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-   -   CHICAGO: ORD & MDW discussion (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=87889)

aquablue Apr 15, 2011 10:57 PM

If this were to happen, it could set an example for other cities like cough NYC cough. Most respected cities of high standing around the world have decent rail to airports, and many have express rail. The USA is lacking in anything like this. Really, if you build something that is comfortable to ride, quick, easy to store luggage, and goes to a central location, you are going to take many cars off the airport road which will benefit everyone.

Daly is my kind of mayor, because Irish don't take no crap. I love his ideas. He's a real mayor, someone who actually wants to accomplish physical projects in the city, unlike most mayors cough managers cough. Really, NYC needs this kind of mayor. A transit master who can use his strong voice to get this done in this idiotic transit-hating country of ours. Bloomberg is far too nice and logical to get anything controversial through.

ardecila Apr 16, 2011 12:20 AM

Yeah, which is why the nice-guy Bloomberg failed to get construction started on East Side Access, the Second Avenue Subway, the 7 extension, the Fulton Street Transit Center, the WTC transit center, etc, etc...

Chicago is already ahead of New York - we have direct one-seat ride service from our downtown to both major airports... unlike New York where getting to any airport requires a transfer from the subway to a bus, AirTrain, or NJTransit. Getting people to the airport is important, but it's much less important than many other issues in Chicago, like rebuilding the northern stretch of the Red Line or reconfiguring the freight rail network, or building a decent downtown rail terminal for intercity and high-speed trains, or building a rapid transit line along the lakefront.

Beta_Magellan Apr 16, 2011 12:44 AM

Or he’s pursuing potentially unnecessary or comparatively low-impact vanity projects while dropping the ball on ordinary commuters (such as letting the express buses get cut during union negotiations last year) and routine, if unglamorous, maintenance.

spyguy Apr 23, 2011 11:56 PM

http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/...mni/kerwin.htm

Thomas Kerwin '07 -Taking a firm approach to 'sustainable, vibrant' architecture
By Barbara Rose


...The year-old firm, with about 45 design professionals, is already winning work. BKL is partnering with Magellan on a 50-story tower, scheduled to break ground in May on East Wacker Drive in Chicago. Among BKL's other projects are the interior renovation of O'Hare International Airport's Terminal 5, China Aviation's headquarters in Beijing and a 70-story hotel and residential tower in Shaoxing, China.

202_Cyclist Apr 26, 2011 7:35 PM

Gary airport authority agrees to move 3 rail projects to expand main runway
 
Gary airport authority agrees to move 3 rail projects to expand main runway

April 26, 2011
Chicago Tribune

"GARY, Ind. (AP) — Gary has a deal to expand its airport.

The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority unanimously voted Monday to relocate three railroad projects that would make way for the airport to expand. The projects blocked the expansion of the airport's main runway.

The $128 million project will allow most passenger airliners and larger cargo planes to land at the airport by expanding the runway from 7,000 feet to nearly 9,000 feet..."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,1156063.story

ardecila Apr 27, 2011 10:50 AM

I'll believe it when I see the EJ&E move... they've been talking about it for years.

nomarandlee May 3, 2011 6:42 AM

Quote:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...4375617.column

City seeks proposals for system to rival those in Europe, Asia
Jon Hilkevitch


Getting Around

6:40 p.m. CDT, May 2, 2011

Still itching to build something big for Chicago even in his final days in office, Mayor Richard Daley has invited technology experts from around the world to submit concepts for an express rail service to O'Hare International Airport.

Whisking travelers from downtown Chicago to O'Hare in 10 to 20 minutes, it would be the first rapid passenger rail line connecting a downtown and an airport in the U.S., rivaling express trains in Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Paris and Shanghai, officials said.

"Rich has an idea a minute, and his recent trip to China brought this to the forefront for him again," said Lester Crown, chairman of a 17-member committee that Daley appointed to explore O'Hare express rail service after an earlier plan to use the CTA Blue Line fizzled.

Responses to the city's "request for information and interest," due by July 26, will land on Rahm Emanuel's desk at City Hall. Mayor-elect Emanuel has expressed interest in the project. As White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama, Emanuel helped craft the administration's plan to build high-speed rail corridors across the U.S.

The initial objective of the O'Hare solicitation is to get suggestions from potential investors to finance, construct, operate and maintain the express rail project. Interested parties are required to identify potential routes and options for stations downtown and at the airport, as well as suggesting schedules and amenities to make the premium service attractive to customers...........
.
...More in link

spyguy May 26, 2011 7:10 PM

Virgin American inaugural flight was yesterday
 
Virgin Airlines -> Virgin Express Train -> Virgin Hotel @ Block 37

Richard Branson: Make it happen

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2580/...64fb54cdfa.jpg
Untitled by Brooks was here, on Flickr

denizen467 May 27, 2011 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spyguy (Post 5293138)
Virgin Airlines -> Virgin Express Train -> Virgin Hotel @ Block 37

Richard Branson: Make it happen

... you thought up those ideas ... or did he say something about this?

ardecila May 27, 2011 8:20 PM

No, but Virgin was looking for hotel sites in the Loop, and Block 37 needs a hotel tenant. After that, it's only natural that Virgin might look into rail service, especially since they already operate trains in the UK.

