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CHI-MKE electrification


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Poll: Electrify CHI-MKE

How should the Chicago-Milwaukee corridor be used reguardless of cost

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#21 west point

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 09:03 PM

Lowering the tracks at CHI US will not be very easy.  what about the Chicago river water table and platforms would also need to be lowered ? 



#22 grover5995

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Posted 10 August 2016 - 11:00 PM

This route would seem to be an ideal candidate for electrification since the distance is under 100 miles and the entire distance has double track with few curves.  There are still quite a few grade crossings which would limit speeds to 110mph on most of the route.  Equipment could involve single-level trainsets (Pendolino), EMUs (Nippon/Sharyo) or possibly second-hand Acela trainsets that will eventually be replaced on the Northeast Corridor.  Electric trainsets allow for faster acceleration, regenerative braking and eliminates the need for a diesel power unit.

 

Daytime service between CUS-MKE in under 60 minutes could be expanded west to Madison or north to Green Bay.  Trains could also run south and west of CUS over the former Soo Line route to O'Hare Airport.  Using this dedicated route would involve far less grade crossings compared with the MILW West line. Direct service would be provided to both O'Hare and Milwaukee airports for passengers from Northeast IL and Southeast WI.  In addition, METRA could also operate mainline locals between CUS and Lake Forest using existing gallery cars with electric or dual power locomotives. 



#23 MisterUptempo

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 03:35 AM

Lowering the tracks at CHI US will not be very easy.  what about the Chicago river water table and platforms would also need to be lowered ? 

Lowering the tracks would pose another big problem as well.

 

The tracks to be electrified would most likely be the through tracks, to be serviced by converting the unused mail platform into two extra wide (by Union Station standards) platforms. The Phase 1A plans for Union call for the conversion of the mail platform, with only two tracks becoming through tracks initially; the other two would be stub end tracks, until such time that two more through tracks were required.

 

These converted platforms won't have a connection to the concourse at track level. For passengers to access these new platforms, they will have to take stairs/escalator/elevator from the concourse into Union Station's basement, where a steam tunnel would be converted into a passageway. They would continue south along the tunnel to waiting areas that would be built in spaces adjacent to the tunnel. Passengers would literally be sitting under the trains they would travel on. When boarding time arrived, passengers would access stairs/escalator/elevator which would take them up and onto the converted platform to board.

 

So, lowering the tracks would also require lowering the basement of at least part of Union Station, where the through track platforms need to be accessed. When one considers the expense involved, it would probably be a whole lot cheaper just to invest in single-level EMUs for Metra City service. MHSRA's plan still calls for the suburban Metra Electric to continue to terminate at Millennium station, so the bi-levels would still be used. Any excess bi-levels could probably be sold to NICTD/South Shore. Their 20-year plan calls for market expansion of their main commuter line, plus the West Lake Extension to Dyer will need rolling stock as well. 


Edited by MisterUptempo, 11 August 2016 - 03:39 AM.


#24 jis

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 06:41 AM

So does anyone have a real clearance diagram or information for Chicago Union Station handy or are we basing the discussion on an assumption? Either way, what is the current minimum clearance, known or assumed, and where exactly is it found? What is the next minimum clearance and where?



#25 neroden

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:48 PM

So, lowering the tracks would also require lowering the basement of at least part of Union Station


Nah. The cheap way to lower tracks when there's something underneath, like a bridge or a basement, is to replace ties-on-ballast with direct fixation. Gets you several inches. Given that we're talking about small changes in clearance, that's what they'd do.
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#26 neroden

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 07:55 PM

I would argue, however, that hourly service to Milwaukee should be, at least partially, under the aegis of Metra, extending their service from Kenosha the rest of the way north which would create a lot of additional commuting options. If that were a success then additional "express" trains could be added.

Politically, the problem is kind of weird. It has to do with the current political control of Wisconsin by very bad people, including Governor Walker. They are elected with core support from the Milwaukee suburbs. They have an unreasoning hatred of Milwaukee, though they probably hate Madison even more. (They hate the rural areas too; strip mining is their plan for rural areas.)

Obviously any Metra extension from Kenosha to Milwaukee would require state support; the city of Milwaukee doesn't have the money. So until the state of Wisconsin is removed from the control of these... people... the state government will not do anything good in Wisconsin.

