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  • Monday, October 26, 2015 2:13 PM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)


    The City of Milwaukee has been awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for construction of a spur connecting the streetcar with the lakefront. The streetcar plan is depicted in this rendering.

    By Mary Spicuzza of the Journal Sentinel

    Oct. 26, 2015 3:26 p.m.

       The City of Milwaukee has been awarded a $14.2 million federal grant for construction of a spur connecting the streetcar with the lakefront.
       The U.S. Department of Transportation grant was announced Monday by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).
    The Lakefront Line, which was
    approved by the Common Council along with the first phase of the streetcar in February, aims to connect Cathedral Square to the lakefront using Broadway and Milwaukee, Michigan and Clybourn streets.
       It will
    link the streetcar to the Couture development, which has a stop planned.
    "This critical federal grant for the Milwaukee Streetcar will bring thousands of residents and visitors to major attractions and new developments on Milwaukee's lakefront," Barrett said in a statement.  "This announcement builds on the positive momentum we're experiencing in the heart of the city and will also have a significant impact on our neighborhoods, creating hundreds of construction jobs and better connecting our neighborhoods to downtown."
       The city is
    close to signing a contract with a streetcar-manufacturing company. "This is a strong federal investment in 21st-century Wisconsin infrastructure that will put people to work," Baldwin said. "The Milwaukee Streetcar will also help spur significant economic development and improve the quality of life for Milwaukee residents."
       Moore also praised the project, saying it would expand Milwaukee's public transportation options while boosting local economic growth. "Economic mobility is vital to our city's future," Moore said. "That's why I've dedicated so much time and effort in securing this multimillion federal grant for the Milwaukee Streetcar project. With this funding, we can expand our city's public transportation options while fostering local economic growth and development."
       The grant will be used to build the Lakefront Line and to purchase a streetcar that will operate on the line, Barrett said. Some of the money also will be used to add a second track on St. Paul Ave., between N. 2nd and 5th streets. The extension aims to give riders more flexibility and allow the Lakefront Line to run between the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and the lakefront during special events, such as Summerfest and the Fourth of July, the mayor said.

  • Friday, October 23, 2015 2:23 PM | John Nicholson (Administrator)

    From Railway Age (9-09-15):

    Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

    El Paso City Lines PCC, circa 1963

    Transportation officials in El Paso, Tex., are finalizing agreements with two firms to build a $97 million, 4.8-mile streetcar line approved by City Council in 2014. The state-funded project involves refurbishing and placing back into service historic El Paso City Lines PCC cars that operated until the 1970s.


    TheCamino Real Regional Mobility Authority, which is overseeing the project, in late August 2015 selected Paso del Norte Trackworks, a joint venture of California-basedGranite Construction Inc.and New York-basedRailWorks Track Systems, andBrookville Equipment Corp. to build the infrastructure and rebuild the PCC cars, respectively. Paso del Norte Trackworks will be responsible for tracks, maintenance and storage facilities, power stations and catenary wires. Brookville will be responsible for resurrecting El Paso’s old PCCs, which have sat dormant for decades in the Texas desert.

    Work could begin on the streetcar line, which was designed byAECOM, as early as January 2016. Last year, the Granite/RailWorks joint venture completed a $197 million modern streetcar line in Tucson, Ariz., that opened in July 2014. That system sparked a downtown renaissance, spurring $1.5 billion in private and public development along the route, Tucson city officials and business groups have said.

    The El Paso streetcar will run from the Paso del Norte Port of Entry to the West El Paso neighborhood that is home to a campus of El Paso Community College, the University of Texas at El Paso and several hospitals. Construction will be complex, as the route passes through the arts, business, government, entertainment and shopping districts in downtown El Paso, Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority Executive Director Raymond Telles told local media. “We are going to affect a lot of people with this project, so we want to make it as painless as possible,” he said.


    Six of El Paso’s vintage PCCs will be transported to Brookville Equipment’s facilities in Pennsylvania and remanufactured and modernized. Originally, plans called for seven PCCs, but the cost of restoring the streetcars was greater than expected, $3.1 million per car, officials said. They hope to eventually add a seventh car using contingency funds that could be freed up when the project is complete.

