ORDTLV2414
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Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:18 am

As many of you know ORD was one of the first airports built purposely away from a city center. The debate about the best way to get from ORD to downtown Chicago and other parts of the Chicagoland area is one many hailing from ORD understand well. Currently one can drive, which with no traffic may take 1/2 an hour and at the height of rush hour could take 115 mins. The CTA blue line connects ORD with Chicago but this is a slow and ardeous journey. Right now about 4 or 5 Metra trains run between Chicago Union Station and O'hare Transfer station, 5 days a week. Very few Chicagoians know about it. Heres some questions:
-Why do so few people know about Metra's ORD service?
-Why is Metra's ORD service so infrequent and inconvenient?
-Could a direct rail connection between ORD and Downtown be a feasible opportunity?
 
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ua900
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:43 am

Can't speak to frequency, political incompetence on the ground perhaps.

As far as why it's little known, just a guess but the airport website doesn't list it as an option: http://www.flychicago.com/m/ohare/en...tofrom/transportation/default.aspx

What's more, I wouldn't like to wait outside a Metra station for a connecting bus in winter, even if it's free. Fewer connections and direct terminal access without the need to venture outside make the Blue Line a winner. As it stands, there's already a direct rail connection between the airport and downtown in the form of the blue line, however slow and messed up that can get.

Still ends up beating the Kennedy many days. And it's Chicago, very few things there are fast and pain free. If they ever built a Maglev, it would probably be a political showcase project like Shanghai where it costs ten times as much as the red line subway and then after 15 mins end intersects with the red line (their blue line   )
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seat55a
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:55 am

Being a naive out-of-towner I don't find the CTA arduous. A reliable 40 minutes from Clark & Lake with very frequent service. Picadilly to LHR takes longer. Chatelet to CDG about the same. JFK to Penn supposedly shorter but with a mode change.

As for the Metra, it's no faster than CTA and I have to say airport tram + parking lot bus + train is not an appealing journey and once downtown you'll be back on the CTA anyway to get where you really want to go. Extending the tram to the train would be a start but why bother? CTA FTW.
 
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thekorean
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:56 am

Quoting seat55a (Reply 2):

It runs 24/7 too. Honestly, it could be worse than CTA.
 
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jsnww81
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:50 am

One of the reasons I was really hoping Chicago would get the 2016 Olympics was for the express train they promised to build to the Loop.

The CTA Blue Line is nice to have - and as many have said, it beats the Kennedy much of the time - but it's more than a dozen stops to get downtown and there are no facilities on the trains for luggage. During my 15 years living in Chicago, I only took the Blue Line if Google Maps was showing heavy traffic on the expressway.

London quickly realized the Piccadilly Line link to LHR wasn't going to cut it, and started planning for the Heathrow Express. A purpose-built rail link from ORD to the Loop - or even more frequent Metra service of some kind - would do well. It frustrates me that there isn't a single city in the US with a dedicated rail link like the ones in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Rome, Delhi or Moscow. I know we don't like to spend money on rail infrastructure (or much of anything these days), but cobbled-together solutions like the ones in Chicago and New York don't really fit the bill.
 
DiscoverCSG
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:11 pm

People keep saying that the Heathrow Express is better than the Piccadilly Line. Yes, it's a more pleasant ride, but it only goes to Paddington Station, which is not the final destination of most people arriving in London. Transfers are still necessary (whether to the Tube or a bus or a cab).

The same would be true with even the best direct rail link from ORD to the Loop, which is why I'm content with the Blue Line for my occasional ORD ground transportation needs.
 
jcwr56
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 12:36 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 4):
One of the reasons I was really hoping Chicago would get the 2016 Olympics was for the express train they promised to build to the Loop.

ORD would have direct rail link service to the downtown area if the western terminal would ever be built. Now would that be better than the Blue line? not sure, but just because something is needed doesn't mean it will be used by the masses.

With the Balmoral ave exit reconfigured now, a shuttle bus going to the Rosemont stop would probably be easier as it's less used than that ORD Transfer station and a lot less used by vehicle traffic. You could literally be dropped off/picked up right at the stop.

Granted neither have an agent on duty, but that's something Chicago/Rosemont/Metra could work out.

http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/m...ystem_map/ncs/station.ROSEMONT.htm
 
Rdh3e
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:40 pm

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Thread starter):
The CTA blue line connects ORD with Chicago but this is a slow and ardeous journey.

