Category Archives: Chicago

REA Express

In 1966 REA Express was operating a system primarily engaged in the expeditious transportation of express packages, less-than-carlot, and carlot shipments requiring special handling. REA Express also provided a world-wide shipping service through contracts with air carriers, acted as an ocean freight forwarder to many countries of the world, and provided local truck express service in some large cities of the United States. A subsidiary company of REA Express leased truck trailers to railroads, forwarders, and shippers for the use in trailer-on-flat car service. Such miscellaneous services as pick-up-and-delivery services for railroads, custom brokerage on import traffic, sale of traveler’s checks and money orders, and collection of C. O. D. charges were also performed. REA Express conducted its business through 8,200 offices and used in its operations 137,000 miles of railroad, 132,000 miles of air lines, 79,000 miles of motor carrier lines, and 6,600 of water lines. The company employed 30,000 persons and operated a fleet of 12,000 trucks. The company handled some 66,000,000 shipment annually. (Association of American Railroads)

-with all those assets and experience, even though rail shipping was in decline, REA dominated the private package business. It was already into trucks, had name recognition, a customer base etc. -why did it finally fail? Why didn’t it follow the trends and morph into something successful like UPS and FED EX?

We have a lot of information on the Railway Express Agency, later known as REA Express and also have significant background information available that will help you understand why REA Express failed.

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You’ll soon be able to get to Chicago an hour faster

From the Belleville News-Democrat via California Rail News

“We’re getting close to finishing the project,” said Scott Speegle, the Passenger Rail communications manager for IDOT.
Work this year includes upgrades at 21 rail crossings between Granite City and Shipman, Speegle said.
Upgrades include putting in four quad gates to prevent cars from weaving through crossings when a train is approaching. Signaling upgrades, increased fencing and pedestrian gates, if necessary, also are planned. Most of the work is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, Speegle said.
The crossings will be temporarily closed while upgrades are taking place.
What has not received much press are efforts to throw a money wrench to raise passenger speeds in the Midwest by the UP. Where it controls the rails that used government funding for track improvements to reduce running times for passenger trains, the UP is trying to block the use of new High Speed “Charger” locomotives. Among the issues UP is claiming is the the Chargers don’t meet current FRA regulations. One thing the UP is claiming is that since the Charger uses LED lights, it can’t be used on American railroads since FRA regulations says nothing about LED lights.

President Trump is “barking up the wrong tree” about High Speed Rail

Just read a great story by MARK WHITTINGTON about Donald Trump’s interest in high speed rail may be made obsolete by the Hyperloop. Passengers and cargo could be moved at supersonic speeds at a fraction of the cost.

President Donald Trump is interested in building high-speed rail lines across the United States. The idea is that 200 miles per hour trains would whisk passengers and cargo between destinations, substantially cutting down travel times. However, an emerging technology called the #hyperloop may already be about to make the high-speed train obsolete.

The Hyperloop would propel people and cargo in pods down a sealed tube using magnetic accelerators at speeds more than 700 miles an hour. The technology was invented by SpaceX’s Elon Musk and is now being refined by a number of private companies. Musk claims that a Hyperloop line between Los Angeles and San Francisco would cost about $6 billion to build as opposed to the nearly $70 billion (and growing) that the proposed high-speed rail line is estimated to cost. The line would be solar powered and, since it is built on elevated pylons, would have less of a “footprint” than a rail line. Hyperloop lines could be built along Interstate highways.

The Trump administration should approach the siren call of building railroads with caution. To be sure existing rail lines and tunnels, some of them approaching a century old, need upgrading. But if a way can be found to move people and cargo between cities at greater speeds, as less cost, powered by renewable energy, using less land, then that way should be seriously considered. Great care, at any rate, should be taken when spending hundreds of billions of dollars. Perhaps a prototype project, connecting two cities somewhere in the United States, should be undertaken to test the usefulness of the Hyperloop before committing to high-speed rail.

Perhaps President Trump should start with a “smallish” project: connect Louisville and Chicago. AMTRAK has fallen on it’s face over the years on this one. Well, they have an airport and an Interstate Highway.

Our company has already proposed this project to HYPERLOOP ONE, the leading company in the Hyperloop field. We have already published details of this project.