    Brookville, which has remanufactured PCC cars for SEPTA and other transit authorities, will upgrade the 1938-built vehicles with modern propulsion equipment, air conditioning, and pantographs for current collection. The cars will also be ADA-compliant. PCC No. 1511, which was painted by renowned artist Jose Cisneros, will be restored, artwork and all, according to Telles.


  • Tuesday, August 04, 2015 3:54 PM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)

    CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

    This article is written by Carole Carlson on Aug 4, 2015 of the Merrillville, IN Post Tribune

    SOURCE: POST-TRIBUNE, MERRILLVILLE, IND.

    Aug. 03--The South Shore Railroad is gearing up to carry bicycles on trains next spring, kick starting the transit plan years earlier than a previous timeline.

    South Shore General Manager Mike Noland unveiled prototypes of two bicycle racks at Friday's Northern Indiana Commuter Transit board meeting and the board approved a one-year pilot program set to start in April. The racks were designed by SportWorks, a Seattle-based transit design company.

    Advocates have been pushing the initiative for about 10 years. Bike supporters say the South Shore is the only commuter railroad in the nation that bans bicycles on its trains because its cars aren't configured to hold them.

    The pilot program approved Friday will outfit three cars with specially-made bike racks. Bike owners will sit next to their bikes.

    Noland said three cars will be equipped with about 25 to 30 bike racks each. The racks will be attached to the car's metal heating system. Each rack costs $500 to $600. No final cost estimate for the pilot program was available.

    The pilot bike program will only run on weekends and cyclists must get on and off at stations with high-level boarding platforms, Noland said. It's also not intended as a permanent solution.

    At a public hearing last month, officials presented a bikes on trains plan that's dependent on the purchase of new cars within five years. NICTD then plans to retrofit five existing cars at a price tag of about $10 million. When bike advocates and even some NICTD board members heard the program likely wouldn't start until 2021, they complained and officials began to look for a short-term solution.

    "We heard the board loud and clear to accelerate the process prior to the next train car order," Noland said. He said cars purchased in 2009 were finally performing well and anchoring the fleet, allowing the railroad the opportunity to look at modifying its older cars.

    Noland acknowledged the South Shore's shortcomings. "Metra has more space than we do. We have no room for anything but seats, that's the fundamental difference."

    NICTD board member and Lake County Commissioner Mike Repay thanked Noland for quick action. "I commend you for listening to what was being said. I think this is the right way to do it. I know there are still bugs... Folks who really want their bikes on trains will be hospitable."

    Advocates, including Save the Dunes Council and the National Parks Conservation Association, immediately praised the action.

    "Save the Dunes has taken a leadership role in the project as part of our desire to increasenon-motorized access to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park, yetclearly the benefits would be experienced region-wide," the Save the Dunes Council stated in a release.

    "This decision has been a long time coming and today's vote by the NICTD board is a welcome change and one that we look forward to seeing through," said LeAaron Foley, an outreach coordinator with the National Parks Conservation Association.

    Contact Carole Carlson at ccarlson@post-trib.com.

    Copyright 2015 - Post-Tribune, Merrillville, Ind


  • Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:52 PM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)

    NICTD10

    A Chicago-bound train at Ogden Dunes, Ind.

    This article was pulled from http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2015/07/south-shore-declares-express-service-a-success 

    July 13, 2015

    Brian Schmidt

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District says the South Shore Sunshine Express is a success just four months after its implementation. The express trains get South Bend commuters to Chicago in fewer than two hours by making only two other stops. The agency is now working to add more express trains to its schedule.

    According to a NICTD, the South Shore is averaging roughly 100 more passengers per day traveling to Chicago from the served stations. NICTD General Manager Mike Noland says they had hoped the service would attract at least 100 new riders between the three express stops. “So far, I would deem this train a success,” Noland tells WSBT-TV.

    “We are hearing from other riders about how excited they are about how there is an express train. They want one on their stop as well. But they understand there are things that we need to put in place to get there,” Noland says.

    Among the changes Noland hopes to implement to add more express trains include:

    • Moving the South Shore depot to the west side of the South Bend airport, cutting 10 minutes of travel time.
    • Adding double track in the areas that are currently single track with the goal of cutting South Bend – Chicago time to 90 minutes.
    • Reducing travel time in Michigan City.

