Plan for the CTA to Assume Services of the North Shore Line Interurban

 

Published by: Chicago Transit Authority
Publishing date: 1958, 1961


Plan Summary:

When the spectre of total abandonment faced the North Shore Line in earnest in 1958, the Chicago Transit Authority was approached by various agencies and organizations to develop a plan for preservation of at least some CNS&M rail passenger services. A study was made by the CTA® and a report issued; it was later revised as the tortuous legal process aimed at shutting down the "Road of Service" dragged on over the next four years.

What follows is an adaptation of the CTA® reports omitting only some nonessential financial and other data. The following text was originally printed in First & Fastest Volume IV, Numbers 3 & 4 (Autumn/Winter 1988). Text © 1988 Shore Line Interurban Historical Society.


HOW CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY COULD SERVE MOST CHICAGO NORTH SHORE & MILWAUKEE RAILWAY PASSENGERS MAKING COMPLETE TRIPS WITHIN THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

OCTOBER 27,1958

 

The purpose of this study is to examine the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railway facilities, operations, and the territory served, and to recommend ways in which Chicago Transit Authority could serve most riders presently traveling entirely within the State of Illinois. The Wisconsin section of the system has been removed from consideration since the density of riding is very light and since costly right-of-way changes lie ahead. The study has been suggested both by the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railway and by several of the municipalities served. At present, CTA has no authority to operate north of the Cook-Lake County line in Illinois.

The North Shore system now consists of approximately 85 miles of double-track main line north of Howard Street, Chicago. Passenger service has been operated over the present North Shore system for more than thirty years.* The railway now provides three types of service as follows:

interurban service between downtown Milwaukee and downtown Chicago with intermediate stops,
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commuter service largely between terminals in Milwaukee or Mundelein and downtown Chicago, and
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freight service operated over most of the system north of Chicago.

Riding on the system is now less than half the peak peacetime traffic level. (During the war years Fort Sheridan and Great Lakes training stations provided large traffic volumes.) Resident population and commercial and industrial activity has increased substantially in the North Shore territory during the last ten years, but the railroad has made little net gain in passenger traffic from this growth.

Like other suburban passenger carriers, the North Shore is faced with serious financial problems. Substantial capital outlays would be required for railway relocation because of highway construction along the right-of-way in Wisconsin; [its] 130 passenger cars average more than 35 years old and should be replaced; and many months of deficit operation [have] seriously depleted [its] working capital.

It appears doubtful that North Shore passenger traffic would grow substantially above present levels in future years, except during periods of unusual activity at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center. While the population of the area served should increase greatly, industrial employment, school enrollment and shopping activity in these communities should also expand, thus limiting dependence of the area upon Chicago.

The North Shore system faces continuing competition with the North Western and Milwaukee commuter and intercity services, and there is little prospect that even a modernized North Shore system could offer major advantages in speed of service or rates of fare over these competitive rail operations. Automobile competition will also grow as major highway improvements, particularly "limited access" highways, are placed in service both in the suburban area and in Chicago. This automobile competition would be most effective during the long non-rush periods when travel is now too light to support attractive headways.

 

Present Density of Passenger Traffic and Revenue

The total receipts of the North Shore passenger operations averaged approximately $12,600 per day during April 1958. This revenue, which includes income from the handling of baggage and express, parlor and dining-car service, plus station privileges and certain rent, is only a third more than the average daily passenger receipts of our Halsted bus line, which operates on city streets with other traffic.

This total North Shore "passenger revenue" represents only $65.80 per roundtrip-mile of route operated per day, or a lower density of revenue production than 75% of all CTA bus lines.

This passenger revenue is light for a rail operation on private right-of-way. While riding is heavily concentrated in rush hours, service is required over about 19 hours per day. On a typical weekday, close to half of all inbound riders pass through the maximum load point during a single hour in the morning, while outbound close to half of the entire 19-hour traffic moves during one hour in the afternoon.

 

Possible CTA Operations

Examination of the present North Shore rolling stock and fixed transportation facilities, the volume and pattern of present riding and rail and highway competition in the area suggests that Chicago Transit Authority should undertake operation of only the Illinois portion of this service and then only:

  • if the North Shore facilities needed are made available to CTA without cost,
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  • if complete modernization of the North Shore property by another agency is assured, and
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  • if a subsidy is provided for any deficits incurred in the operation.

