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Old Posted Jan 21, 2011, 7:52 PM
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Beta_Magellan Beta_Magellan is offline
Technocrat in Your Tank!
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by CTA Gray Line
No, they are all Motor Cars (and thus all have to be Inspected and Certified as Locomotives - more expensive than plain trailers).
Didn’t see this when skimming through the thread earlier—thanks for the answer!

Originally Posted by emathias View Post
Metra Electric local service were turned into a CTA operation, service would be more frequent, bus transfers would be handled under CTA norms, which would almost instantly increase ridership (and take some pressure off the Red Line but also induce new ridership), and it would make certain things - like re-extending the Green Line to Jackson Park (for what would be a much-improved transfer-connection to "normal" CTA rail service) easier and more likely to happen.
If anything, the Dan Ryan segment of the Red Line has excess capacity, due to greater usage on the north side. Where it does have trouble is where ardecila mentions, at the 95th Street not-intended-to-be-a-terminal.

the idea of bringing local Metra Electric service under the operations of the CTA may be the only way to bring service levels up to a level appropriate for the needs of City residents. It neatly sidesteps a number of contentious Metra/suburbs/city issues, and while it would probably cost more than $200 million, it would almost certainly cost less than the Red Line extension while providing service enhancements that would positively impact far more people than the Red Line extension will.
I definitely agree about this—but only for the mainline down to 63rd and the South Chicago branch (which also has the advantage of being recently rebuilt to ADA standards). One thing that’s worth remembering is that the IC was already reducing service to the South Side before Metra took over, mainly in response to two things: competition from the CTA (with its subsidized fares) and declining demand for downtown trips. Looking at the South Chicago branch, we see a number of different CTA bus routes paralleling it (which, in my experience, tend to be pretty packed), so it looks to me like there competition from the CTA the major factor. Still, according to RTAMS the stations there average around 195 boardings per weekday (taking out 93rd, which is a major outlier).

In contrast, the mainline stations between 63rd and Kensington (another big outlier) average about 62 boardings per weekday. Part of this is competition from the CTA’s integrated bus and rail network, but I think a large part of it is also the fact that a lot of people who live in further south don’t work downtown, and a lot of the ridership on the Dan Ryan line and major bus lines is for non-CBD travel. If someone who lives in Roseland needs to get to the 74th Street industrial belt, for example, the Gray Line won’t do him much good. It also seems to me like riders south of 95th tend to live further west (a Halsted elevated route to 115th had the highest cost-effectiveness rating of any of the Red Line extension alternatives), so the preferred Red Line alignment—in between Halsted and State—makes a more sense to me rather than having a frequent service along Cottage Grove, basically at the eastern edge of the far south neighborhoods.

It’s also worth remembering that the Red Line extension’s cost is so high because it extends all the way to 130th rather than 115th (I haven’t seen to figures after inflation, but IIRC if only extended to 115th the cost was $800 million, as opposed to $1.1 billion for a full extension to 130th) and the CTA wants new shops-and-yards, which adds about another $200 million to the 130th option and $300 million to the 115th one (higher for 115th because of the need for extra track to reach the yards, at 120th). I don’t have the links on me at the moment, but they’re at the CTA’s red line extension page.

Despite my critique, I think it’s worth noting that I still think the Gray Line’s a great idea—just a great idea I’m in partial disagreement with, if that nuance is able to be transmitted across the internet.

Last edited by Beta_Magellan; Jan 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM. Reason: UBB Code Mistake
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