Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, February 3

  • Metra Puts Out an RFP for the Design & Production of 367 New Rail Cars (Tribune)
  • LAZ Executive Charged With Steering Parking Contract to a Company for Kickbacks (Sun-Times)
  • Motorist Fatally Strikes 69-Year-Old Woman at Diversey and Broadway (Tribune)
  • Would-Be Robbers Follow Woman Onto Green Line Train, Punch Her in the Face (DNA)
  • Driver Who Struck Cyclists on the North Shore Blames Crash on “Ghost Car” (Keating)
  • After Input From Community, Developer Shortens Proposed S. Loop Tower, Reduces Parking (DNA)
  • Northbound LaSalle Closed Between Randolph & Lake for Water Line Repairs (DNA)
  • The Colorful Story of How Chicago’s Broadway Roadway Got Its Name (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Metra. Is. Buying. New. Rail. Cars.
    This is the time to get them to buy a rider-friendly design. One that has roomier vestibules and corridors, an easier way for people using wheelchairs or with bicycles to get on and off the train, and…this is pretty revolutionary…more doors!

  • Didn’t they just rehab a bunch of old ones?

  • The article says that the last new train car received was 2006. The “rehab” that happened last year and this year is only about changing out the seats, I think.

    The Metra Electric received new cars more recently than 2006.

  • Chicagoan

    More room for those who have to stand would be great. UP-N can really packed in the mornin’, especially once it enters city limits. A lot of people jump on at Ravenswood and Rogers Park. If they build the Peterson-Ridge station, it’ll be even worse I think.

  • Anne A

    I’ve seen some seat replacement and repairs, as well as addition of electrical outlets.

  • I thought I remembered reading in On the Bi-Level that the old cars with the narrow windows were stripped down almost to the chassis and made nearly good as new. In addition, electrical outlets were installed for the charging of devices, which many riders appreciated. The worker interviewed seemed quite proud of the job.

    The ME is still in the process of replacing the whole fleet for good (so I hear), but I can’t even remember the last time I rode on a vintage car. It was probably last year.

  • The only discussion around building a “River West” station is a suggestion from the developer R2 Companies, which is redeveloping a lot of property on Goose Island and would like it to have better transit access for the 6,000 new workers they’re planning on hosting there.

  • High_n_Dry

    And a bar car! (Or a snack car) For the busiest lines.

  • More stations means a slower ride for the sub-urban-ites. Wait, that’s what the middle track is for, express trains. What a novel idea.

  • Chicagoan

    Ah, okay. I’m kind of a novice at this whole public policy thing. Does R2 Companies have the capability to help fund a station there, or do they just lobby local officials on the benefits?

  • Chicagoan

    I think different trains stop at different places. So, one train would stop at Ravenswood and not Rogers Park, but the following train would stop at Rogers Park and not Ravenswood. Appeasing the suburbanites is part of the deal, I guess.

  • Chicagoan

    I enjoy reading On The Bi-Level as well, a lot of great information in each addition. Slightly skewed, but of course, it’s Metra!

    Also, I rode the BNSF to Aurora somewhat recently and I got on a vintage car, the type with the small windows and light red seats (I’m trying to remember the color scheme, but I feel like it evoked mid-century modern very well). There’s a particular kind of charm to riding on them. It made me feel like I was Don Draper catching a commuter train to Ossining. Very 1960’s feel.

  • Chicagoan

    My word, a bar car would be a smash hit on each line, I feel like.

  • Anne A

    Oh please no! When we had bar cars, there were way too many shitfaced people on the trains. Better if people are limited to what they carry on.

  • planetshwoop

    If you want to feel like Don Draper, take the South Shore anywhere. Those trains are very retro.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    I’m guessing they had a head start.

  • Chicagoan

    Perhaps I’m thinking a little too highly of middle-aged adults living in Lake Forest, Naperville, so on. That’d be great, to have a drink and unwind alongside fellow commuters. I’d think people could show some basic restraint!

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    You can bring your own, and its obviously a lot cheaper.

  • Anne A

    I think you’re way too optimistic. Restraint? It sure didn’t work that way back when we *had* the bar cars.

  • Anne A

    This varies by line and trip.

  • I guess they could donate money to Metra, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. And that would be kind of unprecedented.

    R2 is lobbying the agencies. Where they propose a new Metra station is in the “North Branch South” TIF district, which could be used to pay for a new Metra station.
    http://www.chicagocityscape.com/places.php?place=tif-north-branch-south

  • Metra could run faster service (meaning, a quicker ride) if it used DMUs instead of push-pull trains.

  • Ahh the old A-Train B-Train trick returns.

  • I was thinking more stops, but yeah I’m all for better technology too.

  • ardecila

    Metra stations are actually pretty light on infrastructure. Low platforms, modest warming shelters, and access to a surrounding street. If not for prevailing wage requirements, it might actually be possible for R2 to build a station. This is actually a decent spot for an infill station, too.