Actually it's faster than driving most of the time. They've recently refurbished the tracks to reduce the number of slow zones so the train runs at 60mph for much of the time. I would never drive Loop-ORD always take the train. Easy, convenient and fast.
 
victrola
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:12 pm

I just wish they could extend the Brown Line to connect with the Blue Line. This could really increase ridership to ORD.
 
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hOMSaR
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:25 pm

Metra's service is not geared to the ORD traveler. The ORD stop is really more incidental than anything else. The Metra route is a commuter route that caters to passengers who live in the northwest suburbs and work downtown. It also is a railroad with limited capacity and is heavily used by freight trains, so there's not much room for more service on the route. Plus, that specific route is sandwiched between a few other Metra routes that offer much more frequent, seven-day service, limiting the need to expand the Metra North-Central Service route past O'Hare.
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United787
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:26 pm

That Chicago has direct train service to both of it's airport (ORD and MDW) is more than most US cities can claim, especially when compared to NYC.

But Chicago could use a high speed train which will likely happen on the Metra tracks to Union Station. The right-of-way is already there. They just need to figure out how to get the train to come all the way to the terminal complex. Maybe it could hook up with the blue line where they cross (at Mannheim) for the last mile and a half and use the same station.

I think a project with the greater immediate impact is to extend the Brown Line west to Jefferson Park and hook up with the Blue Line to ORD. Even if you would have to transfer at Jefferson Park to the Blue Line, it would be great. There is an enormous wealthy traveling population from River North/Old Town/Lincoln Park/Lakeview/Lincoln Square that would use that line. To get to ORD now, they currently have to travel west on a limited amount of heavily congested roads via Bus to the Blue Line or car to the congested Kennedy.
 
jayunited
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:32 pm

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Thread starter):
Why do so few people know about Metra's ORD service?
-Why is Metra's ORD service so infrequent and inconvenient?
-Could a direct rail connection between ORD and Downtown be a feasible opportunity?

CTA is the best option and most convenient public transportation option for people traveling between ORD and downtown. As far as Metra goes they share the tracks with freight trains and there are a lot of freight trains running on that track. Secondly when you look at Metra's schedule Metra is all about moving passengers from the suburbs to the city during rush hour. Metra is not CTA so after rush hour is over on many lines there is only one train an hour or every 2 hours and in some cases trains only run during the rush hour periods to accommodate the 9-5er's. Freight trains may yield the tracks to Metra during rush hour periods but once rush hour is over Metra yields the tracks to the freight trains. There have been plenty of times that I've been stuck on a Metra train sitting for 30-45 minutes due to a freight train being on the same track or a crossing track. CTA runs trains every 3-5 minutes to ORD Metra probably could run a train every hour but all it takes is one freight train to get in the way during the non-rush period and there is no telling how long you could be stuck behind that train especially seeing there is a rail yard before the O'Hare stop.
 
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kngkyle
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:02 pm

http://www.transitchicago.com/yournewblue/

They are working on a $500 million project to reduce slow zones and improve signaling that would shave 10 minutes off O'Hare to Downtown trip, bringing it down to 35-40 minutes. I think that is quick enough to not warrant a hugely expensive dedicated HSR line or double tracking of the blue line.
 
EWRandMDW
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:46 pm

Quoting United787 (Reply 10):
But Chicago could use a high speed train which will likely happen on the Metra tracks to Union Station. The right-of-way is already there. They just need to figure out how to get the train to come all the way to the terminal complex. Maybe it could hook up with the blue line where they cross (at Mannheim) for the last mile and a half and use the same station.

The problem is that CTA cars are narrower than commuter cars and the platforms at ORD station would need extensive modification to permit both sizes of cars to use them. CTA operates using 3rd rail while Metra exclusively uses diesel power north of downtown. I don't think anyone wants to breathe in diesel exhaust in the enclosed O'Hare CTA station. Then there is CTA running at close headways during rush periods and trying to fit in "foreign" trains into an already tight schedule is asking for problems. Finally, there are those pesky freight trains and yards between the airport and downtown.
 
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thekorean
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:49 pm

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 5):

If you have a lot of baggages no rail transportation is good option anyway.
 
CcrlR
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:49 pm

Quoting kngkyle (Reply 12):
They are working on a $500 million project to reduce slow zones and improve signaling that would shave 10 minutes off O'Hare to Downtown trip, bringing it down to 35-40 minutes. I think that is quick enough to not warrant a hugely expensive dedicated HSR line or double tracking of the blue line.