Unfortunately, any train going into Block 37 would have to use the slow Blue Line to get to O'Hare, either sitting behind local trains or forcing all of us local stiffs to wait on sidings as the global-city elite pass us by.

A Virgin train from O'Hare into Union Station would be better, and more in line with Virgin's UK expertise... Branson could still build his hotel above the platforms, on the Reschke-controlled site between Lake and Randolph, or on the proposed site for that Japanese hotel across from Union Station.

Alliance May 27, 2011 9:07 PM

Virgin should be the hotel and just complete the original plans for union station.

ardecila May 28, 2011 4:34 AM

That could work too, but I think Virgin is a bit tawdry for the reserved architecture of Union Station.

I suppose it could work if they somehow separate the hotel from the train station... but I will not stand for huge Virgin signage in the Great Hall.

denizen467 May 28, 2011 9:58 AM

Just thinking about the above ... the time is so ripe for an airport train ... other than the recession, the mayor's office has been behind it, there are various routings available, we have a foreign moneybags guy (and China?) interested in it, there are multiple hotel tower sites available, the President and Secretary of Transportation are Illinois people ... if an initial phase doesn't materialize now, then it could be decades ...

ardecila May 29, 2011 4:21 AM

What "foreign moneybags guy"? I've yet to hear of a single REAL person willing to invest in this project.

Richard Branson hasn't indicated anything yet, although he did ride on the Blue Line today. Still, the more I think about it, the less it makes sense. Why waste so much time putting together a deal for an O'Hare express train when there are so many other, more pressing needs? The Red Line needs rebuilding. Rapid Bus needs to be implemented in both the city and suburbs. Our existing highways are crumbling and woefully over-capacity. Many of the Metra lines are maxed-out and need more investment in order to add more service. The O'Hare Modernization needs to be completed.

Besides, the two most realistic options for O'Hare Express - diesel from O'Hare Transfer Station to Union Station, or express Blue Line, both have severe drawbacks. The first one has huge "last-mile" problems. The Metra airport station would be at the far end of the people-mover system, not right in the terminals. Then it would let people off at Union Station, which is pretty far from the hotels where the global elite are heading. The express Blue Line would require huge expenditure to add capacity to the Blue Line while seriously inconveniencing the commutes of tens of thousands of Chicagoans every day.

denizen467 May 29, 2011 11:00 AM

^ Are you in a depressed mood or something - you laid right into the various weaknesses and difficulties. Without acknowledging what I believe da (previous) mare and others have been talking about. If there is substantial private involvement, then I don't see a lot of "wast[ing] time" at the expense of other rail projects. Yeah political capital and infrastructure capital are more easily directed 100% at a single priority goal, but if private capital and expertise are knocking on the door (I understand they aren't right now - everything here is predicated on "if"), it might be wise to jump at the chance, and it will not necessarily preclude also lobbying to refurb or extend the Red Line or other projects.

I think a couple Blue Line bypasses to get the ride close to a half-hour would be a good start. Passengers aren't going to ignore the train option just because it takes more then 15 minutes or whatever. Cab rides can be $50, take a very long time in traffic, and the waits in the taxi queue, especially in bad weather, can be ridiculous. Yet at the same time a lot of people find the current, inexpensive, Blue Line ride from ORD completely unacceptable.

Beta_Magellan May 29, 2011 7:38 PM

The ultimate problem is that an airport express remains a marginal transportation market. The CTA’s most optimistic 2030 estimates only estimate around 6600 riders per day for a Block 37-O’Hare express service with bypasses. In comparison with the rest of the CTA’s network (and much of Metra’s), that’s pretty insignificant, so I think ardecila’s right on the nose—it’s a distraction that mainly gets attention because a lot of movers-and-shakers use this route.

As I’ve said before, if Da (former) Mare wanted to leverage private capital for infrastructure improvements, the best place to do that is with CREATE, an existing program relying on public-private partnerships which involves the already-profitable freight carries, the sometimes-covering-operating-costs Amtrak services, and Metra.

denizen467 May 29, 2011 8:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5296533)
The CTA’s most optimistic 2030 estimates only estimate around 6600 riders per day for a Block 37-O’Hare express service with bypasses. In comparison with the rest of the CTA’s network (and much of Metra’s), that’s pretty insignificant, so I think ardecila’s right on the nose—it’s a distraction that mainly gets attention because a lot of movers-and-shakers use this route.