For several reasons CTA should conduct no freight operations. At a few locations where customers would be seriously handicapped without direct freight service over North Shore sidings, trunk-line railroads could be authorized to extend service via North Shore tracks to "in-plant" sidings.

CTA could serve most of the Illinois passengers of the North Shore system either with a through rail operation to downtown Chicago or with express bus routes operating to CTA rapid transit terminals on the north side of Chicago. Neither the volume nor the intensity of this traffic is sufficient to require a double-track rail operation. Waukegan is suggested as the most northerly terminal for either type of service.

About 70% of all North Shore riding and about 52% of the passenger revenue was generated on trips with origin and destination in the sections Waukegan to Chicago or Mundelein to Chicago.

A brief description of the suggested operating plans is included below:

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THROUGH RAIL OPERATION
PLAN I (Temporary phase before modernization)
Waukegan-Chicago Route - A RAIL SERVICE with present cars operating between a north terminal at Washington Street (Edison Ct., Waukegan and Roosevelt Road elevated station in downtown Chicago.
 
Mundelein-Libertyville Shuttle - A BUS SERVICE via Highway 176 from a loop terminal in Mundelein to Lake Bluff station on the main line.

 

PLAN II (Modernized operation)
Waukegan-Chicago Route - A RAIL SERVICE with modern, high-speed cars operating between a north terminal at Washington Street, Waukegan, and Roosevelt Road elevated station in downtown Chicago. All stations north of Howard Street would be provided with high-level platforms similar to CTA stations.
 
Mundelein-Libertyville Shuttle - A BUS SERVICE via Highway 176 from a loop terminal in Mundelein to Lake Bluff with an intermediate stop at a new station near the present South Upton junction.
BUS - ELEVATED OPERATION
PLAN III (Provides flexible routings in the suburban areas)
Waukegan-Chicago Route - An EXPRESS BUS SERVICE operating between downtown Waukegan and Kimball (Ravenswood) elevated station, largely via Genesee Street in Waukegan and via Sheridan Road in North Chicago and Lake Bluff, Highway 176, U.S. Highway 4l, Edens Expressway, and Elston and Lawrence Avenues in Chicago.
 
Mundelein-Chicago Route - An EXPRESS BUS SERVICE operating between downtown Mundelein and Kimball (Ravenswood) elevated station, routed via Highway 176, the Illinois Tollway, Waukegan Road, Dundee Road, Frontage Road, Willow Road, Edens Expressway, and Elston and Lawrence Avenues in Chicago.
 
Glenview-Chicago Route - A LOCAL EXPRESS BUS SERVICE operating from Glenview Road and Harms Road (Glenview) via Harms Road, Harrison Street, Cicero Avenue, Oakton Street, McCormick Boulevard, and Howard Street to Howard elevated station. Northbound buses would operate via Howard Street, McCormick Boulevard, Oakton Street, Cicero Avenue, Glenview Road, Hibbard Road and Glenview Road to Harms Road.

If and when the suggested combination bus terminal and parking garage is built over the Northwest rapid transit route at Edens Expressway near Montrose Avenue, bus routes would contact rapid transit here with a substantial time saving for downtown riders.

While most present North Shore riders would undoubtedly prefer the through rail service to downtown Chicago, modernization of the rail operation will require a much greater capital outlay and very probably a larger annual operating subsidy than the bus-rail service.

 

CAPITAL OUTLAY AND OPERATING SUBSIDY REQUIREMENTS

The North Shore management has long considered purchase of new rolling stock and modernization of certain other segments of the property essential to mere retention of passenger traffic in this highly competitive area. However, the small margin of profit and worsening load factor of the passenger traffic would not support the large capital outlay required.

Any plans for CTA operation of service in this area should include provision for modernizing the rolling stock and other transportation facilities; hence, we have included rough estimates of the present cost of such modernization and call attention to the necessity of arranging for operating subsidies which may be necessary even after full modernization, with the operating company relieved of all fixed charges on the investment.

Modernization Cost - Modernization of the North Shore system, either as a high speed rail operation from Waukegan south or development of a more flexible express bus service operating to CTA rapid transit terminals in Chicago, will require substantial capital funds for new rolling stock and other facilities.

