Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Quarantine Order Not Expected to Affect South Shore

October 16, 2020

The City of Chicago has added Indiana to its COVID-19 quarantine list, but rail commuter operator South Shore Line doesn’t expect that to affect its operations between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana.

Michael Noland, president of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, which operates the South Shore commuter trains, said its commuter schedule won’t change.

Although South Shore ridership has been down about 20 percent, Noland doesn’t expect ridership to be affected by the order.

 “Our riders . . . probably already fit into the exceptions that are contained in the Chicago travel ban,” Noland said.

The order requires travelers to quarantine for 14 days when entering the city, if they are coming from states where the rate of new COVID-19 cases is higher than 15 per 100,000 residents.

Indiana’s rate places it among 25 states on the quarantine list, but the order makes exception for essential workers, those requiring medical care, and several other reasons.

Most Amtrak Long-Distance Trains Will Arrrive, Depart Chicago on Monday, Thursday, Saturday

August 14, 2020

Most of Amtrak’s long-distance trains will arrive and depart Chicago on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, thus enabling same-day connections on those days between Amtrak’s western and eastern long-distance trains once they move to tri-weekly operation in October.

Trains magazine reported on its website on Thursday afternoon the new schedules, which it said were contained in a message to employees that it obtained.

That schedule shows the reduction in frequency of service will be phased in on Oct. 5 on the California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, City of New Orleans, and Crescent.

On Oct. 12 the Coast Starlight, Lake Shore Limited, Southwest Chief, and Texas Eagle will move to tri-weekly operation.

The Empire Builder and Palmetto will assume tri-weekly schedules on Oct. 19.

If the schedule information presented by Trains is accurate, there will be no same-day connections from the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited to the westbound Texas Eagle.

Nos. 29 and 49/449 are slated to depart their eastern endpoint cities of Boston, New York and Washington on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, thus putting them into Chicago on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The Texas Eagle, though, is scheduled to depart Chicago on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

Nos. 30 and 48/448 are scheduled to leave Chicago on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The inbound Eagle will offer same-day connections with those trains on Thursday and Saturday.

The Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited will offer same-day connections on Monday and Saturday to the California Zephyr, Southwest Chief, Empire Builder and City of New Orleans.

There will be no westbound same-day connections from Nos. 29 and 49/449 to the California Zephyr on Thursday but there will be connections to Nos. 3, 7 and 59.

As for same-day eastbound connections to Nos. 30 and 48/448, the inbound California Zephyr, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief and City of New Orleans will make those connections on all three days.

The Cardinal already operates tri-weeky, reaching Chicago on the same days of the week that have been set for the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

However, No. 50 departs Chicago on Tuesday and there will be no inbound connections to the Cardinal from any western long distance train on that day. The Cardinal also departs Chicago on Thursday and Saturday.

The schedules, if they are implemented as reported by Trains, will mean that Amtrak will stop in Cleveland and other Northeast Ohio cities on every day except Wednesday.

Nos. 48/448 and 30 will arrive in Cleveland on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Nos. 29 and 49/449 will arrive on Thursday, Saturday and Monday.

The schedule changes will not affect the Auto Train, which will remain daily.

The Sunset Limited already operates tri-weekly and frequency reductions were implemented in early July for the Silver Star and Silver Meteor.

Disappearing Act in Chicago 1988

July 1, 2020

Led by a Burlington Northern E9A unit, a Metra train leaves Chicago Union Station. The E units continued in service through 1992.

After my visit out east with my sister, brother-in-law, T-1s 2102 and 2101, I boarded at Harrisburg a alumbercoach on Amtrak’s westbound Broadway Limited for a trip to Chicago to meet the late Bill Surdyk at Union Station.

We had a unique opportunity to see three baseball games in one day.

The Chicago Cubs were scheduled to play an afternoon doubleheader on May 24, 1988, with the Atlanta Braves due to a rainout the previous day. Usually the Cubs and White Sox are not in town at the same time.

However, today they were. As an added bonus the White Sox were playing our hometown Cleveland Indians that night.

To me it was an added bonus being a Tribe Trifecta.

The photos are all of things I miss from the 1980s that are no longer with us, thus the disappearing act.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

The crowd enjoys a sunny day at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

Harry Caray calls the action.

The old Comiskey Park before the White Sox-Indians game on May 24, 1988.

NKP 765 Plans CVSR Trips, Chicago Excursions

March 6, 2018

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 is planning to come to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad this year although no dates have yet been announced.

That news was buried in the last sentence of a news release announcing an excursion for the 765 in Chicago on Sept. 15 and 16.

The release said that the CVSR excursions were being planned for “later this year.”

As for the Chicago trips, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society said the Berkshire-type steam locomotive will pull trips named the Joliet Rocket over former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific trackage between Joliet, Illinois, and Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station twice daily on both days.

The society said that each trip will have food, cocktails and live music. Passengers are encouraged to dress in vintage-style clothes

FtWRHS members may begin buying tickets on April 2 with sales opening to everyone else on April 4. No ticket prices have been disclosed.

The Chicago excursions drew more than 2,500 passengers in 2017 from 30 states.

FtWRHS Vice President Kelly Lynch said this year’s excursions will have a longer layover time, an improved catering service and more dome cars.