But given that fares would be say almost 10 times normal commuter fares (and in-railcar advertising could command higher rates, and maybe vending or other concessions could produce a bit of revenue), it's not a simple apples-to-apples comparison. How does it compare to daily figures on a middling Metra line? FWIW, the number would skyrocket during heavy travel seasons or horrible weather that congests the Kennedy.

But setting aside the microeconomics of ridership estimates, there is some amount of induced attraction to the city that a "white collar" link to ORD would have. That could be a couple more national associations, a couple more conventions, a couple more office relocations (including from far suburbs), a couple more startups, some more tourists flying in for one night of theater, etc. Of course, none of those things would benefit the train operator; they'd be overall benefits to the city, so those aspects suggest public operation, not private operation. Anyway, if the ridership figure is low for this estimate, isn't it also low for Heathrow and certain other cities (excluding cities whose airports are so distant that trains have a natural advantage) who run these trains anyway?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Beta_Magellan (Post 5296533)
As I’ve said before, if Da (former) Mare wanted to leverage private capital for infrastructure improvements, the best place to do that is with CREATE, an existing program relying on public-private partnerships which involves the already-profitable freight carries, the sometimes-covering-operating-costs Amtrak services, and Metra.

Well fine but these aren't mutually exclusive. Not only is there lots of capital out there, investors in freight infrastructure improvements would not necessarily be the same people who would run a shuttle train.

If there's extra federal $ sloshing around from Florida's HSR budget, I wish that would go to projects like this instead of bringing St Louis closer to us, etc. If the Administration is convinced HSR is a worthy marquee green project, surely one little airport shuttle is too.

ardecila May 30, 2011 5:20 PM

If/when private sector operators come forward with proposals, I will definitely pay attention. But the track record of public-private partnerships like this suggests that the private operator will build little-to-no additional infrastructure, and instead just look for ways to use existing infrastructure. In the O'Hare travel market, this means either a sub-optimal train trip via Metra or a trip via the Blue Line that places serious delays on normal L trains and those who ride them.

IF Metra were already electrified, then tunneling beneath the airport and building a new rail terminal there would probably be less than $300 million (the Hiawatha airport tunnel is a decent yardstick, with similar soil types and length). However, Metra isn't electrified, so you can't run its diesel trains into a tunnel. And even if you purchase dual-mode locomotives, you still need to run FRA-compliant equipment, and bore a tunnel big enough to squeeze them into.

Building passing sidings on the Blue Line isn't a great idea either. The Blue Line has to shut down fairly often for suicides, accidents, bomb threats, and occasionally derailments. Now into this, let's throw a system of passing sidings that shoots to hell the idea of frequent, regular service for the Blue Line. Just as a good experience with an O'Hare Express train could very well bring in new passengers, a bad experience - say, getting caught in the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway - could turn off these global-city visitors and make them vow to never visit Chicago again.

I'm not saying it's impossible to set up a good service, but it's not the kind of turnkey operation you want to hand over to a private company. It will require substantial and costly new construction. If and when there's surplus money lying around to build a tunnel that brings Metra into the O'Hare terminals area, with electrification and all, then we can set up a good service.

Jenner May 30, 2011 9:08 PM

The O'Hare shuttle could use Metra tracks until it reaches I-190. A new portion of track would be created to create a semi-circle, going from the Metra tracks circling into the blue line tracks at the 294-190 interchange, west of the blue line yard. From here, you can use the existing blue line tracks into O'Hare, without a need to create a new station. This limits the use of the blue line tracks to O'Hare only, and doesn't need to go through the blue line yard.

Drawbacks:
- This would mean that you'd need a different type of train provided, since the Metra diesel trains wouldn't be able to run on the Blue line and into the O'Hare station.

- O'Hare station will need some way to differentiate blue line passengers and business passengers -- meaning you don't want the business passengers to go through the CTA turnstiles.

- Need to make sure that the O'Hare express doesn't cause backups on the blue line or Metra lines.

ardecila May 31, 2011 8:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jenner (Post 5297633)
This would mean that you'd need a different type of train provided, since the Metra diesel trains wouldn't be able to run on the Blue line and into the O'Hare station.

This is the big one. A train heavy enough to meet FRA regulations and run on Metra track would be so heavy that it would tear up the CTA track, even if you could get a waiver to run the operation.

Quote:

- O'Hare station will need some way to differentiate blue line passengers and business passengers -- meaning you don't want the business passengers to go through the CTA turnstiles.

- Need to make sure that the O'Hare express doesn't cause backups on the blue line or Metra lines.
These two are more minor... the O'Hare Terminal already has three tracks. One track could be segregated as a premium-service track pretty easily, with its own platform, set of escalators and turnstiles (maybe a lounge). This would mean the loss of terminal flexibility for CTA, but they could fix this through careful train scheduling or by short-turning some Blue Line trains at Rosemont.


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