The large capital outlay under Plan II is due chiefly to the high cost of modern cars, improved train control, new high-level platforms, and to needed track changes. The capital outlay is smaller under Plan II due chiefly to less suburban route mileage, the lower cost of buses, and to the expected

Purchase or Lease of North Shore Rail Facilities - Modernization under Plan II above must be preceded by purchase or long-term lease of the North Shore right-of-way and other transportation facilities needed for the operation, and, of course, an operating agreement must be worked out with CTA. The cost of acquiring the necessary North Shore land and other facilities for operation of service by CTA under Plans I and II would be subject to negotiation between the railway and the purchasing agency. However, the railway company estimated the salvage value of "Road and Equipment" items in excess of $6,200,000 for the entire system in a statement filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission August 7, 1958, in connection with their request for authority to discontinue operation. The land was valued at $4,048,697 in this statement.

Under Plan III no part of the North Shore property would be required for passenger service. With this plan, CTA would provide the rolling stock necessary to serve the passengers on its rapid transit routes and on the short GLENVIEW BUS ROUTE (CTA would be compensated for this capital expenditure through collection of its regular fares), while another agency would furnish the rolling stock and the necessary housing and maintenance facilities for the two major bus routes.

As an alternate approach to CTA operation of the two major bus routes, possibly the Waukegan-North Chicago Transit Company with even less financial assistance could purchase buses, expand their maintenance facilities and operate the MUNDELEIN and WAUKEGAN express bus services under Plan III. This company, like the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railway, is owned by Susquehanna Corporation. The Waukegan Company had a fleet of thirty buses together with bus housing and maintenance facilities in 1957.

Waukegan is the most logical basing point for such bus service. Very probably most of the North Shore trainmen, maintenance men and other operating personnel live in the Waukegan-Highwood area, and many should be interested in employment with such a bus operation.

Annual Operating Subsidy - If CTA operates either of these services, arrangements must also be made for providing any operating subsidy required for the service. The amount of such subsidy can be expected to fluctuate from year to year with gross receipts, labor costs and maintenance expenditures. The necessary subsidy would undoubtedly be greater with the rail operation than with an express bus service, and we have no assurance that the revenue produced by either type operation can fully cover operating expenses, even with a fully modernized system.

If the rail operation is modernized as outlined under Plan II, around $300,000 must be expended initially or over a period of years to cover deferred maintenance on the fixed transportation facilities retained south of Waukegan. The North Shore management, in its reply to a questionnaire from the Interstate Commerce Commission August 7, 1958, estimated the deferred maintenance on the entire present system at $2,495,305, including $825,000 on passenger cars. These are considered to be conservative estimates of the deferred maintenance today.

Plan III offers service to present North Shore patrons from Waukegan south with minimum capital outlay and operating subsidy by another agency, due in part to the fact that CTA would provide some of the passenger service (including new rolling stock, if necessary) by merely expanding service over its present elevated routes and by a short extension of one bus line. The "bus Plan" also offers flexibility with respect to extensions and midline routings, very helpful to a growing area, yet not readily accomplished with a rail operation.

 

DISCUSSION

Traffic and service

Passenger traffic on the present North Shore system has averaged around 14,000 riders per day (seven-day basis) since the Shore Line route was discontinued in July 1955. The North Shore checks of March 23 to 29, 1958, indicate a daily average of 13,325 passengers last spring.

As a rough measure of present North Shore passenger traffic and the rather light service required, we find that the aggregate of all passengers riding at the maximum load point over 24 hours could be accommodated by operating merely:

  • 22 six-car trains, making one round trip each, on weekdays,
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  • 11 six-car trains, making one round trip each, on Saturdays, and
    . 
  • 9 six-car trains, making one round trip each, on Sundays.

If the rail service operated only between Chicago and points north as far as Waukegan, we estimate that the corresponding service requirement would be only 20 six-car trains on weekdays, 9 six-car trains on Saturdays, and 7 six-car trains on Sundays and holidays. The basis of both computations is 50-seat cars with seats provided for all passengers. This represents a very light traffic and service for a double-track rail operation on private right-of-way at the present high costs of maintenance and operation of such facilities.

While the volume of passenger traffic has held up well during recent years, changes in the pattern of travel are increasing the cost of providing service. There has been a slow but steady shift in the character of North Shore riding over a period of years from interurban and intercity traffic to predominantly suburban travel in and out of Chicago. This has brought greater concentration of travel during rush periods, lighter midday and evening travel on weekdays, and a general reduction in Saturday and Sunday riding.

