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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Discussions on converting Metra Electric to a rapid transit line


Found this article via Sloopin that was published on June 24. There is official interest in turning the Metra Electric Line into a rapid transit service with more frequent trains.
A proposal to convert the Metra Electric District Line into a rapid-transit line with more frequent stops to serve the South Side and suburbs has drawn the interest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has asked the head of the Regional Transportation Authority to facilitate discussion on the issue, RTA officials said.

During the transit agency's monthly board meeting Thursday, Chairman Kirk Dillard told a representative of a coalition of South Side and south suburban groups that Emanuel had reached out to him about the rapid-transit idea last month, and that talks had begun.

Dillard said he spoke with Metra Chairman Martin Oberman about the proposal Wednesday.

"The RTA is working with the CTA and Metra," Dillard said after the meeting. "We need to get a handle obviously on the finances, as well as ridership numbers historically in that area. We're in the preliminary fact-finding stages."
We've been hearing about grassroots proposals to turn the Metric Electric (aka IC line) into a rapid transit service as opposed to a commuter rail service. It even has two different color designations such as the Gray or Gold Line.

Question to ask here is how this could benefit the many communities on the far south side if there was more frequent service on the Metra Electric line if CTA institutes more frequent service? This could very much benefit the neighborhoods of Pullman, Roseland, West Pullman, South Shore, South Chicago and perhaps even the near suburbs of Riverdale. And hopefully wouldn't take as much time to institute as finally building the CTA Red Line extension from 95th to 130th Streets.

BTW, part of me wishes that instead of using those double decker Metra coaches prevalent on all Metra lines if only it was possible to turn this into a typical third rail service instead of overhead traction. Perhaps find a way to connect this to the L system at some point. Perhaps more express service for Metra Electric & South Shore riders coming from the south suburbs and Indiana

Better yet if only such service could exist along the Metra Electric's South Shore and South Chicago branch and it could be converted to a third rail service. I realize these are all questions of later study and probably won't be instituted immediately. Even the Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift had been in service years before it was converted to a third rail traction line.

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