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View Poll Results: Which region do you prefer when it comes to rail service?
Chicagoland(Chicago) 22 66.67%
Delaware Valley(Philadlephia) 10 30.30%
Tie/Can't decide 1 3.03%
Voters: 33. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Vineland, NJ
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When it comes to rail service both Chicago and Philadelphia are considered one of the best in the country. I know that there have been threads already created about "Chicago vs Philly transit" but I think it would be interesting to just compare the rail service of each city when it comes to public transportation. Which region do you prefer when it comes to rail service?

Some statistics for rail options:
Philadelphia(Delaware Valley)
15 Commuter rail lines (Septa and NJT)
6 trolley lines (Septa)
3 Subway rail lines (Septa and DRPA)
1 heavy rail interurban line (Septa)

File:Philadelphia Transit and Commuter Rail System.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Septa Trolley Map

File:SEPTA Subway-Surface map.png - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Chicago(Chicagoland)
12 Commuter rail lines (Metra and South Shore line)
8 Subway lines (CTA)

Chicago L subway map

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bfVAY1hYwF...icago+0312.jpg

Chicago Metra and South Shore Line map

File:Metra-System.png - Wikimedia Commons

Last edited by gwillyfromphilly; 03-25-2013 at 04:45 PM..
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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As a casual observer, I''ll go with Chicago. Seems like they both have about equal coverage, just Chicago's is a little more "rapid".

But again I am too unfamiliar with this subject to really make a definitive statement - I've never been on PT in Philly and only been on the El about 3-4 times.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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Hard to compare.

Metra is a commuter rail system but most lines would count as heavy rail only the Metra Electric would not.

A few el lines Namely the Yellow and Purple serve the burbs and the Blue, Green, and Pink lines have terminals a short distance into the burbs (i.e. just past city limits).

The south shore line is considered an interurban but there really is a lack of major cities for Chicago to Connect to that are a short distance away and would not count as heavy(it is electric). Granted Metra goes as far north as Kenosha wis. but that is just over the border. Aurora and Joliet are somewhat large cities in IL connected via Metra, but Metra does not go to Rockford. Milwakee is only reached via Amtrack but there are several trains a day.

Chicago has no trolleys.

The El does not cover Chicago past 95th street to the south but Metra Electric sort of picks up some of the slack.

Also that map is a little old, part of the Blue line(the Cermack Branch) is now the Pink line and has weekend service. However it was rerouted so that it runs around the loop and back rather than go into the subway with the Blue line. It basically heads across making no stops to the Green Line's tracks on Lake Street and shares the Ashland, Morgan, and Clinton stops with the green line before heading into the loop.

Last edited by chirack; 03-25-2013 at 07:24 PM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Chicago wins this pretty easily. Commuter rail lines are just that: commuter lines. They're great for long distance trips back to the burbs from work. They're not so useful for making a random trip from Center City to Manayunk to pick up something you spotted on Craigslist.

I guess the trolleys count as "rail," but that's kinda like saying Interstate 95 and someone's driveway are both "roads."

The only city (other than NYC) that matches up well with Chicago when it comes to rail is DC.
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:37 AM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
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As a former Chicagoan who was a fan of the local rail transit (and frequent user of the L and the commuter lines) I am actually a bit blown away by how extenisve SEPTA is (+ the stuff in Jersey).
Philadelphia is a big city, but that system beats Bostons, and is probably on-par with Chicago.

Would you all say that for rail transit, its pretty much NYC area, Philadphia and Chicago, the Boston, then the "aslo-rans'?
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Hard to compare.

Metra is a commuter rail system but most lines would count as heavy rail only the Metra Electric would not.
Why wouldn't the Metra Electric count as heavy rail?

Answer: It does count as heavy rail, along with the South Shore and the CTA Els (despite all running on electricity.)

Last edited by oakparkdude; 03-27-2013 at 09:17 AM..
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Would you all say that for rail transit, its pretty much NYC area, Philadphia and Chicago, the Boston, then the "aslo-rans'?
No. I would put Boston ahead of Philly for rail transit. DC as well. You just can't walk up to the regional rail stations in the middle of the day and jump on. You would need to look up the schedule to find out when the next train is coming. They are not frequent at all outside of rush hour. That's a huge limitation, imo, that places Philly below cities that have more extensive rapid rail systems. There's nothing "rapid" about commuter rail.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:24 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Chicago wins this pretty easily. Commuter rail lines are just that: commuter lines. They're great for long distance trips back to the burbs from work. They're not so useful for making a random trip from Center City to Manayunk to pick up something you spotted on Craigslist.

I guess the trolleys count as "rail," but that's kinda like saying Interstate 95 and someone's driveway are both "roads."

The only city (other than NYC) that matches up well with Chicago when it comes to rail is DC.
I was in West Philly recently and used the trolleys a bunch of times. A bit on the slow side, but I found them pleasant and convenient, though I didn't take it that far out (about 47th street).

Agree about the difference between commuter rail and local rail, but for those that live a short distance from a commuter rail, they're rather useful, especially if you're willing to time your leaving trip. One advantage of Philly's commuter rail is it makes multiple stops in the center city unlike Chicago's which all terminate in separate stations at the edge of the loop. So for many, additional transit or a long walk isn't required from the commuter rail end point in Philly. Those taking the commuter rail in Chicago, especially for non-work related trips, might have a more cumberous trip.
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Agree about the difference between commuter rail and local rail, but for those that live a short distance from a commuter rail, they're rather useful, especially if you're willing to time your leaving trip.
Here's one situation where commuter rail is totally useless:

Wife calls: Hey honey, did you turn the stove off?

You: f*ck
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Old 03-27-2013, 09:32 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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checking Manayunk to Center City, google maps suggests the 27 bus rather than the train. Bus looks a bit slower [Bajan probably can say how much worse it is in reality] but frequency is much higher. The 27 bus uses I-95 for much of the way so its speed is probably comparable outside of rush hour. Probably cheaper, too. Perhaps a downward cycle occurs: few take the train because the bus comes more often, train frequency declines, since few take the train.

Levering St to S 16th St - Google Maps

Last edited by nei; 03-27-2013 at 10:09 AM..
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