The predominantly suburban pattern of present weekday travel greatly limits the amount of service obtained from the rolling stock owned with the result that the 75 modern cars suggested for purchase under Plan II (at a cost of $87,000 or $94,000 each without air conditioning) would operate an average of only four hours per day on a seven-day-week basis in serving the "Illinois" riders of last March. While 75 cars, including spares, are suggested for purchase under this plan, only five cars would be scheduled midday on weekdays if the present traffic levels are maintained after modernization. Rush-period car requirements have been held down by planning seats for only 77% of the rush-period riders at the maximum load point inbound in the morning and outbound in the evening.

 

Competitive Situation

Competitive Facilities - The North Shore passenger service has operated in close competition with other railroads for many years. Prior to July 1955, the Shore Line route closely paralleled the North Western Railway service in the well-populated area adjacent to Lake Michigan between Waukegan and Chicago. Since that date all North Shore passenger service has operated over the Skokie Valley route, roughly midway between the North Western and Milwaukee suburban routes. Less frequent train service is operated on these diesel-powered services than on the North Shore system during non-rush periods on weekdays and on weekends. Generally, the passenger's total travel time to points in downtown Chicago will be slightly shorter via North Shore service.

The North Western line now has some competitive advantage on certain trips where it operates modern double-deck, air-conditioned cars. This road has promised more air-conditioned rolling stock if a requested fare increase is granted. Air-conditioned suburban cars have been operated by the North Western and Burlington railroads in the Chicago area for two years with a generally good reaction from the patrons. In view of this local experience and the general trend toward air-conditioned rolling stock elsewhere in the country, we have included air conditioning on half the new cars in developing the capital requirements for a modernized "North Shore" rail service.

Dempster station is the only one of the ten North Shore stations between Lake Bluff and Howard Street on this Skokie Valley line that is located in a well-populated area; however, the territory around this station is also served by bus routes operating into Chicago. Twelve of the twenty North Shore stations, Waukegan to Howard and Mundelein to Knollwood, both inclusive, are within one and one-quarter miles of a North Western or Milwaukee railway station.

North Shore service competes with private autos over its entire system, particularly south of Lake Bluff where the route is closely paralleled by major highways, including "limited access" roads. Within two or three months the Tri-State Tollway will be completed as a bypass around Chicago. This may reduce truck and auto traffic on U.S. Highway 4 1, Edens Expressway and Waukegan Road, making these facilities more competitive with North Shore service during rush and non-rush periods. Automobile competition will become more serious in the North Shore territory in about two years when the combination of Edens and Northwest Expressways will provide a fast motor route into downtown Chicago.

Competitive Fares - A study of the principal fares charged by the North Shore, North Western and Milwaukee suburban services in the area, Waukegan to Chicago, shows present North Shore rates generally higher than rates on the competitive services. This precludes a substantial increase in passenger revenue by increasing fares. In general, North Western fares are below North Shore levels by 10% or more, while the fares to competitive stations on the Milwaukee Railway service are generally lower by 25% or more, since their suburban fares were reduced by court order a few months ago.

Both the North Western and Milwaukee roads have petitions for higher suburban fares pending. If these increases are granted, some traffic would be diverted to competing services, including the North Shore system. However, traffic diverted to the North Shore service would be chiefly rush period commuter riding which would add to the present weekday rush peaks and, therefore, be costly to serve.

It is probably that with high-level station platforms and modern rolling stock, specially designed for this service, a considerable reduction in North Shore wage costs could be made by employing zone fares rather than the present point-to-point fares employed more generally along the North Shore routes. Such a plan would simplify the fare structure, reduce the manpower requirements on multiple-car trains and make one-man-car operation more practical outside of rush periods.

In modernizing the rolling stock of the North Shore rail service, it is suggested that approximately 12 one-man cars be purchased with the motorman's cab designed so the operator could collect fares as passengers enter at station stops during light traffic periods. This should also effect a significant reduction in manpower requirements and labor costs.