I think a dedicated HSR would work. Sometimes you may not be able to find any room if the trains are crowded as well as any delays on the ride to Downtown. YYZ and their link is being considered for ORD for a train to Union Station. The area next to the ORD Metra station is going to be a new rental car facility and the airport express train will be expanded to reach once it is done. There is an option for a bigger station for O'Hare Direct(what the planned train will be called) if it is ever built. The only problem we face with anything like this is freight traffic. We have some of the biggest bottlenecks for passenger and freight rail traffic in the country and we are trying to alleviate that with one project after another.

The info was from http://www.midwesthsr.org/illinois who has a plan for train service to ORD as well as connecting other cities and towns.
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mhkansan
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:07 pm

Chicago Crossrail is a really excellent proposal to link ORD with downtown and beyond to other cities. I think its a corridor worth studying for high speed rail:

http://www.midwesthsr.org/crossrail-chicago
 
EWRandMDW
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:16 pm

Quoting mhkansan (Reply 16):
Chicago Crossrail is a really excellent proposal to link ORD with downtown and beyond to other cities. I think its a corridor worth studying for high speed rail:

http://www.midwesthsr.org/crossrail-chicago

Looks nice, but where will they put the right of way? Metra already has frequent overhead electrified service from downtown (Millenium Station) to McCormick Place and points south. Will these airport trains connect with that service? There are VERY EXPENSIVE properties that would need to be acquired to lay the tracks north and west of Michigan Ave. and Illinois is basically broke. I don't see it happening in my remaining lifetime (I hope 20 years at least).

Maybe they could get some of the money by selling back land purchased for Peotone Airport?
 
karungguni
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:21 pm

Between the number of stops from the Loop, the swaying cars and no place for luggage, I found it to be a pretty unpleasant journey. Unless traffic is really horrible, I will take a taxi next time.
 
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thekorean
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:44 pm

Quoting karungguni (Reply 18):

To be expected from any metro system really.
 
StrandedAtMKG
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:34 pm

As an American from a small town who only travels to big cities once in a blue moon I've never understood why people get so worked up about public transportation to and from airports. Are there really people on the bus/train with their entire families and a week's worth of luggage on a regular basis? That just sounds so...inconvenient and hellish. How do you get to the station? Schlep all your junk from the terminal to the metro station? And what happens when you're deposited at a train station downtown many blocks from your final destination? If you ask me it sounds like the ninth circle of Hell, and certainly something I'd never, ever do.
 
mhkansan
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Quoting karungguni (Reply 18):

I hope that $50 cab ride is worth it to avoid swaying cars and having to hold on to your luggage...

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):

Its extremely important to connect airports to public transportation - It benefits everybody! Parking at the airport is expensive to build and maintain, uses up lots of valuable land, and is expensive to use as well. Some airports charge upwards of $12 a day even for remote parking. And in many places, it doesn't make sense to rent a car or force arriving passengers to take a cab into the city center. I visit Chicago frequently, but I wouldn't go if it cost me $50 or more just to get from downtown to the airport and back. When I go as a visitor, I want to visit the city center. It doesn't make sense to rent a car or take a cab for that journey.

I've frequently traveled many places globally in the last four years. I've rented a car once (South Africa) and taken a cab once (Kitchener, ON) to the airport. Everywhere else provides good transit links to the airport, and it almost always makes sense to take advantage of those options as a visitor.

My family is also very excited about the new airport rail link in Denver. They'll be able to walk from their suburban home and take trains, with one connection, to the airport. That's pretty neat, and a lot of people are really excited about being able to ditch their cars and expensive airport parking.

Edit: Also, Schlepping your bags to the ORD metro station is really easy. Its a lot closer to the terminals than much of the short term parking and certainly quicker than the train to remote parking. And once you're in downtown Chicago, there are transit connections to just about anywhere... All the hotels and hostels are a stone's throw from CTA. Here's a route to Northerly Island, a favorite visit for a.nutters. Its really not bad. You shouldn't be scared of transit!
http://goo.gl/iSwpt3

[Edited 2015-11-26 10:50:53]
 
rta
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:52 pm

The situation in Chicago really isn't that bad. The service is pretty good frequency and doesn't take too long. The situation isn't any better at JFK/LGA or even LHR (They have the HEX but Paddington is a bit pointless if trying to get to Central London - you might as well just take the Piccadilly).