    “We need to fix Michigan City,” Noland says. “Right now to go through Michigan City through the streets is a very slow ride through the middle of town. So we need to straighten those tracks out.

    “We think within four to five years we can drive the times down to 90 minutes out of South Bend, 60 minutes out of Michigan City, and 45 minutes from Ogden Dunes,” Noland adds.

    Noland says the South Shore is working to get federal grants to make some of the improvements. The railroad will also be doing more advertising for the Express Train to increase ridership.
  • Monday, July 13, 2015 11:46 AM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)

    The following is from a yahoo groups blog, by "Edward Havens" watsonscruff2000

    Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:11 am (PDT) . 

    MILWAUKEE will begin construction of its downtown modern streetcar line in
    October and changes to the route alignment have reduced utility relocation
    costs, the "urban milwaukee dot com" site reports. "Not a single track has
    been laid, but final engineering work has already reduced the utilities
    relocation bill on the Milwaukee Streetcar project by over $1 million.
    During a streetcar task force meeting Friday morning project consultants *Tim
    Clancy* <http://urbanmilwaukee.com/people/tim-clancy/> of The Concord Group
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/business/the-concord-group/> and *Ashley Booth
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/people/ashley-booth>* of HNTB
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/businesses/hntb> detailed their firms’ work on
    negotiating with the utilities and procuring the vehicles. ... Bids have
    been received for the streetcar vehicles. The consulting team declined to
    identify how many or who the bidders are. They did announce that they
    intend to award the contract in September, following final review and
    interviews with the bidding teams." Here is the route map before changes to
    lower utility relocaion costs. The article says that a : "more than $1
    million reduction in costs was realized from minor route modifications as
    well as swapping E. Wells St. for E. Kilbourn Ave. and relocating
    north-bound tracks to N. Jackson St. from N. Van Buren St."
    http://www.trolleyville.com/tv/times/may2015/headline05.html>
    Here is a later map:
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=277190&page=16>

    *http://tinyurl.com/ncy53h4 <http://tinyurl.com/ncy53h4>>"*Streetcar
    Construction Starts in October
    On-going engineering work continues to save millions of dollars. And
    anti-streetcar group has given up trying to stop the starter line.
    By Jeramey Jannene <http://urbanmilwaukee.com/author/jeramey/>
    Jul 10th, 2015 05:48 pm

    [image: The streetcar as it meets Broadway in the Third Ward.]
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/rendering2_lg.jpg>

    The streetcar as it meets Broadway in the Third Ward.

    Not a single track has been laid, but final engineering work has already
    reduced the utilities relocation bill on the Milwaukee Streetcar project by
    over $1 million.

    During a streetcar task force meeting Friday morning project consultants *Tim
    Clancy* <http://urbanmilwaukee.com/people/tim-clancy/> of The Concord Group
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/business/the-concord-group/> and *Ashley Booth
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/people/ashley-booth>* of HNTB
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/businesses/hntb> detailed their firms’ work on
    negotiating with the utilities and procuring the vehicles.

    More work between the engineering team and We Energies
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/businesses/we-energies> has been finalized, and
    more than $1 million reduction in costs was realized from minor route
    modifications as well as swapping E. Wells St. for E. Kilbourn Ave. and
    relocating north-bound tracks to N. Jackson St. from N. Van Buren St.

    Now that the route is locked in, pending expected federal approval, design
    work is beginning on the overhead contact system.

    That work is expected to be completed by November, with contracts for
    construction of the system awarded in January 2016.

    Construction would start in April and be completed by February 2018.

    Following final testing, the general public could start riding the system
    in July 2018.

    Construction work on the utilities will begin in advance of the track and
    overhead wire system, with design work being completed next month for the
    public utilities.

    Contracts will be awarded for that work in September. The first streetcar
    project shovels will go into the ground in October. The utility work is
    expected to be completed in August 2016.

    Bids have been received for the streetcar vehicles. The consulting team
    declined to identify how many or who the bidders are.

    They did announce that they intend to award the contract in September,
    following final review and interviews with the bidding teams.

    Once the specifications of the winning bidder’s vehicles are known,
    planning will commence for the construction of the Operations and
    Maintenance Facility
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/building/milwaukee-streetcar-operations-and-maintenance-facility/>.

