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Sox partisan motorman; CTA weekend news

OK, here we go:

We're on the Red Line heading north into Addison, about 30 minutes before the start of the Cubs' first playoff game,  when we stop just north of Roscoe. The motorman announces:

"Attention passengers and Cubs fans. We are standing here waiting for a train at Addison to move. Then we'll pull into Addison and you can watch the Cubs LOSE.

"Go Sox!"

At least the Cubs partisan passengers laughed. And do you think the motorman was psychic?

Chicago "Metro" items for sale at CTA gift shop. A commenter rightly wonders why the new CTA gift shop refers to some items as being from the "CTA Metro," such as this lovely CTA Metro Map T-shirt. You folks might want to fix that.

Blue Line service suspended between Belmont and Irving Park. Slow zone work on the Blue Line this weekend will shutter service between Belmont and Irving Park from 9 pm Friday till 3 am Monday. Work crews will replace rail ties, tie plates and spikes. Shuttle buses will operate between the stations.

Brown Line to operate in two sections. Due to Loop reconstruction work, the Brown Line will operate in two section -- Belmont to the Loop, and Belmont to Kimball. You'll have to transfer between trains at Belmont. (Maybe someone out there can explain to me why the CTA is doing this.)

At least she apologizes. Finally, for those of you might have missed this photo in the Yahoo feed at right, I reproduce it here. Nuff said. (Thanks to theadamant.)

Dearest_cta


Comments

Ha ha! As a Sox fan, I LOVE THIS!

HAHAHA. As a non-baseball fan, I love this as well.

As a Sox fan I wish he hadn't done this. We aren't exactly tearing the cover off the ball right now either. Wait until we win this opening series to talk smack on a CTA intercom.

Oh, and since this guy is so open with the public in expressing his views, would he mind if I took his picture?

As a Cubs fan, I'm outraged and I think the motorman should be reported. I hope someone got a picture of him.

...OK, just kidding. I also think it's funny.

Does anyone know what happened to the Bus Alert section on the CTA customer alerts page? Was it moved or discontinued? That was a helpful page --when it was accurate. It used to be updated every couple of days or weekly. I can't find it. It's been missing since last week.

Kevin, can your inquiring mind find out from your connections?

At least the CTA Gift shop has both teams stops, Addison/Wrigleyville and Sox 35th/Bridgeport in black t-shirts.

Doesn't the brown line sectioning have to do with it turning into an orange line when it hits the loop? Midway to Kimball is too long for one operator or something. Anyway, it was an incredible pain in the ass two weekends ago when we wanted to have dinner on Kedzie.

I'm with you, Dude, we Sox partisans have no right to drink from the Schadenfreud punchbowl until we win a series, or even a game.

While we're talking transit and baseball, apparently Ted Lilly took the 7 train in NYC when the Cubs were playing the Mets last week. From Rick Telender's Sunday Stew column:

>Who was standing on the platform but Ted Lilly, with his dad who was visiting from Los Angeles, waiting for the next train like the remaining stragglers. ''I like taking the train,'' Lilly said. He learned the ropes when he played for the Yankees in 2001-02.

I wonder if Lilly's ever had the pleasure of riding the Red?

"I wonder if Lilly's ever had the pleasure of riding the Red? "

...and he arrives just in time to start the third inning...

KIDDING, kidding, I kid...

Seems like train operator oratories have been increasingly common on the Red Line as of late. Recently got on at the Monroe subway stop NB and the operator welcomed everyone to Chicago and rambled on like he was some sort of tour guide for foreigners. Most notably he informed us several times that we were decelerating due to slow zones.

You may kid, Dude, but that's an excellent idea for dealing with Javy Vazquez without hurting his very tender feelings. Insist that he take the Red to US Comiscular. Tell him it's "Rapid Transit" and takes only 12 minutes. Voila, he never makes it in time for lineups to be submitted to the umpires and Ozzie gets to pencil in Richard as an emergency sub. Brilliant!

One of the conductors on the UP/North Metra line (better known as the Drunken Cub Fan Metra line) made a similar announcment just before Davis St yesterday (where all the suburban cub fans get off to transfer to the CTA). I was giggling.

Its actually very common occurance on the UP/North line in the evenings heading to the city, it seems like all the conductors are Sox fans.

The Doc (and a few others): So I'm guessing you guys weren't around for "The Rapper". No he wasn't an actual rapper, he was just a conductor (back when they had a motorman AND a conductor) with what I have to admit was a silky smooth voice who worked the Red line when it was the Lake Street/Dan Ryan line (before they combined it with the subway north to Howard). He's give you the time, temperature, what landmarks were at each stop, advise you to watch your bag, crack a little joke now and then, and maybe give a short inspirational message. The guy was great. Wonder what happened to him?

I used to love the conductor on the Ravenswood (back when it was the Ravenswood and there were conductors) who would admonish all to "have an easy day" as he opened the doors. He would always say it like he was stoned and draw out the word easy for about 5 seconds. It always put a smile on my face.

The split Brown Line is a pain. Last weekend, while I was waiting forever at Belmont, I pondered and came up with a possible reason -- since they're doing single-track zones on the north end, it might make sense to split up the service because there are two unrelated sources of unpredictable delays.