I did wish they put new carriages on the blue line. They're the old ones and in my experience getting a bit tired and gross.
 
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jetblastdubai
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 6:59 pm

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):
And what happens when you're deposited at a train station downtown many blocks from your final destination? If you ask me it sounds like the ninth circle of Hell, and certainly something I'd never, ever do.

Speaking of the 9th circle: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...-pileup-20150215-photogallery.html

A lot of people headed to the airport with luggage simply take a taxi to the nearest Blue Line station and then ride the train right into the basement of T2 and walk a few minutes to ticketing. The travel time is consistent regardless of time of day or weather.
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stlgph
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:29 pm

The Blue Line is easy, breezy, and convenient. It also doesn't take that long and routes you through nice connections getting you close to many places.
The worst part right now is at O'Hare trying to get a ticket ... the ticketing machine line backs up into ridiculousness sometimes.

Quoting mhkansan (Reply 21):
Its extremely important to connect airports to public transportation - It benefits everybody!

Not if you're a coffer looking for taxes from taxi's.

Quoting mhkansan (Reply 21):

I hope that $50 cab ride is worth it to avoid swaying cars and having to hold on to your luggage...

Says the folks who just sat on a plane going through turbulence holding their drink so it doesn't slide off the tray table.
Good one.

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):

It's easy. Try getting out more.
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ScottB
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:37 am

Quoting mhkansan (Reply 21):
Parking at the airport is expensive to build and maintain, uses up lots of valuable land, and is expensive to use as well. Some airports charge upwards of $12 a day even for remote parking.

Parking at the airport really isn't all that expensive to build or maintain, actually. The reason why it's so expensive to use is that parking fees (along with things like taxi fees and rental car fees) are used to subsidize airport operations. There are only a few U.S. airports where availability of land seriously restricts the number of spaces which could be built (and there are some, like BOS, which have legal caps on the number of spaces which may be built).

There's a balance for most airport authorities given that parking, taxis, shuttles, and rental cars make tons of money for the airport while public transit links typically require subsidies. But public transit is also helpful for reducing road congestion and widening the accessibility of airport jobs to lower-income individuals who might not be able to afford a car.

Quoting ORDTLV2414 (Thread starter):
Why is Metra's ORD service so infrequent and inconvenient?

Metra is a commuter rail service, not an urban mass transit service like the El. It is intended primarily to bring commuters into/out of Chicago at rush hour periods.

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):
I've never understood why people get so worked up about public transportation to and from airports. Are there really people on the bus/train with their entire families and a week's worth of luggage on a regular basis? That just sounds so...inconvenient and hellish. How do you get to the station? Schlep all your junk from the terminal to the metro station? And what happens when you're deposited at a train station downtown many blocks from your final destination?

Reasonably well-designed public transit links to an airport can be very convenient and are typically quite affordable. The Tube in London can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go as a visitor and the stations at LHR are easy to get to.
 
Brewfangrb
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:23 am

Quoting ScottB (Reply 25):
Reasonably well-designed public transit links to an airport can be very convenient and are typically quite affordable. The Tube in London can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go as a visitor and the stations at LHR are easy to get to.

Yes, this! I rarely travel internationally, but when I was in London about 2 years ago, my sister and I took the Tube everywhere. It's fast and convenient. Swipe, get on, go. When we left, we took the HEX and it couldn't have been simpler--or cheaper. Hanging on to my bag was simply not that big a deal. I dread to think what it would have cost to take a cab.

From the descriptions people have given, trying to figure out the way from JFK to Manhattan sounds like a 9th circle of hell to me. While I understand it is what it is now--it's sort preposterous in my mind that one line dedicated directly from JFK to midtown or downtown was never created to begin with. I think it's completely fair for people to expect a good public transportation option from the airport to the city center in any major city.
 
r2rho
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:42 pm

For US standards, Chicago is exceptionally well connected to its airports. Nevertheless, given the size of the airport and the urban area, ORD could easily support a Metra line in parallel to the Blue Line.

The current Metra line is so close, yet so far... in its current form it cannot serve the airport in any way. Extending the people mover to O'Hare Transfer would be a quick & easy solution, but would fail because if you have to take a train to take a train, you might as well just jump on the Blue line and avoid the hassle. So an in-terminal station is the only way to go. Building a branch just before Rosemont will involve some tunneling but should not be overly complicated, though I'm sure they would find a way to make it a multi-billion project. Extending the brown line to meet the blue line is another good idea. All of these would be complementary to each other.
 
chicawgo
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:15 pm

The ride between Clark/lake and ohare is now 35 minutes after they completed slow zone fixes. I don't see much complaining about.
 