So anything being proposed should be for the 2018 campaign platform.
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#27 iggy

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Posted 14 August 2016 - 05:26 AM

Rick Harnish CrossRail Chicago 2015 MHSRA Spring Meeting video - some elements may have been updated since this presentation.

 

Jeff Sriver Chicago Department of Transportation detailing Chicago Union Station refurbishment future upgrades Video

 

I wasn't at camera so graphs etc aren't zoomed in on.


Edited by iggy, 14 August 2016 - 05:34 AM.


#28 grover5995

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Posted 26 May 2017 - 03:13 PM

Would that move also benefit the City of New Orleans, Illini, and Saluki as well, in terms of eliminating backup movement?

Yes it would save between 10-20 minutes getting into CUS.



#29 NorthShore

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 03:49 AM

I would argue, however, that hourly service to Milwaukee should be, at least partially, under the aegis of Metra, extending their service from Kenosha the rest of the way north which would create a lot of additional commuting options. If that were a success then additional "express" trains could be added.


We should have never lost the North Shore!

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

#30 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:02 PM

 

I would argue, however, that hourly service to Milwaukee should be, at least partially, under the aegis of Metra, extending their service from Kenosha the rest of the way north which would create a lot of additional commuting options. If that were a success then additional "express" trains could be added.


We should have never lost the North Shore!

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

 

 

Helpless?

 

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#31 west point

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:54 PM

For there to be any chance of electrification METRA would need to plan electric service all the way to the Wisconsin border then the short distance to MKE might be feasible for Amtrak or other services. Maybe even METRA all way to MKE ?

These posters have at various times observed Superliner clearances at CHI Union station. It is only a few inches. Now the just announced rebuilding of CHI might allow for clearances to be increased. After all the platform passageways being closed due to debris falling maybe complete destruction of that terrible piece of poor planning and start over wit higher clearances ?f course there are station clearance problems.

#32 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 03:25 PM

I think, if given the money do to it, Metra wouldn't be opposed to electrification in principal. It would improve air quality in Union and eliminate the need for most locomotives. They answered just this question in their "On the Bi-Level" newsletter a couple months (or more) ago. 


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#33 bretton88

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 07:31 PM

Metra wouldn't be opposed, it just isn't very high on their priority list. The real question is whether CP would allow it, since they are the track owner. CP would probably require any electrification to allow for plate H clearance.

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#34 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 11:04 PM

This route would seem to be an ideal candidate for electrification since the distance is under 100 miles and the entire distance has double track with few curves.  There are still quite a few grade crossings which would limit speeds to 110mph on most of the route.  Equipment could involve single-level trainsets (Pendolino), EMUs (Nippon/Sharyo) or possibly second-hand Acela trainsets that will eventually be replaced on the Northeast Corridor.  Electric trainsets allow for faster acceleration, regenerative braking and eliminates the need for a diesel power unit.
 
Daytime service between CUS-MKE in under 60 minutes could be expanded west to Madison or north to Green Bay.  Trains could also run south and west of CUS over the former Soo Line route to O'Hare Airport.  Using this dedicated route would involve far less grade crossings compared with the MILW West line. Direct service would be provided to both O'Hare and Milwaukee airports for passengers from Northeast IL and Southeast WI.  In addition, METRA could also operate mainline locals between CUS and Lake Forest using existing gallery cars with electric or dual power locomotives. 

fully protected crossings can support 125 MPH, although there must be "an impenetrable barrier", which could be a gate that closes off the road

Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)

No trees were killed to make this, but a number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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#35 west point

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 01:02 PM

Another unlikely item would be for the rebuilding of CHI Union Station to raise clearances much above present Superliners. AFAIK CHI is the limiting clearances for western Superliner clearances. So if clearances were raised say 6 feet then the next generation of Amtrak bi-levels could be much higher say what is running on Alaska RR ? Then you would have a true Bi-level which would have much higher head room and sleepers could have viewing much like present Viewliners. Unlikely yes but at least fuel for thought.