 

Freight Traffic and Service

During 1957 the North Shore Railway delivered close to 10,000 carloads of freight to "in-plant" sidings within Illinois. After deducting nonrecurring traffic of around 1850 cars for Illinois Tollroad construction and somewhat over 1400 cars delivered to companies ~who could have received these shipments directly from other carriers, there remains approximately 6400 carloads of "continuing" freight traffic delivered to plants depending entirely upon the North Shore Railway for direct freight service. This volume averages approximately 25 carloads per day on a five-day basis.

Study of this freight traffic and alternate service facilities indicates that a few of the firms now receiving frequent freight shipments could be served by the North Western Railway if they were authorized to perform switching operations over North Shore tracks and sidings. The study disclosed that all other companies now receiving direct freight deliveries by North Shore could receive shipments from another railway on team-track sidings within two miles of their respective plants.

Certain of the freight sidings serving plants or construction projects on the North Shore routes were financed by the industries under agreements providing that part of the siding cost would be amortized by credits against the freight handled. At the end of August 1958, the North Shore Railway still held unamortized deposits of six industries aggregating approximately $47,000.

The present freight operations are considered profitable by the North Shore management. A comparison of the income and expenses of the railway divided between freight and passenger service for the year ended June 30, 1958, indicates that the systemwide freight operations grossed approximately $1,060,000, while profits on the freight service subsidized the passenger operations by approximately $350,000 during the period.

We cannot recommend operation of regular freight service by CTA over the main line, Waukegan to Chicago, chiefly for the following reasons:

much of the freight enters or leaves the system over steam railway connections on the Mundelein branch, which cannot be recommended for rail passenger service because of the light traffic volume and the high cost of rehabilitation, while retention of this track for freight operations alone does not appear practical;

the remaining freight traffic (Waukegan to Howard) would be too light for efficient handling; and

development of a substantial freight business could not be justified, even if it were possible. Frequent freight train movements and the handling of freight switching service on the mainline tracks serving high-speed passenger trains on close headways would be impractical since both the safety and regularity of the passenger service would suffer.

 

Signaling and Train Control

Most of the North Shore trackage is equipped with block signals consisting only of informative visual indications displayed by wayside signals and requiring action on the part of the motorman to slow down the train or bring it to a stop in conformity with the indication displayed.

While this type of signaling complies with Federal and State requirements for speeds up to the maximum levels of the present and proposed operations, experience has shown that visual indications alone are not sufficient to prevent accidents, but that some form of train stop is necessary to provide added protection.

It is the policy of CTA to require automatic train-stopping devices on new track and to include these devices when new signal installations are made on existing track. Therefore, it is recommended that, if CTA operates the rail service suggested in Plan II, the present North Shore signaling be modified to conform to this policy on the trackage between Washington Street, Waukegan, and Howard Street, Chicago. The proposed operation of one-man cars in high-speed service is a further reason for augmenting the present train controls and crossing protection. Peak train speeds on CTA routes are now at least 20 miles per hour under the present top speed of North Shore cars.

The Electrical Department estimated that an expenditure of approximately $3,430,000 would be required to provide a system of informative visual indications displayed by wayside or carborne signals, supplemented by some device which enforces obedience to restrictive signal indications by automatically applying the brakes if the motorman fails to act upon entering a section of track beyond a restrictive signal indication. Also included in the above cost of providing improved protection on the rail operation retained under Plan II are interlocking at the new Waukegan terminal and two other locations ($625,000) and new automatic crossing gates and signals at several locations where obsolete installations exist today (approx. $500,000).

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No action was taken as a result of the 1958 CTA report. The abandonment process was a lengthy one, continuing over the next several years. Given some changes in conditions in the interim, however (including a fare increase granted the Railway in June 1960), the CTA staff was ordered to update cost estimates and other data, which it did in a review report dated February 21, 1961:

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Map of Plan I Through Rail Operations
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REVIEW OF THE 1958-1959 STUDIES OF POSSIBLE CTA OPERATIONS IN CHICAGO NORTH SHORE & MILWAUKEE RAILWAY TERRITORY

 

While it is not possible to update the rather detailed North Shore Railway study of October 1958 within a few days, a brief study of changes in traffic and unit costs over the intervening period suggests how the capital outlay and operating results would change if the operating plans described in this study were put into effect now.

During June of last year the North Shore Railway increased practically all fares on its passenger service. This factor, combined with the business recession and growing automobile competition, has reduced traffic chiefly during off-peak periods.