IAHWorldflyer
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 10:50 pm

To the Chicagoans on this thread, has the CTA ever considered making some Blue line trains express to Clark and Lake? Not eliminate all stops, but I think some trains could breeze through some of those stations that are in the middle of the Kennedy Freeway without stopping and shave another 7-10 minutes off the ride to the Loop. If you had 3 trains an hour only stop at 3 stations on the way in, it would make the experience nicer for those riding to and from ORD.
 
Mir
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:41 pm

It would be easy to extend the airport tram to the Metra station, but by the time you did that, you'd probably not save a lot of time over the CTA. If they upgraded the tracks and allowed for a higher speed train into the city, then Metra might be a good alternative, but otherwise there's not much point.

Quoting chicawgo (Reply 28):
The ride between Clark/lake and ohare is now 35 minutes after they completed slow zone fixes. I don't see much complaining about.

The only real issue is that the trains are small and it can be a pain if you have luggage. That would be a big advantage of Metra - you could have purpose-built trains with luggage racks and the like. But that's not enough justification for the cost IMO.

-Mir
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ScottB
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:20 am

Quoting IAHWorldflyer (Reply 29):
To the Chicagoans on this thread, has the CTA ever considered making some Blue line trains express to Clark and Lake? Not eliminate all stops, but I think some trains could breeze through some of those stations that are in the middle of the Kennedy Freeway without stopping and shave another 7-10 minutes off the ride to the Loop. If you had 3 trains an hour only stop at 3 stations on the way in, it would make the experience nicer for those riding to and from ORD.

That sounds good in theory, but I think in practice most people would take the next departing local train if the alternative were to wait 10 or 15 minutes for the express since there would be little or no time savings. Plus, unless there are additional tracks available on the line, it's not really possible for the express train to pass the slower local train in front of it anyway.
 
Mir
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 12:45 am

Quoting ScottB (Reply 31):
Plus, unless there are additional tracks available on the line, it's not really possible for the express train to pass the slower local train in front of it anyway.

It doesn't have to. Paris does it with the RER - an express train leaves, followed shortly by a local train. The express has no local train in front of it, so it can run nonstop into the city. Once the local train has made it a certain distance down the line, another express train leaves, and it can run nonstop for a ways until it runs up against the local. It works out very well.

You wouldn't be able to get all the way into the Loop like that, but you might be able to get halfway without the express having to stop. The only problem is that you'd be reducing service at all the stops the express skips.

-Mir
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jsnww81
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 1:03 am

Quoting IAHWorldflyer (Reply 29):

To the Chicagoans on this thread, has the CTA ever considered making some Blue line trains express to Clark and Lake? Not eliminate all stops, but I think some trains could breeze through some of those stations that are in the middle of the Kennedy Freeway without stopping and shave another 7-10 minutes off the ride to the Loop. If you had 3 trains an hour only stop at 3 stations on the way in, it would make the experience nicer for those riding to and from ORD.

I've seen some occasional chatter over they years about building "bypass tracks" at a few stations to allow some trains to operate express services during busier times. That would be a cheaper alternative to building a dedicated express line.

Up until the late 1990s, the CTA had an "A/B" system where some trains skipped stops depending on whether they were A, B or AB stations, but that model was eliminated. Busy stations like O'Hare, Cumberland, Rosemont etc. were generally AB stops, while more lightly-used stations were A or B.

Quoting Mir (Reply 30):
The only real issue is that the trains are small and it can be a pain if you have luggage.

Once the slow zones were removed a few years ago, this became my biggest gripe with the Blue Line. During busy times when space on the train was at a premium, you had suitcases taking up valuable room. I always felt bad occupying what was effectively two spaces, even if I was standing. During most of the day it isn't a problem, but during rush hours when commuters and travelers are mixing, it can get pretty gummed up.
 
