Metra Electrification

Discussion in 'Commuter Rail and Rail Transit Discussion' started by NeueAmtrakCalifornia, Nov 27, 2019.

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  1. Nov 27, 2019 #1

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    Recently, Metra has contemplated electrifying the Rock Island District (as they own the tracks) as part of a set of improvements they announce for the system. I do think if they want to electrify the Rock Island District, they could also electrify other lines that see high frequency and ridership, such as the BNSF Line and the Union Pacific District lines.

    * 16th Street Connection: This will involve building a flyover to 16th Street tracks and a new bridge to the St. Charles Air Line, giving the Rock Island District and Metra Electric District access to Union Station, unifying the two lines with the main Metra Network. LaSalle and Millennium Station will still be retained however.
    * Re-electrification of the Metra Electric District from 1500 V DC to 25 kV 60 Hz AC. This also extends to the South Shore Line (as it uses Metra Electric District tracks)

    In terms of rolling stock, as Metra Electric District uses bi-level trains, Metra can use the Stadler KISS, as Stadler is manufacturing them for Caltrain. This will replace the Nippon Sharyo Highliner IIs used on the Metra Electric District (and the single-level EMUs for South Shore Line; South Shore Line can order a different fleet of single-level EMUs)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
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  2. Nov 27, 2019 #2

    west point

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    Not enough vertical clearance at Union Station for 25 Kv 60 Hz. Somehow vertical clearances will need to be corrected first and that will not be cheap !
     
  3. Nov 27, 2019 #3

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    What's Union Station's vertical clearance?
     
  4. Nov 27, 2019 #4

    west point

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    Observed that it is less than 12 inches from top of Superliners !
     
  5. Nov 27, 2019 #5

    ms garrison

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    I ride the Rock Island frequently from Evergreen Park to downtown Chicago; I would love to see RI go to Union Station ,because when I need to go to Union Station I have to use Southwest Service, which is basically a commuter train and has no Sunday and very little mid day service. Also, there is talk that SW will soon be ending at LaSalle St station, as a result of the flyover to be done around 63rd street?
     
  6. Nov 27, 2019 #6

    PerRock

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    NICTD uses the same NS Highliners as Metra as well.
    http://www.rrpicturearchives.net//pictures/32048/11 09-02 10.jpg

    If I had to guess, Metra would just order more Highlinders from NS. Most of Metra's entire fleet of cars & EMUs are from NS and are essentially the same, so it makes some sense to keep it that way.

    peter

    Edit/PS: The 16th St. flyover would also allow for Amtrak's Michigan service to use the South Shore tracks to get into the city & avoid the congested NS tracks in Indiana.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2019 #7

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    And they're 16 ft 2 in so around 17 ft. So they'll have to dig as much as 8 ft to safely allow 25 kV wires. Guess this means digging a tunnel on its approaches (this will also force Amtrak and Metra to end using diesels so they're gonna have to buy battery locos for the non-electric operations)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  8. Nov 27, 2019 #8

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    Capacity is an issue at Union Station, so the plan is to reroute Southwest Service trains to LaSalle Street. As far as I am aware, no lines will be rerouted to Union Station in the near future, although there are long term plans involving run-through service at Union Station from the Electric District to O'Hare.
     
  9. Nov 27, 2019 #9

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    I know that. Though NS will have to make a 25 kV 60 Hz version of the Highliner II and I don't think sending back existing Highliner IIs to NS to be converted to that voltage would be easy, hence me bringing up Stadler as a supplier for new 25 kV EMUs for Metra

    And how would it?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  10. Nov 27, 2019 #10

    jis

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    You require 8 feet additional clearance over 17' clearance for 25kV? That would be news to most users of 25kV electrification, including Amtrak and NJT!
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2019
  11. Nov 27, 2019 #11

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    No they would have to dig 8 feet below Union Station to raise the vertical clearance from roughly 17 feet to 25 feet (the vertical clearance Caltrain electric will have)
     
  12. Nov 27, 2019 #12

    MikefromCrete

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    Somehow, I don't see Metra rerouting any more trains to Union Station. The south side of the station is at capacity now.
    As far as Nippon Shayron building more Highliners, the company has shut down its Rochelle, Il., plant and apparently has abandoned the North American market as a result of the fiasco with the Midwest/California cars.
    BNSF and UP West lines will be the last Metra lines to be electrified since Metra doesn't own the routes and both area extremely heavy with freight traffic.
     
  13. Nov 27, 2019 #13

    jis

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    Indian Railways runs 24' tall double stack on flat cars under 26' high catenary.

    NJT runs 14'6" tall MLVs under 16' 6" clearance over bridges with 25kV catenary.

    Why on earth would you require catenary at 25'? Just because California chose to do so?

    Safety clearance for 25kV is something like 1.5' so clearance from train roof to contact wire and 1.5' clearance from contact wire to ceiling, i.e. a total of roughly 3' above train roof is sufficient, a little less if ceiling rails embedded in insulating material are used in covered areas instead of full blown catenary like every sane rail agency in the world does. KISS's are 16' - 16.5' tall (depending on which country's version one is talking about). So ceiling clearance of 19.5" should be fine with contact wire at 18' or so. So dig ~2.5' or so, not 8'.

    But one should ask more seriously whether it is really necessary to convert everything to 25kV AC in the first place since all this digging really gains nothing much at enormous cost. It might be more cost effective to use dual voltage equipment instead.
     