 

Traffic

Close examination of the weekday traffic volumes will show how the light off-peak riding has declined further over this 28 month period. However, rush-direction riding during rash periods (which controls rolling stock and manpower requirements) has held up over this period. Now, 65% of all weekday traffic at the maximum load point is concentrated in rush periods - three hours inbound in the morning plus three hours outbound in the afternoon.

As a rough measure of the present light traffic and service needs of the North Shore line in this area we find that the aggregate of all passengers riding through the maximum load section (between Dempster and Howard stations) over the 21 hours of operation could be accommodated by operating merely:

  • 20 six-car trains, making one round trip each, on weekdays.

This is very light traffic for a double track rail service operating on private right-of-way.

Future traffic prospects of any rail service on the North Shore right-of-way south of Waukegan are slightly less promising now than indicated in 1958 since the competing North Western service will be fully equipped and the Milwaukee suburban service largely equipped with modern air-conditioned cars by the end of this year.

 

Capital Requirements

The original study sets $11,700,000 as the approximate outlay required to modernize this system with a rail operation south from Waukegan, according to Plan II. This does not include payment for those parts of the North Shore property around which the improvements would be built. Labor and material costs have risen during this two-year period, and it is now estimated that this modernization would cost upwards of $13,000,000 at today's labor rates and material costs. Air conditioning of all 77 cars needed to compete effectively with the North Western and Milwaukee railroad suburban services would increase this outlay about $330,000.

 

Operating Costs

Our original studies of possible CTA operations in the North Shore territory south of Waukegan include no estimate of income and operating expenses under Plans II and III. However, because of the high cost of serving this suburban traffic with a very poor load factor on weekdays and little patronage on Saturdays and Sundays, some operating expense subsidy would probably be needed, even if the property were purchased by another agency, modernized at their expense and turned over to CTA free of way and structure maintenance and renewal, real estate taxes and all debt service.

Since the original studies of about two years ago there have been modest increases in CTA labor costs and in the cost of most materials required in railway maintenance and operation, hence, our cost of providing a specific rail service on the North Shore right-of-way would be higher now than in 1958.

Continuation of the high weekday rush hour peaks and the decline in traffic during other periods of the day, would result in less efficient operation in 1961 than at the time of the original study, hence, operating deficits would appear more likely.


To reflect the revised financial figures, the proposal was updated over the next few months. It was also "fine-tuned" to bring the projected system in line with changes in operating conditions since the original report. The new document was dated June 23, 1961:

 

GENERAL OPERATING PLAN FOR A WAUKEGAN-CHICAGO RAIL SERVICE IF OFFERED BY CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY

 

Portion of Present CNS&M Ry. Studied:

The study area was limited to that portion of the present CNS&M Ry. operations within Cook and Lake counties of Illinois between Roosevelt Road, Chicago to and including Washington Street, Waukegan plus such additional trackage within the next few hundred feet beyond as is required for equipment storage.

In general, curtailed system 'X' was used in the collection of data about traffic patterns and ticket sales for the commuter territory of existing CNS&M Ry. The railway had its conductors report the boarding and alighting at every stop for a complete week in November.

Having this data in hand, and after making a thorough field inspection, it would be our recommendation as part of a modernization plan to retain most of the present stations, but to reduce capital and operating costs by eliminating Harmswoods, Highmoor and Sheridan Elms stations; also all local flag stops between N. Chicago junction and Waukegan. The stations at Lake Bluff and N. Chicago would be relocated to more advantageous places. On the Mundelein branch rail service would be replaced by a shuttle bus service, and a large parking area at present South Upton would encourage park-'n'-ride traffic to board the main route service directly.

 

Load Characteristics of this Possible Retained System:

The traffic of curtailed system X as redeveloped for system 'Y' taking into account the change in traffic up to March 1961 as reported by CNS&M Ry. and weighted for the proposed station rearrangement, is summarized elsewhere in this report. As a crosscheck and also for later convenience in determining schedule requirements, the same underlying data was also worked up to show the accumulated passenger demand for curtailed system 'Y' at the maximum load point, which would be Howard Street.

 

General Type of Modernized Operation of this Plan:

In modernization of this Waukegan-Chicago rail service, redesign away from interurban and railroad operating characteristics to those of a high performance transit system would be in keeping with the change that has occurred in the fundamental nature of the traffic demand on this property. For this commuter service, high performance, lightweight cars suitable for remote door control and high-level platform loading would operate in trains in the rush period and mostly as single cars at other times.