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kordcj
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:02 am

Didn't the blue line (then Congress) used to have luggage racks and the CTA removed them because no one ever used them? I remember going to school in the mornings and seeing those racks completely empty, taking up precious rush hour space.
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micstatic
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:24 am

Is it me, or is everybody obsessed about ord when thinking of Chicago? The midway train ride just seems a ton easier as somebody who had done both. Thoughts?
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hOMSaR
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:10 am

Express trains on the Blue Line won't work. During rush hour, the trains are 3 minutes apart and so you'd just catch up to the train in front of you. Plus, it creates capacity problems on the other trains that now have to pick up the load of passengers skipped by the express train. During off-peak, trains are 7-10 minutes apart, but that means a 15-20 minute wait for passengers at stations being bypassed. Not an acceptable situation for the local passengers that still, by far make up the majority of riders (not airport passengers).

"Passing sidings" simply don't work and cause more delays and operational headaches for everybody. The only way to really run an express train to downtown given the frequency of service on the Blue Line is to have completely dedicated express tracks all the way down.
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thekorean
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:24 am

Quoting micstatic (Reply 35):

ORD is Chicago's international airport, thus its main airport. Midway is great for domestic.
 
ac888yow
Posts: 411
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:29 pm

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:28 am

Been to Chicago thrice and took the blue line from ORD into the city every time. I found it to be a good service, so I can't relate to any issue being identified here.

I'd put it right up there with DCA's transit connections.
 
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thekorean
Posts: 1770
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:05 pm

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:30 am

Quoting ac888yow (Reply 38):

People are not giving enough credit for being 24/7 too.


VERY few cities have 24/7 rail service to the city.
 
Yflyer
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 4:05 am

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:32 am

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):
Are there really people on the bus/train with their entire families and a week's worth of luggage on a regular basis? That just sounds so...inconvenient and hellish.

It's really not that bad. I've done just that several times (Not in Chicago, specifically, but in places like New York, San Francisco, and Sydney). Honestly attempting to drive and find parking downtown in a major city is what I would consider hellish.

Quoting StrandedAtMKG (Reply 20):
And what happens when you're deposited at a train station downtown many blocks from your final destination?

A good public transit wouldn't deposit you "many" blocks from your destination (I'm not sure what you consider "many"). You just connect to whatever train or bus gets you closest to where you're going, then walk a few blocks at most pulling your rolling suitcase behind you. As I said before it's really not that bad. Worst case, you take a taxi the final distance to your destination, which would be a lot cheaper than taking one all the way from the airport.

[Edited 2015-11-27 19:36:14]
 
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thekorean
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:34 am

Quoting Yflyer (Reply 40):

Even if it was to be the case. Subway takes you closer to final stop so even if you take a cab after that its not gonna cost you $40 plus.
 
Yflyer
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:39 am

Quoting thekorean (Reply 41):
Even if it was to be the case. Subway takes you closer to final stop so even if you take a cab after that its not gonna cost you $40 plus.

Yes, that's exactly what I was trying to say. Sorry if I was unclear.
 
YXwatcherMKE
Posts: 384
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:42 am

I have a Question, How long does it take to get to the Loop from ORD on the blue line? Personally I think you are lucky to have the blue line to get you to any where in Chicago. Here at MKE there is no rail service to the Milwaukee Downtown area. There are 7 daily Amtrak trains to Both Union stations Milwaukee and Chicago. But they don't have a fare or will they let you board (or they did not 3 yrs. ago, I known I tried) the north bound train to downtown Milwaukee. And you can got from MKE to Union Station in Chicago in 79 minutes with two stops.
I miss the 60's & 70's when you felt like a guest on the plane not cattle like today
 
EWRandMDW
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:28 am

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 2:52 pm

Quoting micstatic (Reply 35):
Is it me, or is everybody obsessed about ord when thinking of Chicago? The midway train ride just seems a ton easier as somebody who had done both. Thoughts?

I live nearer to MDW than to ORD and often park at the MDW CTA station and take the L into the city. I find it very convenient and have seen many arriving passengers and airline crew members board the train to take them to their destinations. Right now the Orange Line runs 21/24 hours Mon-Fri and about 20/24 hrs on Sat and Sun. On another blog site I've seen postings saying the Orange Line may be extended to 24 hour operations in the not so distant future.

ORD is the main int'l airport serving the Chicago area, but MDW is no slouch with some int'l service (there are customs/ immigrations facilities there) and more likely to come. About 22-23 million passengers pass through Midway. The 2 airports combined serve some 100,000,000 passengers per year, more than JFK and LGA for pure New York airports (EWR is a New Jersey airport which happens to be near NYC). Both Chicago airports have direct transit service, neither NYC airport does.
 