    That facility is planned to be built underneath Interstate 794.

    The lakefront extension of the streetcar to the Henry Maier Festival
    Grounds and proposed The Couture
    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/buildings/the-couture> is also undergoing survey
    work currently.

    That extension was approved with the starter line, but will be constructed
    later than the starter line because of the engineering work still required.
    Utilities Cost Issue.

    by "Edward Havens" watsonscruff2000

  • Tuesday, June 30, 2015 11:58 AM | John Nicholson (Administrator)

    Alan R. Lind

    1940 – 2015

    We were saddened to learn of the passing of noted transportation historian and former CERA director Alan R. Lind of Park Forest on May 30, 2015, at the age of 75. Mr. Lind was the co-author of From Zephyr to Amtrak (1972) and Monarchs of Mid-America (1973). He was the author of From Horsecars to Streamliners (1978), but is probably best remembered among traction enthusiasts for Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History. First published in 1974, it was revised and expanded over the years culminating in an all-encompassing third edition issued in 1979.

    For a city that once boasted the world’s largest streetcar system under one management, there had been surprisingly little material published about Chicago’s streetcars. In 1964 James D. Johnson published A Century of Chicago Streetcars, a nostalgic look at Chicago’s system through the photographs of Tom Desnoyers (credited as “Thomas Hollister” in the book). Published only six years after Chicago’s last streetcar ran, this was largely a photo album that appealed to both the ardent fan and the casual reader whose memories of the cars in their neighborhoods and their daily lives were still fresh. 

    Mr. Lind’s work on Chicago’s streetcars was much greater in scope. The first edition appeared in 1974, twenty years after the last of the red car lines had been converted to bus. Not so much a narrative history, it provided a detailed account of practically every component of the Chicago Surface Lines. Written for the serious fan (or “rivet counter” in railfan argot) one found valuable information on all types of Chicago streetcars, their routes, route histories, carbarns, shops, and other facilities. For decades this has been the “go to” book for the Chicago streetcar enthusiast.

    Mr. Lind passed away three weeks before the 57th anniversary of the closing of the last streetcar line in Chicago. Many of us who rode these last streetcars as children are now collecting social security and most of the adults who took us on these rides are no longer with us. Alan Lind’s major contribution was to collect and present this wealth of information on Chicago’s streetcars, preserving it for the enjoyment and education of both the traction fan and serious transit historian. Because of Mr. Lind’s efforts, both old and young readers can marvel at the size and magnificence of this once vast streetcar network. The older ones can take satisfaction at having ridden on these cars while the younger ones will wish they had.  

    Alan Lind will be missed by all of us.

    John Nicholson


  • Tuesday, June 30, 2015 9:24 AM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)

    Please congratulate Raymond DeGroote, Jr., as he was awarded a Life Time membership on June 26, 2015 in recognition of his contributions to the organization over the years.

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015 10:36 AM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)
    Update: The printer has stated that it will begin mailing out copies of the Chicago Streetcar Pictorial, B-146, to all recipients starting the week of June 15, 2015, and we understand some have already received their copies.  


    For any questions or concerns related to your delivery, please email ceraoffice@gmail.com. 

    Thank you,
    Jeff 


  • Monday, June 01, 2015 11:32 AM | Jeff Wien (Administrator)
    CERA will have a booth at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row LitFest 2015 on Saturday, June 6th and Sunday, June 7th.  We'll be there between 10am to 6pm - if you're going, come say hello to the CERA staff. The booth is identified as Tent KK which will be located near the intersection of Polk and Dearborn.  

    If you're unfamiliar with Lit Fest, here's a short overview:

    "As part of its ongoing commitment to the written word and its support of literacy and literary endeavor, the Chicago Tribune purchased the Printers Row Book Fair in 2002 from the Near South Planning Board. Recently renamed to be the Printer's Row Lit Fest, it is considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest-drawing more than 150,000 book lovers to the two-day showcase."

    Hope to see you there.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:44 AM | Len Marcus (Administrator)


    Our soon to be issued and available publication.  Following is the dust jacket cover sure to tempt all lovers of the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Surface Lines Green Hornet streetcars. 

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Central Electric Railfans' Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  P.O. Box 503, Chicago, IL  60690

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