We have tried to make it as simple as possible and bring costs down. We follow Interstate Highway 65 from Louisville to Gary, Indiana. Then, knowing the extreme difficulty of entering Chicago from the East, we took a novel change. Passengers and freight stop at the Gary International Airport and change to the South Shore Railroad (already rebuilt with government funds). Passengers get off at Millennium Station in downtown Chicago.

The Hyperloop Could Make Even More Massive Megacities

The Hyperloop, is the latest and greatest in ground transportation. Made sort of famous by Elon Musk, it uses vacuum tubes to move containers that hold people and cargo. The United States is sort of behind the rest of the World, so let’s first of all talk of Australia.

The Hyperloop zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). These high speeds have the possibility to shorten travel times, making it easier to get from city to city.

Despite skepticism, Hyperloop One hopes to connect Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. Passengers can travel between the two in under an hour.

Now, officials from Hyperloop One are proposing that the Hyperloop could eventually merge the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, creating one huge megacity. The best part? Travel time is around an hour.

“We’ll make Sydney and Melbourne really connected to each other. If you connect two cities with Hyperloop, you get, effectively, a sort of global city punching above its weight in a global economy,”says Hyperloop One VP Alan James.

For those unfamiliar with the technology, Hyperloop is essentially a passenger/cargo carrying capsule that zips around in a tube at 1000+ km/h (620+ mph). Those speeds promise to change the very urban landscape.

But the system does face a lot of skepticism. A real Hyperloop test hasn’t really been done, so we can’t see the effects on humans or cargo that travel on it. Also, there are no estimates on the massive infrastructure costs that could be associated with building Hyperloop tracks.

If it were to work out, though, a ticket from Sydney to melbourne would be booked via an app and cost less than a full-priced, last minute plane ticket.

Now a lot of projects on the drawing boards in U.S. Only today will mention the two that our company is involved in. The bigger one is linking Chicago and Louisville. The smaller one is on an unused railroad in Metropolitan New York City. It will link Beacon Station on the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Division with Southeast Station on the Metro-North Railroad Harlem Division. More and more people live in the area between the two stations and if they work in New York City must choose which station they will drive to. Next week we will be attending a site visit conducted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority!

Cubs win 1st Series title since 1908, beat Indians in Game 7

The Chicago Cubs celebrate after Game 7 of the Major League Baseball World Series against the Cleveland Indians Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cubs won 8-7 in 10 innings to win the series 4-3.

For a legion of fans who waited a lifetime, fly that W: Your Chicago Cubs are World Series champions.

Ending more than a century of flops, futility and frustration, the Cubs won their first title since 1908, outlasting the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in 10 innings of a Game 7 thriller early Thursday.

They even had to endure an extra-inning rain delay to end the drought.

Cleveland was trying to win its first crown since 1948, but manager Terry Francona’s club lost the last two games at home.

World Series favorites since spring training, Chicago led the majors with 103 wins this season.

After defeating San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs, Chicago became the first team to earn a title by winning Games 6 and 7 on the road since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Ridership and revenue grow on Hoosier State Train

The Hoosier State welcomed 2,428 riders in September, a 46 percent increase from September 2015 and the fifth straight month that ridership exceeded the same period in 2015. Ticket revenue totaled $82,324 in September – a 64 percent increase from September 2015 – marking a full year of revenue exceeding the same months the prior year.

On-time arrivals between Indianapolis and Chicago averaged 86 percent in August and 82 percent in September. Yesterday CSX Transportation replaced the manual switch near the Crawfordsville station with a new switch that is expected to cut 8 to 15 minutes from a one-way trip.

INDOT and the on-line communities contract with Iowa Pacific Holdings to provide the train equipment, train maintenance and new on-board amenities. Under a separate contract, Amtrak serves as the train operator, works with host railroads, provides train and engine crews, and manages ticketing and reservations.