To achieve this type of operation at minimum operating cost will, in our opinion, require substantial simplification of the fare structure. This structure presently includes about twenty-three different rate bases. The price of a ride within each such basis is more or less proportional to the mileage between origin and destination, so that there are between 1000 and 2000 distinctive rates currently in effect within the Illinois area of curtailed system X.

Conductors and collectors are required to sell only the one-way and round-trip rides, but even so, this now involves 360 or more individual rates within curtailed system 'X'. The time required for each sale by a trainman can become quite long while he searches through the tariffs to determine the fare, makes changes and prepares the cash fare receipt.

These complexities effectively limit the productivity of personnel engaged in fare collection. Therefore, if the present fare structure were retained, the number of agents required for curtailed system X would be about the same as now provided at the corresponding stations. The number of trainmen for each possible train length would be the same as now used. Even in the passenger accounting division of CNS&M, where no less than 23 clerical job titles exist, a considerable staff would need to be retained.

 

Suggested Simplified Rate Structure

Very substantial cost savings would be possible in the predominantly commuter transit service of proposed curtailed system Y if operated with a greatly simplified fare structure. Without attempting to solve in detail all of the technical problems raised by such a change, we envisage an alternative fare structure of only about 25 rates, retaining in principle a discount for the regular subscriber.

To do this, the system would be divided into five zones. The rates available would include:

a) a cash fare between each two of the zones and a fare within any of the suburban zones,
 
b) a weekly rate good for an unlimited number of rides between Chicago and each of the four suburban zones, and
 
c) a monthly rate also good for an unlimited number of rides between Chicago and each of the four suburban zones.

The weekly and monthly rates would take the form of flash permit cards good only for the person to whom issued, with an initial flat purchase price paid in advance plus a nominal use charge paid each time a ride is taken. This plan would control abuse of the cars at Chicago stations where suburban and rapid transit trains must share loading platforms. The plan would also provide a built-in discount proportional to use.

It should be understood that the proposed rate structure presented is illustrative. It is certainly not the only alternative possible and could be modified in certain respects without losing the intended benefits of lower administrative cost.

 

Fare-Collection Equipment and Techniques:

Again, there are undoubtedly variations or even alternative techniques that might be adopted, however, in the available time we have gone only far enough in this development to determine a feasible procedure under which this suburban rail line could be changed to transit type operation.

Under this plan, however, it is our opinion that it would be feasible to operate single cars with one-man crews, short trains with one-man cars coupled and rush-period trains with a conductor or collector for each three or four cars.

 

Estimated Revenue from Rail Service:

The average revenue per passenger ride on the portion of the present CNS&M Ry. represented by curtailed system X is estimated to be $0.87. This was determined by analysis of a detailed summary of all CNS&M passenger receipts for the month of March 1961, as furnished by that company. Our analysis gave weight to all the rides sold in every class of cash sale or ticket.

Assuming that the present fare structure within Illinois were retained but that otherwise curtailed system 'Y' were in operation, the probable annual revenue from rail passenger service would be $2,620,000.

We have not attempted to estimate the revenue that would be yielded by the possible fare structure proposed in this study. However, the general objective would be to produce average revenue per passenger of 870 and in the final plan it is assumed that adjustments in individual rates could be made to produce this.

 

WAUKEGAN-CHICAGO RAIL LINE

 

Possible Fare Collection Equipment and Ticket Forms

Ticket-Issuing Register for Use of Suburban Agents in Stations and Operators on Trains:

These machines would be of the cash register type and would issue a ticket, recording the customer's origin, destination, fare paid, tax paid, date and serial number. Color-coding of paper used in these tickets would indicate whether issued on car or in station and, if latter, the zone of issue. The same machine, or a similar one, would be used to issue color-coded weekly or monthly flash permit cards at designated stations. These machines furnish a printed duplicate of all transactions for auditing purposes.

 

Multi-Fare Register for Conductor:

A cash fare collected by a conductor on a multiple-car train would be registered on a multi-fare register, similar to those currently used by CTA conductors, with values of the three registers appropriate to this application. The conductor would issue hatcheck type identification slips to the cash fare customer corresponding to the cash fare registered and would lift these slips at destination.