#36 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:45 PM

It seems to me, at least, that if Union is going to be rebuilt it should be rebuilt as a through station rather than a stub terminal which would enable an S-bahn style commuter network and shorter dwell times too. Ahhh, dreaming is fun! And I'd like a panda while we're at it.


Edited by Metra Electric Rider, 05 June 2017 - 02:46 PM.

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#37 west point

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 04:46 PM

It seems to me, at least, that if Union is going to be rebuilt it should be rebuilt as a through station rather than a stub terminal which would enable an S-bahn style commuter network and shorter dwell times too. Ahhh, dreaming is fun! And I'd like a panda while we're at it.


That definitely is a + for the station. Some trains could still turn back by having end stopping at a stairway just under a new above concourse. Switches at those ends could enable for the thru trains. Unless the trains were electric the diesel emission ventilation would have to be solved which Amtrak has already noted that it will take $50M to fix.

#38 MisterUptempo

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 10:21 PM

 

It seems to me, at least, that if Union is going to be rebuilt it should be rebuilt as a through station rather than a stub terminal which would enable an S-bahn style commuter network and shorter dwell times too. Ahhh, dreaming is fun! And I'd like a panda while we're at it.


That definitely is a + for the station. Some trains could still turn back by having end stopping at a stairway just under a new above concourse. Switches at those ends could enable for the thru trains. Unless the trains were electric the diesel emission ventilation would have to be solved which Amtrak has already noted that it will take $50M to fix.

 

 

Perhaps you can clear something up for me. You mentioned that Amtrak's estimated costs to improve the train shed ventilation will take $50 Million. But in the FY2018 Budget Request, under State of Good Repair Projects, there is a request for $100 Million for "Chicago Union Station Train Shed Ventilation". Further still, in the same report, under Supplemental Project List for a Proposed Infrastructure Bill, there is a request for $175 Million, which would be Amtrak's 50% share towards a $350 Million "Chicago Union Station Train Shed Ventilation" project.

 

$350 Million?!

 

For $350 Million, Amtrak could probably fix the ventilation problems AND buy 222 S. Riverside AND knock the thing down. Makes me wonder whether that $350 Million isn't just mislabeled, and would, in fact, be used to build a new concourse at 300 S. Riverside. And that $350 Million is in addition to a request for $150 Million towards "Chicago Union Station Improvements", that has a total price tag of $265 Million. I'm assuming those are probably the Phase 1 improvements they've been planning.

 

Any thoughts?

 

edit - grammar


Edited by MisterUptempo, 05 June 2017 - 10:26 PM.


#39 west point

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 03:34 AM

Yes noted those discrepancies. Guess above my pay grade.

One point. Started a "simple" DIY project here. Costs estimate is now 4 times original. A got you.

Edited by west point, 06 June 2017 - 03:37 AM.


#40 cirdan

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 09:25 AM

The first step in determining the need to electrify is to figure out what is going to run, how frequently and at what speed. As far as I can tell there is little need for anything running more than 125mph on that corridor and it will probably be a long time before there will be more than hourly service. It fits more the model of a corridor like AAF's than anything like the NEC. So for now forget about electrification.
 
Once you decide to electrify there may be several civil clearance issue that will need to be addressed. But one thing that will not be an issue is constructing 24' clearance OHE where civil clearance for it is otherwise available. It is well known, tried and tested technology. As a matter of fact India is constructing many km of 26' high catenary on its dedicated freight corridors because they plan to run double stack containers on 4' high flatbeds which require a vertical clearance of that sort. So nothing new about the height of the cat or pantograph dynamics for such. They are well understood and deployed already elsewhere.
 
Here is an example:
 
tn_in-ir-doublestack-pantograph.jpg
 
Here is the type of train they are placing under such high catenary on the DFCs:
 
Gujarat.jpg
 
Those diesel locomotives are standard height EMD units.


The photo you link shows a freight train and I assume it's not going to be going at 125mph.

Do you know whether IR have done any studies into the suitability of such pantographs for higher speed?

Obviously problems of this type are not insurmountable, but it's not just a question of scaling what we alraedy have. For example at high speeds there will be aerodynamic problems as the pnatograph has a larger exposure to the wind. Also with the longer arms there will be a different (lower) frqeuency of mechanical oscillation and damping on both pantograph and catenary would have to be designed to accomodate this.




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