Big Changes Ahead For The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink

Yes, our vision remains the same : provide fast and reliable transportation between Chicago and Louisville. However there are two important changes to our environment: (1) Cincinnati, Ohio has a Hyperloop project now; and (2) Hyperloop now feels that cargo has more priority than passengers.
Hyperloop One raised $50 million and hired former Uber CFO Brent Callinicos. The new round, led by DP World Groups in Dubai, brings the company’s total funding to $160 million.
Hyperloop UC, the University of Cincinnati’s interdisciplinary team, will unveil their entry for the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition on Monday, Oct. 17. The pod will be used during the next phase of the international Hyperloop competition to be held at a test track next to SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, in January 2017.
After months of preparation, a team of University of Cincinnati students will pull the curtain back on their Hyperloop pod, a prototype they think could reshape high-speed transportation as part of the competition dreamed up by Tesla founder Elon Musk. As CEO of the aerospace firm SpaceX, Musk has challenged the world to submit ideas — and now prototypes — for a tube-based passenger system that would allow for travel between cities at the speed of sound.
More than 60 students from Hyperloop UC — engineers, designers and marketers — have been busy finalizing designs, manufacturing parts and synthesizing segments into a seamless prototype for the January 27-29 competition when they will insert their pod for takeoff in a mile-long test track.
UC’s group is one of just 30 that has advanced to the test round of the Hyperloop competition out of more than 1,200 teams worldwide. If successful, the venture could completely shift the way commuters travel. Cincinnati to Chicago, for example, could be travelled in a half hour — all while passengers relax in a capsule that levitates through the tube at more than 700 mph.
“We are very proud of the design we have created,” says Dhaval Shiyani, Hyperloop UC President and aerospace engineering graduate student in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS). “It hits all the marks with respect to performance, safety and scalability. Our education at UC has taught us well, and we are confident that we will be a force to reckon with come January.”
UC’s team was among 120 teams invited to Texas A&M University in January of 2016 to present their ideas, where they were then selected to be among just 30 who are moving on to the final round of competition. UC is also the only group representing Ohio universities.

Very recently Hyperloop One, (the Elon Musk organization), announced that « cargo will be implemented before passengers ».

We anticipated this with the selection of Gary, Indiana (at the international airport) as our Northern Terminal. Of course passengers will still transfer to the South Shore commuter line operated by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District. But operating on the same right-of-way is the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad. It provides freight service between Chicago and South Bend.It has important connections to the Indiana Harbor Railroad, Norfolk Southern, CSX Corporation. It is also connected to the in-formation Great Lakes Basin Transportation. It proposes to construct a new railroad line around the metropolitan Chicago area. The purpose of the new railroad is to expedite freight movements across the nation and to provide additional capacity for growing railroad traffic.

Welcome to our Chicago Rail Fair WebSite

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Our feature article is the
Chicago Rail Fair: 1948-1949

See how the Milwaukee Railroad Magazine promotes the Rail Fair

Some other articles you will enjoy are:
Railroads and Rail Yards of Chicago
Railroads from the Encyclopedia of Chicago
1942 Railroad Quiz
North Shore WebSite
Attractions at the Rail Fair
Chicago Tunnel Railroad
Historical Shortline Railroads of Chicagoland

This spot in Chicago is the epitome of a more than $100 billion problem facing America

A freight train more than 10,000 feet long, hauling hundreds of shipping containers, sits idle in residential Chicago. It’s the middle of the afternoon, and the CSX train is just parked there. Waiting.

At this stretch of railroad, known as the 75th Street Corridor, that scene plays out day after day. Freight trains spend hours waiting for commuter and Amtrak trains to clear a single intersection, blocking their path and preventing the delivery of goods.

The corridor sits in an urban neighborhood southwest of downtown Chicago. It’s widely considered the worst choke point for rail movement in the city, which is the busiest rail hub in the nation. With hundreds of billions of dollars in goods traveling through Chicago by rail every year, each minute those freight trains are stalled, companies and consumers alike are losing money or being forced to spend more for the goods those trains haul.

Down the track from the stationary CSX train, a Metra commuter train rumbles through the worst part of the corridor: Forest Hill Junction, a six-track intersection shared by Amtrak, commuter, and freight rail. A few minutes later, another Metra train rolls through. Because these commuter trains run perpendicular to the track the freight train uses — and almost always have the right of way — the freight has to wait.

“It really is the Gordian knot of Chicago that has to be untangled,” Tom Livingston, a CSX vice president for government affairs, told Business Insider. “It would be like two major interstates meeting each other at a four-way stop sign.”

After a half hour or so, a whistle rings out. The freight train shudders and groans as the conductor nudges it into motion. Finally, slowly, it’s back on its way, moving goods through the city.

“It really is impactful on the entire nation in terms of moving traffic through,” Livingston said. “You have freight moving at every point on the compass, and a lot of it.”

‘The Super Bowl of freight rail’