 

Exchange Ticket:

At certain CTA stations served by North Shore Line trains, exchange coupons are now sold by the regular CTA agent at the current CTA rapid transit cash rate for admittance to platform and for use as a credit against the balance of fare due. By adding a time limit, improper use for both a CTA and suburban ride would be controlled. The use of exchange coupons to serve as a credit toward either the cash fare or flash-card use charge would then be widened to more Chicago stations and broader periods.

These exchange tickets would be issued from ticket machines similar to those described above, but with time of issue added in the printing operation.

 

Ticket Holder in Cars:

A ticket clip on the back or side of the passenger's seat, as used on suburban trains, would be utilized in the checking operation required during multiple-car operation.

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Plans for modernized Woodridge Station

Drawing of CTA single-unit "suburban" car

Drawing of CTA double-unit "suburban" car

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WAUKEGAN-CHICAGO RAIL LINE
(Curtailed System 'Y')

 

Possible Passenger Transactions in Fare Collection System

 

I. Passenger pays for single ride at time of use by one of these procedures:

a. Buys ticket from suburban agent at suburban station.
 
b. Buys ticket from suburban agent at certain CTA stations.
 
c. Buys exchange ticket from CTA agent at certain CTA stations and surrenders exchange ticket with balance of payment to buy ticket on train.
 
d. Buys ticket from operator on one man car.
 
e. Pays cash to conductor on train.

On one-man car, operator would inspect and punch ticket when passenger enters. He would lift ticket when passenger alights from car.

On long train, conductor would lift and punch ticket before arriving at next zone limit after passenger boards. Color-coded hat check would be used by conductor to identify destination zone of passenger and this check would be lifted before arriving at destination zone.

 

II. Passenger pays for weekly or monthly Bash permit card only at designated stations, at designated hours and days. Pays additional use charge at time of use by one of these procedures:

a. Pays agent at station and receives exchange ticket.
 
b. Pays conductor or operator on train. On one-man cars, operator would inspect flash card and lift exchange ticket or collect use charge in cash when passenger enters cars. He would again inspect flash card when passenger alights.

On long train, conductor would inspect flash card and lift exchange ticket or collect use charge in cash before train leaves originating zone. Conductor would also inspect flash cards in ticket holders at other zone lines en route.


The Results:

The original plan came to naught. Although the above plan was carefully researched and well-written, there was not federal or state funding at the time to preserve even the core passenger services of the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad. Thus, the North Shore Line ceased all service on a cold January morning in 1963, 68 years after beginning service. The railroad ceased operations, the facilities were abandoned or sold, and most of the cars were burned and destroyed.

Some North Shore service was, however, resurrected. A federally funded demonstration project, sponsored by the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Transportation Administration, restored transit service from Howard Street to Dempster Street along the old Skokie Valley Route in April 1964. The new "Skokie Swift" Route (today known commonly as the CTA's® Yellow Line) was a nonstop shuttle rapid transit line that was integrated into the CTA's® "L"TM system. It was tailored toward commuters, with a large park-n-ride at the Dempster terminus. Although the original project was only to have a one year duration, the Swift was a resounding success and has now outlived its rapid transit predecessor -- the Niles Center Line, which operated from 1925 to 1948 -- having received new rolling stock and a new station at Dempster in 1994.

Additionally, prospects for the line's extension farther north along the old Skokie Valley right-of-way are not dead by any means. There have been several plans to extend the Skokie Swift north to Old Orchard (at Golf Road) and as far as Highland Park (Lake-Cook Road or Briergate). This extension has been in several Chicago-area transportation plans, including the 1995 Transportation System Plan, the Year 2000 Transportation System Development Plan, the Year 2010 Transportation System Development Plan and Destination 2020. The extension has not yet been constructed, but it is still periodically resurrected. Skokie village officials hoped a visit from U.S. Senator Richard Durbin in September 2000 would eventually help them advance plans to expand Skokie Swift service. This project was also among those being strongly considered in early 2002 for pursuit of federal funding by CTA® in the near future (see story in Articles section). Hopefully, this plan may yet come to fruition.

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Map of Curtailed System 'Y'
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* The Skokie Valley Route was opened in 1926; the Shore Line had been abandoned in 1955. -Ed.