The society said the Joliet Rocket will be among the 765’s last mainline excursions until it installs positive train control technology on the locomotive.

The Chicago excursions will use tracks owned by Chicago commuter rail agency Metra.

Cleveland to Chicago in 28 Minutes?

February 21, 2018

A California company has proposed building a hyperloop between Cleveland and Chicago that would cover the distance in 28 minutes.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the Northeast Ohio Regional Coordinating Agency, and the Illinois Department of Transportation plan to study potential hyperloop routes between Chicago and Cleveland.

“We came here because places like Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburgh have the manufacturing, the raw materials and the talented, hard working people in order to make it happen,” said Andrea La Mendola, chief global operations officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

Funding for the Chicago-Cleveland study has not yet been funded but was touted in an agreement between between the developer and the government agencies.

If undertaken, the study could take up to a year and will include a look at right-of-ways along northern Ohio interstates and rail lines. The study will also examine costs and potential ridership.

Another company, Virgin Hyperloop One, has proposed routes linking Columbus with Chicago and Pittsburgh.

That plan is being organized in part by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and is one of 10 finalists in the Hyperloop One Global Challenge.

The Columbus-Chicago route would cover the distance in 29 minutes while the Columbus-Pittsburgh route would do it in 18 minutes.

A hyperloop uses a vacuum-sealed tunnel and magnets to propel passenger cars. In theory, people could travel inside a hyperloop at 700 miles an hour.

The Ohio Senate passed a non-binding resolution last September supporting the Columbus hyperloop efforts, but did not agree to fund it.

Indiana May Repeal Light Rail Ban for Indianapolis

January 26, 2018

In an effort to woo a $5 billion Amazon headquarters, the Indiana General Assembly is moving to repeal a law banning light rail from the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

A House committee voted 11-1 this week in favor of legislation to repeal a 2014 law that bars state or local governments from spending money on light rail projects in the seven-county region surrounding Indianapolis.

The effort to repeal the law gained impetus when Amazon recently named Indianapolis one of 20 finalists for its second headquarters.

Also on the list are Chicago, Pittsburgh and Columbus. Cleveland applied for the headquarters but did not make the latest cut.

One of the criteria being used by Amazon to choose what is being termed HQ2 is good public transportation, including rail transportation.

Indianapolis has a bus system but not a rail transit system and there are no current plans to create one.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle. Dozens of cities in the United States and Canada are eagerly seeking the Amazon headquarters because it promises to provide more than 50,000 jobs with average salaries of more than $100,000 annually.

“Transit is a very major factor for a lot of these major companies that are looking to move here,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis).

The 2014 law banning light rail was rooted in a belief by fiscal conservatives that a light rail system would require a taxpayer bailout due to its high costs.

The conservative lawmakers demanded the light rail ban as the price for their support of a measure to allow Indiana counties to increase incomes taxes through referendum for public transit projects.

STB Rejects Bid to Build Chicago Bypass

September 1, 2017

The proposed Chicago freight bypass has been stopped dead in its tracks.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board unanimously rejected the proposal of Great Lakes Basin Transportation Company to build the bypass railroad between northwest Indiana and southern Wisconsin.
The STB said it acted due to the lack of information about GLBT’s finances and operations.

“[Great Lakes’] current assets of $151 are so clearly deficient for purposes of constructing a 261-mile rail line that the Board will not proceed with this application given the impacts on stakeholders and the demands upon Board resources,” the STB said in its decision.

The Board’s action halts the environmental review process of the project as well as disallows GLBT from purchasing property and starting construction.

News reports indicated that the dismissal was without prejudice, meaning GLBT could seek STB approval later for the same or a similar project.

GLBT Founder Owns Most of the Company

June 14, 2017

It turns out that the founder of a company seeking to build a railroad bypass around Chicago owns most of the company.

A recent filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board disclosed that Frank Patton, the founder and chairman of Great Lakes Basin Transportation, owns 87.2 percent of the company.

Shareholder Jim Wilson owns 5 percent of the company with 22 other shareholders having smaller ownership shares.

GLBT had sought to shield its ownership structure from public view, but the STB rejected that earlier this year and ordered it to show who owns the company.

The proposed rail bypass would extend from northwest Indiana to southern Wisconsin.

The STB is not expected to approve or reject GLBT’s application for authority to build the line until later this year.

NKP 765 Trip Tickets Nearly Sold Out

June 2, 2017

Tickets for the June 17 and 18 excursions in Chicago behind Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 are almost sold out.

The restored Berkshire steam engine will pull trips from Joliet, Illinois, to Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station over tracks owned by Metra and once used by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the locomotive, said that half of the trips are sold out.

These include both Saturday trips. Earlier this week there were about 100 tickets left for the Sunday trips.

Hickory Creek to run on NKP 765 Excursions

April 29, 2017

Former New York Central observation car Hickory Creek will be part of the consist of the Joliet Rocket, the excursion train to be pulled by Nickel Plate Road No. 765  on June 17 and 18 between Joliet and Chicago.

Tickets to ride in the Hickory Creek are limited and are priced at $219.

The Hickory Creek once operated on the Chicago-New York 20th Century Limited.

The car is being made available through a special charter by Headwaters Junction, Inc.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society said some tickets remain in economy coach, deluxe coach and first class on select dates and times for the excursions.