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Metra commuter service

By Richard Elgenson, RailNews Network

Chicago Union Station is host to Amtrak as well as Metra commuter trains.  Like many other commuter operations in the country, Metra brings commuters in from distant areas north, east, and south of Chicago.  The equipment was similar and different from what I see daily in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.  The F-40 locomotive is similar to ones  the NCTD Coaster (North County Transit District) in San Diego uses as well as Metrolink.  Metrolink has about four F-40's, only one of which is operable.  The three stored inoperable ones will be remanufactured using SD-60 components later in 2004 or 2005.  I was impressed with the crowds that exited the Metra trains as well as the beauty of the double deck stainless commuter cars.  The operation utilizes the push pull method with a cab car on one end and the locomotive on the other end.


One piece of equipment that I have never seen in person is the MP-36 locomotive built by Motive Power, a Wabtec company.  They are only recently found in California's San Francisco Penninsula area serving CalTrain's "Baby Bullet" between San Jose and the City of San Francisco.


I watched some switching and departures and then returned to the Amtrak area by walking around the platform closest to the Chicago River where the Capitol Limited was discharging passengers.  This was good because it meant that David Gunn, President of Amtrak, was in the building.

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