News & Reviews News Wire Metra asks regulators to order CP to provide more merger-related data

Metra asks regulators to order CP to provide more merger-related data

By Bill Stephens | January 3, 2022

Chicago commuter agency wants independent review of CPKC capacity projections

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Commuter trains side-by-side at station in snow
Metra Milwaukee District North trains meet at Deerfield, Ill.., on Dec. 30, 2021, on a line shared with Canadian Pacific freight traffic. Metra is seeking more information from CP on traffic impacts of its merger with Kansas City Southern. (Trains: David Lassen)

WASHINGTON — Metra has asked federal regulators to force Canadian Pacific to hand over more documents that would help it evaluate how the proposed CP-Kansas City Southern merger may affect commuter service in the Chicago area.

Metra, in a filing with the Surface Transportation Board, said CP omitted necessary documents, provided dated versions of other documents, and in other cases has shared information in computer formats that the commuter agency cannot use to judge CP’s traffic and capacity analysis.

“CP’s refusal to provide the documents Metra has requested seriously jeopardize Metra’s ability to adequately review and respond to the impacts of the proposed transaction by the Board’s deadline of Feb. 28, 2022,” Metra said in a Dec. 31 filing.

Metra owns and operates commuter service over two routes CP uses in the Chicago area: The Milwaukee District-North Line and the Milwaukee District-West Line.

In its merger application, CP projects that the average number of trains per day over the MD-West Line will rise to 11 from three. CP says there’s “ample capacity” on the MD-W line and that “Metra service will not be adversely affected” by increases in freight traffic after the KCS merger.

But Metra says it has a duty to independently evaluate CP’s assessment. Metra is asking the STB to force CP to provide track charts; station name and location information; track elevation, curvature, and grade data; speed limits; track schematics covering grade crossings and interchange locations; rail weight, turnout sizes, and switch and signal data; and yard configurations.

14 thoughts on “Metra asks regulators to order CP to provide more merger-related data

  1. Metra dispatches the Milwaukee West line. I was under the impression that they owned the line also. Unless of course they want to confirm that the data used by CP matches their own data.

    1. Do you have evidence that Metra has dispatching authority for the the Milw West? Yes, they do own it and the train crews and Mech support personnel are Metra employees. And Metra is responsible for all Engineering Dept tasks.

    2. From what I understand, Metra owns the line but they contract dispatching to Canadian Pacific.

  2. From Bill Stephens’ Newswire article of 11/2/2021 “CP and KCS project dramatic rise in daily train counts”, and my own knowledge of the territory across Indiana and the Chicago rail network, traffic to/from eastern Canada will go through Chicago as follows: Via the NS from the Detroit area to the Chicago Line at Butler, IN (CP358). Routings from the NS can be 1) Via the BRC between South Chicago (CP509) and the Metra Milw West at Cicero West Interlocking or 2) Via the IHB from East Chicago (CP503) and the Metra Milw West at Tower B12/Edgington Interlockings at the east end of Bensenville Yard. Tower B12/Edgington is equipped with crossovers that directly access the mainline tracks of the Milw West so trains with no work at Bensenville Yard can bypass it albeit there will probably be crew changes out on the main line.

  3. I have not heard about any plans to reroute traffic to/from Milwaukee and CP could do this with or without a KCS merger. I think this is about additional freight traffic to/from KCS at Kansas City operating on the Metra line west of Bensenville.

  4. The best I can make of this is a significant change. For many years I assume going back to Milwaukee Road days, freights down from Milwaukee peeled off at Tecny (north of Glenview) onto the UP (former CNW) freight line which winds west of O’Hare Airport. Seems that under the proposal, many freights would instead continue into Chicago and turn west onto the Metra Milwaukee District West line – thus eleven freight trains rather than three into (or out of) Chicago.

    Being that this line was considered too congested to add another Hiawatha pair without capital improvements, let alone eight freights, yes it’s a big deal.

  5. Basically, Metra wants the same raw data CP used to calculate the cross impacts and plug it into their own model. If CP used erroneous or outdated data to support their post merger assertions, poor decisions would be in order.

    CP seems to not have asked Metra for this data for their compilation.

    So whose data are they using in front of the STB anyway?

  6. Very interesting angle for the photo that is attached to this article. Even though I grew up in Deerfield I did not recognize the location initially and had to work at it. The photo is of our beloved station, but is either taken northward from across the Deerfield Rd viaduct or less likely south looking from just north of the station


  7. Mr. Shigley: Do you know who owns the rights-of-way and trackage that comprise the Metra Milwaukee North and Milwaukee West and has all the responsibility for engineering (track and signal)? I wish Mr. Stephens had cited the entity.

    1. I had the same question as James, the answer to your question appears to be in the story “Metra owns and operates commuter service over two routes”

    2. If I understand Bill Stephens’ “Metra owns and operates”, he is saying that Metra “owns” the service but doesn’t contract out the “operation” of it as VRE, MBTA, and I think SFRTA does with TriRail. The train crews and Mech Dept shop personnel are all employed by Metra. What I want Mr. Stephens to tell everyone is who owns the commuter territory ROW and trackage and is responsible for all Engineering functions from end of Amtrak ownership at the north end of CUS to Rondout, Rondout-Fox Lake, and Tower A5-to just west of Big Timber Road depot. And I want him to tell us who dispatches all that territory.

  8. I don’t understand the last paragraph. If Metra operates service on those two lines, shouldn’t it already have all that data? Surely it would need it to understand how to run its commuter trains.

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