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  14. Nov 27, 2019 #14

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    Looks like Metra and NICTD will have to turn to Stadler for new EMUs then.

    The BNSF and Union Pacific lines see higher ridership than the Metra Electric and Rock Island lines (both of which Metra completely owns the tracks to)

    The can also use overhead rails like Berlin Hauptbahnhof so they'd dig even less for rebuilding Union Station to accomodate 25 kV electrification (as well as reduce maintenance costs).

    Since there would now be less digging, diesels can be retained. Anyways, putting all electric operations (Metra/IC electric and NICTD and future electric BNSF, UP and RI) under one single voltage (25 kV 60 Hz AC) will make things easier logistically. 25 kV 60 Hz AC is much more used than 1500 V DC and there's far more off-the-shelf components.
     
  15. Nov 27, 2019 #15

    west point

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    Observed the less than 1 foot when maintenance was trying to repair something on top of the end of the Superliner. It was on one of the thru tracks. maybe is the structure is able remove the floor above the tracks to get the proper clearances. That might be a better solution . It would allow for Amtrak and others to actually purchase taller equipment that can be used throughout the whole west if so desired. Right now CHI US clearances limit bi level height for all western trains.
     
  16. Nov 27, 2019 #16

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    Superliners are pretty tall to begin with (I think they're the tallest bilevel coaches currently in service)
     
  17. Nov 27, 2019 #17

    PerRock

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    What's the source on your conversion change claims. My engineering coworkers, don't think you'd need a brand new train; it's would be within reason to convert it. Also NICTD/Metra could also use a 3rd party for the conversion... NS is doing conversions to their diesel locomotives right now for example.

    Ah it wouldn't mis-read the map.

    peter
     
  18. Nov 27, 2019 #18

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    I was wondering if it would be possible to fit 25 kV 60 Hz AC electrical equipment within the space used for the 1500 V DC electrical equipment given its design. If so then they wouldn't have to buy the Stadler EMUs that Caltrain will be using. I was bringin up Stadler providing bilevel electric EMUs for Metra and NICTD because the Highliner II's are literally the Gallery Cars (which both Caltrain and Metra use) but as EMUs and Caltrain's gonna replace the gallery cars with those. Plus they're roomier than the Gallery Cars.
    Maybe Metra can also convert their diesels to battery electrics for the non-electrified tracks.

    What do you mean mis-read the map?
     
  19. Nov 27, 2019 #19

    Trogdor

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    I’d be careful of saying there are long-term plans for run-through service, MED to O’Hare. It’s something championed by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association (or whatever their new name is), but to my knowledge has never been a part of an actual Metra/RTA/railroad/government-sponsored transportation plan.

    Would it be nice to have? I think so. Is anyone outside of advocacy circles working on it? Not to my knowledge.
     
  20. Nov 27, 2019 #20

    west point

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    Superliners are not the tallest equipment in service. Rocky mountain tours has taller and Alaska RR has even taller. Could not access their height.

    EDIT Colorado railcar now US Railcar height is 19"9-1/2". That height would allow upper level sleeper space to be as high as V-1 & V-2s upper berth beds.

    Superliners are 16' 2" .
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  21. Nov 28, 2019 #21

    MikefromCrete

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    Right, the whole connecting Meta Electric to Milwaukee West to get to O'Hare is a proposal of the High Speed Alliance. Metra has never endorsed this plan, or even commented on, as far as I know. Metra is looking at electrifying the Rock Island District, and might send some Rock Island trains over to Millenium Park station via the St. Charles Air LIne, but there's nothing more to the plan. Metra certainly would not add additional service to Union Station and is looking at diverting the Southwest Service trains to LaSalle St.
    Any Rock Island electrification is far in the future and any other routes are even farther in the future. And as I said before, BNSF and UP would put up all kinds of roadblocks to electrifying the Aurora and UP West lines.
    As far as what kind of equipment would be used, that's also far in the future and any speculation is just that, speculation.
     
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  22. Dec 3, 2019 #22

    CTANut

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    A train line in Montreal converted from 3000 VDC to 25kv 60hz in the 1990s, and now they are converting yet again to 1500 VDC.
     
  23. Dec 3, 2019 #23

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    And this will cause serious logistical issues, especiall for VIA Rail's neo-Corridor to link Montreal with Quebec City, lest they merge Lucien L'Allier and Central Station into a new single downtown station (or build a new Mount Royal tunnel)
     
  24. Dec 4, 2019 #24

    jis

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    The article you linked says at length that the problem is differences in loading gauge, platforms etc. One of the comments actually says clearly that the differences in electrification standards would not be a major problem.

    Think about it. Eurostars when they initially started operating out of Waterloo operated on 750DC to Dollands Moor, and there transitioned to 25kV AC. Every Thameslink train in London today runs DC south of the Thames and 25kV AC north of the Thames. Every RER-B train in Paris runs 3kV DC (AFAIR on the voltage, but it is DC) south of Gare du Nord and 25kV AC north of Gare du Nord. It is not rocket science and it is mostly a non-issue.
     
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  25. Dec 4, 2019 #25

    NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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    REM wants to have the Mount Royal Tunnel all for themselves, meaning no trains from VIA and Exo allowed.

    Also the only DC voltage France uses is 1500 V DC.
     

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