CHI-MKE electrification

Discussion in 'Amtrak’s Future: Member Ideas and Discussion' started by norfolkwesternhenry, Aug 4, 2016.

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

  1. Electrify it, and run frequent, high speed service 125+ MPH

    16 vote(s)
    41.0%
  2. upgrade track and signals and use the new SC-44's to pull trains 125 MPH

    19 vote(s)
    48.7%
  3. maintain it as it is 79 MPH

    4 vote(s)
    10.3%
  1. Aug 12, 2016 #26

    neroden

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    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.
     
  2. Aug 14, 2016 #27

    iggy

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2016
  3. May 26, 2017 #28

    grover5995

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    Yes it would save between 10-20 minutes getting into CUS.
     
  4. May 28, 2017 #29

    NorthShore

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    We should have never lost the North Shore!

    (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)
     
  5. May 30, 2017 #30

    Metra Electric Rider

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    Helpless?

    (dodges streamlined object thrown my way)
     
  6. May 30, 2017 #31

    west point

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    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.
     
  7. May 31, 2017 #32

    Metra Electric Rider

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    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.
     
  8. Jun 1, 2017 #33

    bretton88

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    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.

    Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
     
  9. Jun 5, 2017 #34

    norfolkwesternhenry

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    fully protected crossings can support 125 MPH, although there must be "an impenetrable barrier", which could be a gate that closes off the road
     
  10. Jun 5, 2017 #35

    west point

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    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.
     
  11. Jun 5, 2017 #36

    Metra Electric Rider

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    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2017
  12. Jun 5, 2017 #37

    west point

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    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.
     
  13. Jun 6, 2017 #38

    MisterUptempo

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    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
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2017
  14. Jun 6, 2017 #39

    west point

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    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2017
  15. Jun 6, 2017 #40

    cirdan

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    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.
     
  16. Jun 6, 2017 #41

    Metra Electric Rider

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    I'm wondering if one cost is for ventilation with the current layout and the higher costs are with new buildings overhead? The canopies are in bad, no, terrible, shape as is the ceiling of the northern portion which is under the building so some repair might be required to install anything to the ceiling, such as ducts and fans. I gather that Metra is either replacing locomotives or the emissions controls in some as part of the ventilation issue.
     
  17. Jun 6, 2017 #42

    norfolkwesternhenry

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    I'll take a cat. My last one died a long time ago.
     
  18. Jun 7, 2017 #43

    MisterUptempo

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    I took a few minutes to look at the Union Station Master Plan, in hopes of getting some insight into the ventilation question.

    As you know, Amtrak plans on remodeling the current concourse, including the Canal Street entrance. Plans for the entrance call for moving stairs and escalators to improve traffic flow on the concourse floor. The rendering from the December, 2013 edition of the Master Plan showed this-

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the illustration below, you can see the location of the diesel exhaust plenum. It would be right behind the wall that the departures/arrivals board is hanging on in the first rendering above. Despite the optimistic amount of light that the second rendering shows, that plenum really gets in the way of allowing light down onto the concourse.

    [​IMG]

    Now, look at the most recent renderings for the Canal Street entrance -

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The new design seems to provide for not only improved traffic flow, but also a marked improvement in the amount of light allowed into the concourse, achieved from the use of what appears to be highly reflective materials and the much more open, flowing transition from the Canal entrance to the concourse below. I can't see how they can achieve anything like that with the exhaust plenum as it currently exists.

    A sizable chunk of the money they seek must be going towards redesigning the plenum.

    Regarding repairing the ceiling of the train shed, I was of the understanding that maintenance/repair of the ceiling is the responsibility of the owners of the buildings over the tracks. The City of Chicago has the responsibility of maintaining the portion of the train shed that sits under Canal Street. If that's correct, Amtrak's only responsibility would be the portion of the south tracks not covered by 300 S. Riverside or the Old Post Office.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2017
  19. Jun 8, 2017 #44

    norfolkwesternhenry

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    How bad is the fume problem in CUS? I can imagine having so many LD trains idling for so long, as well as all the commuter routes, and even the SD routes that sit for hours before going anywhere. Is it bad enough where electrification would solve many problems, or few? Also, if oil prices spike for long periods, electric trains could save money...
     
  20. Jun 8, 2017 #45

    west point

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    Maybe fumes could be reduced by hooking all trains to station HEP until 5 minutes before departure ? Cost analysis needed for ongoing labor verses fixed capital costs.
     
  21. Jun 13, 2017 #46

    norfolkwesternhenry

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    How long does it take to start up a P42, SC-44, F40PH (and all Metra variations), and the other Metra engines from cold?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2017
  22. Jun 14, 2017 #47

    ehbowen

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    If the engines are cold...especially Chicago cold...they very well may not start at all. Sure you want to go there in a busy terminal?

    There's a reason that many railroads and heavy equipment operators in the cold country run their Diesel engines 24/7, except for maintenance.
     
  23. Jun 15, 2017 #48

    west point

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    Even some outfits put some kind of heater in the fuel tank.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2017
  24. Jun 15, 2017 #49

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    If starting engines in Chicago is an issue due to cold, there are many other Amtrak terminals that are even more vulnerable. Milwaukee, Grand Rapids, Port Huron, Pontiac, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Rensselaer (NY), Montreal, Rutland, St. Albans, Springfield (MA), Portland (ME), and Brunswick are all colder. Most of these are smaller cities with few or no extra Amtrak locomotives stored, so is it ever an issue of the locomotive not being able to start whatsoever?
     
  25. Jun 15, 2017 #50

    jis

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    It is not an issue because locomotives are not shutdown perhaps? I know they are not shut down at St. Albans for sure.
     

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