ScottB
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RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 4:30 pm

Quoting HoMSaR (Reply 36):
"Passing sidings" simply don't work and cause more delays and operational headaches for everybody. The only way to really run an express train to downtown given the frequency of service on the Blue Line is to have completely dedicated express tracks all the way down.

   Unless the trains always run perfectly on-time, you end up holding the local train at a station for the express to pass or the express ends up stuck behind the local waiting for a passing siding.

Quoting Mir (Reply 32):
Paris does it with the RER - an express train leaves, followed shortly by a local train. The express has no local train in front of it, so it can run nonstop into the city. Once the local train has made it a certain distance down the line, another express train leaves, and it can run nonstop for a ways until it runs up against the local. It works out very well.

But it wouldn't work very well at all at peak hours when the service frequency is every three to five minutes. And as others have pointed out, at off-peak hours the stations without express service would have very long wait times for trains.
 
DiscoverCSG
Posts: 597
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:22 am

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sat Nov 28, 2015 8:15 pm

Quoting ac888yow (Reply 38):
I'd put it right up there with DCA's transit connections.

The Metro is decent from the city (and a few of the suburbs) to DCA and vice-versa, as long as you don't try to use it for a flight leaving before 6:45 a.m. (8:45 a.m.) on Saturday and Sunday, or arriving after 10:45 p.m. on weekdays. Or when there's track work going on, which is most nights and weekends. Luggage is difficult at rush hours and before/after major events like ball games, demonstrations, etc., and the escalators are notoriously out of service quite often.

The CTA Blue Line compares favorably in that it runs 24/7, and probably in some of the other ways.
 
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knope2001
Posts: 2937
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 5:54 am

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sun Nov 29, 2015 1:38 am

Quoting brewfangrb (Reply 26):
From the descriptions people have given, trying to figure out the way from JFK to Manhattan sounds like a 9th circle of hell to me. While I understand it is what it is now--it's sort preposterous in my mind that one line dedicated directly from JFK to midtown or downtown was never created to begin with. I think it's completely fair for people to expect a good public transportation option from the airport to the city center in any major city.

The trip from JFK into the city on MTA isn't so awful. Though technically the subway isn't on-airport, the AirTran you take within the airport to get to various terminals, parking, rentals, etc. takes you to the subway or (even faster) to the Long Island Railroad stop. It you've every done BART to SFO it's very similar. Could it be faster and easier? Of course. But it's not bad.

Quoting YXwatcherMKE (Reply 43):
I have a Question, How long does it take to get to the Loop from ORD on the blue line? Personally I think you are lucky to have the blue line to get you to any where in Chicago.

It's around 40 minutes depending on where in the loop you get on.

Quoting YXwatcherMKE (Reply 43):
There are 7 daily Amtrak trains to Both Union stations Milwaukee and Chicago. But they don't have a fare or will they let you board (or they did not 3 yrs. ago, I known I tried) the north bound train to downtown Milwaukee.

They actually do -- it's $7.50 each way and I've done it twice (once each way) -- quite a bit cheaper than a taxi. You can get the tickets online or at the ticket machine. With trains about every two hours it's not exactly convenient but not completely unworkable in some instances. I do think the huge majority of boardings at the MKE Airport station are to/from Chicago or Glenview, not downtown Milwaukee.
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
Posts: 7321
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 11:45 am

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sun Nov 29, 2015 2:17 am

Overall, Chicago with Blue line ORD and Orange line MDW service is far better than most US cities with connectivity via mass transit to the city center.

Yes, of course a Blue line Express service would be nice but in reality it would save such minimal amount of time, the massive investment and scare funding doesn't make sense in this era to spend if it were even feasible to do so. You either spend your time waiting on the platform for an express train versus the current set-up of all the stops on the local train.

The reality is that most of the passengers on the Blue line are actually going to O'Hare. Leaving the loop, 95% of passengers get off at some other stop other than O'Hare.

On the topic of baggage, if you are a family of 4 with a massive amount of baggage, and have to hike it to your hotel, you probably should just spend the money on a taxi from the airport. You aren't the target demographic of the Blue line service and you should just save yourself the hassle. If you spent thousands of dollars on airfare I think you could afford a taxi to make your life easier.
 
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thekorean
Posts: 1770
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2011 9:05 pm

RE: Connecting ORD With Downtown Faster

Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:07 am

Quoting DiscoverCSG (Reply 46):

Plenty of elevators. When I was in Chicago and used CTA, most stations had it.

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