.

But should they? There are FRA complaint double decker EMUs already being used in the Chicago area. Why add a new parts supply chain to the inventory?
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  #8975  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2012, 8:34 PM
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Because FRA compliance adds a ton of weight that has to be pushed using expensive energy. The Highliners also require high-level platforms (which I like, but the costs of building up platforms around Chicago is unlikely).
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  #8976  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 4:24 AM
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plus there’s be the awful “electromagnetic radiation” canard.
Ugh. They'd throw that out there too probably.

I have a crazy question. Has anyone ever thought of storing electric power aboard trainsets so that overhead power lines can be omitted over certain stretches (whether just 100s of feet or over much longer stretches)? You could even have a separate "battery car" which would be 1 added railcar just as a diesel locomotive today is 1 additional railcar. The way battery technology is evolving due to the electric-car boom, maybe this could be become practicable before long. I can't think of a major impetus to invest in the technology other than deleting catenaries for urban aesthetics, though. But if we get to a point where somewhere needed electrification is forestalled for years and years by NIMBYs, maybe it could be a solution.

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Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Because FRA compliance adds a ton of weight that has to be pushed using expensive energy.
So with energy prices rising and greenhouse emissions being debated, are we getting close to a world where avoiding this compliance is increasingly possible? Presumably sympathy for this would be at an all-time high under the current Transportation Department?
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  #8977  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 4:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan View Post
In terms of NIMBYS, it helps that a lot of the UP-North line is elevated or trenched, and I’d say quicker deceleration and braking would be a big selling point for communities with grade crossings. You’re probably right about there still being opposition to catenary as blight, though, plus there’s be the awful “electromagnetic radiation” canard.
Which could be offset by the threat of the alterative which is the status quo high diesel soot particle levels which came out in reports by the Tribune a few years ago. The exposure to all the little children and moms who pass by the line and station everyday when a train passes would make many villagers open to a change.

Last edited by nomarandlee; Apr 15, 2012 at 6:02 AM.
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  #8978  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 5:18 AM
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^^ Various manufacturers have been developing such a technology for trams/streetcars... I know DC was considering it because of a century-old ordinance banning overhead wires anywhere in the central city. They ended up passing a bill to allow exceptions on a case-by-case basis, but never on the Mall or Pennsylania Ave.

The net emissions benefits of electrification depends on the type of power generation used. ComEd uses 58% nuclear power, so we're good on that aspect. Exelon has lobbied vehemently for cap-and-trade, so they strongly see themselves on a track towards carbon-lite or carbon-neutral. Plus, since an electric train doesn't have to lug its fuel around, it's automatically more lightweight and therefore more energy-efficient than a diesel train, regardless of whether it's loco-hauled or multiple-unit.
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  #8979  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 5:22 AM
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Why could be offset by the thread of the alterative of the high diesel soot particles exposed to all the little children and moms who pass by the line and station everyday when a train passes.
Numerous wealthy communities exist alongside electric wires, especially around NY and Philly.

On the flipside, UP has drastically reduced its budget for tree-trimming. The fear of fallen branches was the cited reason for all the thunderstorm closures of Metra. Funny, there wouldn't have fallen branches if UP was trimming the trees properly... but a fallen tree would wreak havoc on an overhead wire system.
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  #8980  
Old Posted Apr 15, 2012, 3:43 PM
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...

I have a crazy question. Has anyone ever thought of storing electric power aboard trainsets so that overhead power lines can be omitted over certain stretches (whether just 100s of feet or over much longer stretches)? You could even have a separate "battery car" which would be 1 added railcar just as a diesel locomotive today is 1 additional railcar. The way battery technology is evolving due to the electric-car boom, maybe this could be become practicable before long. I can't think of a major impetus to invest in the technology other than deleting catenaries for urban aesthetics, though. But if we get to a point where somewhere needed electrification is forestalled for years and years by NIMBYs, maybe it could be a solution.
...
Many electric trains coming on line these days use regenerative breaking, and at least some of them use batteries to store it instead of just dumping it back onto the grid. So the answer to your question, at least in terms of the "100s of feet" would be that they already exist. I'm not sure how many hundreds of feet currently use batteries would support, though, certainly not miles worth.
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