I also notice that they seem to be undecided as to whether they're actually going to through-route Orange and Brown line trains. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.

>>>
it might make sense to split up the service because there are two unrelated sources of unpredictable delays.
<<<

That makes sense.

Also, there's the issue of different headways. Brown's headway is usually 30% shorter than Orange's, so if you were to run the Oranges as often as the Browns come along, you'd be sending more traffic all the way out to Midway that doesn't need to head out there. If you use Orange's regular headway, then Belmont to Kimball doesn't get enough trains.

And yes, toss in multiple points of delays, and you've got a big operational headache. (Not that breaking it up into two segments is a walk in the park, but apparently it must be easier to manage.)


===
I also notice that they seem to be undecided as to whether they're actually going to through-route Orange and Brown line trains. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
===

Depends upon who's floating the latest plan, and how well they've thought ahead to all the possible issues.

It is tempting. There is some waste in having two different trains going all the way around the Loop. But when I think beyond that, there are so many other issues.

First, a through-route would only serve two legs of the Loop, most likely Wells and Van Buren. That would mean Clark-Lake would be missed. I think more people would be overly inconvinineced in their train transfers than those who benefited by the through routing.

Then there's the issue of the different headway needs. It's bad enough in normal hours, but during rush hour, it's even more lop-sided. We're already depending on the Purple to provide extra service to the mainline on the northside. Why waste half-empty trains heading down to Midway when they could be running on the Brown?

Then there's the issue of train operators. It's not so much that they can't run a train from one end to the other. The issue is how many round-trips can they make on a regular shift. If at 8 hours they're on the wrong end of the line, what do you do? Make them all 9.5 hour shifts? Or 6.5 hour shifts?

It's not like the bus lines where you can have a driver relief another one in the middle of the route. The bus drivers do it so the bus doesn't have to go back to the garage that's not a terminal on the route. Train operators operate out of terminals on the line. They can't leave later, and meet the train in the middle.

So the idea of a Burnt Umber Line starts to look less and less appealing the more you think about the operational issues involved, and then stop to think about how little benefit it would provide.

Wouldn't it be burnt sienna, Rusty? Maybe you could raise $$ for the added labor costs of the longer shifts and CTA could name it the Rusty Line for you.

Are the Pink and Orange lines more closely matched in terms of headway? At the very least, it would create a really weird-shaped line, which a lot of other cities have and we don't seem to have enough of. During long waits, I've also wondered if it's possible to through-route the Pink line with one of the south branches of the Green line -- just because having multiple branches seems to contradict the concept of a "line." The Ashland branch would produce a nice weird shape.

How about west-side Green becoming a Pink when it gets to the loop, and south-side Green becoming Orange?

Just joking.

Still there may come a time that through-routing the Green Line might no longer make sense, but the Loop doesn't have the capacity to have them both circle unless something else is through-routed.

But until that happens, I wouldn't attempt to monkey with the status quo.

After tonight's game, it is apparent that the motorman has jinxed the Sox. He must be photographed.

The Cubs can now blame their wasted season on this motorman, just like Steve Stone and Bartman before him. At least they have a scapegoat to make them feel better.

"Also, there's the issue of different headways. Brown's headway is usually 30% shorter than Orange's, so if you were to run the Oranges as often as the Browns come along, you'd be sending more traffic all the way out to Midway that doesn't need to head out there. If you use Orange's regular headway, then Belmont to Kimball doesn't get enough trains."

I'm not sure this would justify having the routes terminate at Belmont; the brown line's need for more frequent runs is mostly due to higher ridership near and south of Belmont, not north. So an orange/brown combination that terminated at Belmont would still need a headway similar to the brown line's.

They could just use the orange line's headway but run longer trains on the combined route to compensate for the capacity reduction for brown line riders.

The Sox can now blame their wasted season on this motorman, just like all of their horrible teams before now. At least they also have a history to make them feel better..

Wasted season? For a team who was picked, charitably, by most sports writers to finish third in the AL Central and who made it to the playoffs, perhaps undeservedly, by the skin of their teeth, the Sox over-performed in the regular season. Perhaps you're confusing the Sox with the Cubs who finished second only the the LA Angels and finished even better than those pesky Rays formerly known as Devil.

History? Winning a world series in 2005 is recent memory; one hundred years ago is history. The problem with all those "It's Gonna Happen" signs is that they didn't say what was going to happen.

Seriously, the Sox had a $121 million dollar payroll -- 5th highest in baseball. They should have expected to make the playoffs at a minimum..

Did Soriano tell you to say that Joe?

Geeze. It's pretty bad when they have the money to spend, and still can't buy their way into the playoffs. What's this world coming to.

Now that there won't be a Red Line Series, think of the lost CTA revenue. The fares of all those fans riding to and from games could have bought a few extra gallons of ultra low sulfur diesel.

I once tried being a baseball fan, but being sober at the same time, it didn't work out. I decided a more lively spectator event would be more up my alley, so I took-up watching paint dry.

Don't forget regularly posting long screeds about CTA minutia. That seems to be a hobby as well..

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