Posts Tagged ‘Metra’

Oberman Nominated for STB Seat

July 7, 2018

Martin Oberman has been nominated to serve as a Democratic member of the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

The White House announced the nomination on Thursday on its website.

Oberman is a former chairman of Chicago commuter railroad Metra.

Subject to being confirmed by the Senate, Oberman will fill the remainder of a five-year term expiring Dec. 31, 2023.

That seat was voluntarily vacated in 2017 by former Chairman Dan Elliott.

Oberman was among at least eight Democrats who were being considered for the last vacancy on the five-member regulatory board

He received strong support from the Rail Customer Coalition, an association of trade groups representing major freight rail users.

The 73-year-old Oberman is an attorney who served on the Chicago City Council before being named by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in September 2013 to a seat on the Metra board of directors.

Oberman was elected chairman in 2014, serving until last October.

He also serves on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and is a past general counsel to the Illinois Racing Board.

Oberman graduated from Yale University and earned his law degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Two Republicans, Patrick Fuchs and Michelle Schultz, are awaiting Senate confirmation for STB seats but have been approved by a Senator committee.

The STB currently has two members Republican Ann Begeman, who serves as STB chair, and Democrat Deb Miller.


Joliet Rocket Tickets Go on Sale May 9

May 4, 2018

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society will begin selling tickets on May 9 for a September excursion behind Nickel Plate Road No. 765 in Chicago.

Tickets sales had been delayed due to uncertainty surrounding excursions after Amtrak changed its policies regarding the carriage of private railroad cars.

The Joliet Rocket, like most steam excursions, depends on private cars to make up its consist.

“The passenger consist changed a little bit, but not dramatically,” said FtWRHS officer Kelly Lynch. “We are lucky that our trips are being held in a city with an Amtrak terminal. There are cars in the region that we are sourcing. We are fortunate Metra is our partner and is helping us work with Amtrak.”

The trips will operate on Sept. 15 and 16 from Joliet, Illinois, to Chicago and return. Tickets can be purchased at

Last year’s excursions on the route sold out. The trips offer the opportunity for a steam excursion to travel at a top speed of 70 mph.

There will also be an extended layover at Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station and an open air car placed directly behind the tool car.

The Berkshire-type locomotive is expected to travel to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad following the Chicago excursions and pull trips over two weekends in late September.

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.

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.

NKP 765 To Pull Chicago Trips in June

March 16, 2017

Two excursions have been announced for this summer involving Nickel Plate Road No. 765.

The 2-8-4 Berkshire type steam engine will pulls trips between Joliet, Illinois, and Chicago LaSalle Street Station over tracks used by commuter carrier Metra.

The trips are planned for June 17 and 18 and are sponsored by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and Metra.

Dubbed the Joliet Rocket, the trips will begin at the Joliet Transportation Center and take passengers to an event in Chicago featuring live music, entertainment, history re-enactors, vintage cocktails, appetizers and awards for best dressed attendees.

There will be a photo runby during the trip.

Tickets prices are upper dome seat ($249), first class ($189), deluxe coach ($139), economy coach ($109) and member coach ($99).

Tickets go on sale on March 28. Railfan event passes ($75) will permit photographers to join the event at LaSalle Street station.

CUS Gets Emerging Projects Agreement

January 14, 2017

The City of Chicago is joining with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Amtrak, Metra and the Regional Transportation Authority to create an emerging projects agreement that they hope will be able to land $1 billion in federal funding to modernize Chicago Union Station.

Chicago Union StationBy creating the EmPA, the DOT will be able to provide technical assistance for obtaining federal credit through the Build America Bureau’s innovative programs.

The redevelopment of Union Station is a public-private partnership that is seeking to rehabilitate the depot for passengers as well as foster commercial developments surrounding the station.

Feds Give $7M to Chicago Union Station Project

April 22, 2015

The efforts to improve rail service at Chicago Union Station got a boost last week in the form of $7 million in federal funds that will be used to conduct a terminal planning study and create a service development plan to increase capacity at the 90-year-old station.

The funding will supplement $12 million pledged by Amtrak earlier this year toward renovating the terminal.

Chicago Union Station is the third-busiest rail terminal in the nation, serving more than 300 trains each weekday.

The station, which is owned by Amtrak, operates at or near capacity during peak periods.

In 2014, 32.5 million Metra passengers arrived or departed on trains at Union Station. Nearly 2.3 million passenger trips on Amtrak were made between Union Station and various Midwest destinations.

Englewood Flyer to be Dedicated

October 20, 2014


Completion of the Englewood Flyover in Chicago will be celebrated with an Oct. 23 ceremony.

The $133 million project included construction of a triple-track bridge to carry three of Metra’s Rock Island District Line tracks over four Norfolk Southern Chicago Line tracks on Chicago’s south side. The flyover opened earlier this month.

The NS line in question hosts Amtrak’s Capitol Limited, Lake Shore Limited, Blue Water, Pere Marquette, and Wolverine Service.

The dedication ceremony will include officials from Norfolk Southern, Metra and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.



My Last Train at Joliet Union Station

October 5, 2014
Metra Rock Island District train passes the tower as it pulls into Joliet station. That signal will be replaced.

Metra Rock Island District train passes the tower as it pulls into Joliet station. That signal will be replaced.

At the tail end of a week out west I stopped in Joliet, Ill., for the last light of the day on a Sunday evening.

The new station cutover was imminent, so I stopped for one last Rock Island Line Metra train before heading on east for the night.

Some Internet reports had stated that this particular day was to be the last for the original Joliet station, but construction delays postponed it another week.

Regardless, it would be my last opportunity to photograph a Metra train on the ex-Rock Island tracks at the old station.

Those passenger trains will no longer cross the diamonds and stop at the old station. The new station was constructed so the Metra trains would stop short of the diamonds with the busy freight railroads.

Amtrak will also vacate Joliet Union Station and do its station work on the ball field side of the tracks. The old station will not be torn down, but its days as a passenger station are over.

Even though it had been overcast most of the afternoon, the sun made a late day appearance for my “last train.”

Article and Photographs by Roger Durfee

Pulling up to do its passenger work.

Pulling up to do its passenger work.

Another platform view.

Another platform view.

View of the station platform area.

View of the station platform area.

Stainless steel and station lights.

Stainless steel and station lights.

CVSR trains are not the only ones that cater to bikers.

Real life on the left, modern art reflections on the right. CVSR trains are not the only ones that cater to bikers.

Joliet station canopy reflected in the windows of a Metra coach.

Joliet station canopy reflected in the windows of a Metra coach.

These stairs no longer lead "to trains."

These stairs no longer lead “to trains.”

The conductor observes his train as departure time draws near.

The conductor observes his train as departure time draws near.