Metra Train (Photo by: chicagocrusader.com)

By Chicago Crusader

Metra this summer will increase weekend service as a pilot program on two lines – Rock Island and UP Northwest – to give customers more options to enjoy all the activities that the Chicago area offers.

“Our goal with these new summer weekend schedules is to give our customers along these lines more options and make it easier than ever to ride Metra to the Chicago area’s many summer events and attractions,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Combined with our $10 Weekend Pass and free trips for children aged 11 and younger, these new schedules make Metra the way to travel on summer vacation.”

In a recent survey of Metra riders, a majority of respondents said they wanted more frequent service, as well as faster service, when asked, “Which improvements would cause you to use Metra on the weekends more frequently?” With the summer schedules, Metra is testing whether offering faster and more frequent service will increase ridership and revenue on weekends.

The new weekend schedules begin the weekend of June 1-2 and end Labor Day weekend.

On the Rock Island Line, there are six new inbound and six new outbound trains to provide hourly service on Saturdays. There are no Sunday changes.

On the UP Northwest Line, there are five new inbound and five new outbound trains on Saturdays, and three new inbound and three new outbound trains on Sundays/holidays, including new express trains to and from Arlington Heights.

For full schedule information, go to metrarail.com.

Revised weekday BNSF schedule to start June 3

Metra announced a revised weekday BNSF Line schedule that includes two new trains to relieve crowding on some trains and other minor adjustments. Metra also is adding a train in each direction to the weekend schedule as part of a summer pilot program.

The weekday revisions, which will begin June 3, were made in response to a survey of BNSF riders that was taken earlier this year. Metra tried to accommodate requests from as many survey respondents as possible; however, due to a variety of factors, it was not possible to accommodate everyone or eliminate all crowding on the line. Metra added a five-car train by using equipment from other Metra lines; there is no other equipment available now. In addition, there are capacity constraints in the yards, on the tracks and at Chicago Union Station that prevent Metra and BNSF Railway from adding more trains or cars.

The new schedule can be viewed at metrarail.com and will be distributed at Union Station.

The weekend pilot schedule, which will begin June 8 and end September 2, includes a new inbound train on Saturday that departs from Aurora at 3:20 p.m. and makes stops at Route 59 (3:30 p.m.), Naperville (3:35 p.m.), Lisle (3:41 p.m.), Belmont (3:45 p.m.) and Downers Grove Main Street (3:50 p.m.) before expressing to Chicago Union Station, arriving at 4:23 p.m.

It also includes a new outbound train on Saturday leaving Union Station at 11:40 a.m. and making all the usual Saturday stops to Aurora, arriving at 1:01 p.m.

The Sunday pilot schedule includes a new inbound departure from Aurora at 9:20 a.m., making all normal Sunday stops and arriving at Union Station at 10:47 a.m. There also is a new outbound departure from Union Station at 5:40 p.m., making all the normal Sunday stops and arriving at Aurora at 7:01 p.m.

Metra also added trains to the UP Northwest and Rock Island weekend schedules as part of the summer pilot program.

About Metra

Metra is one of the largest and most complex commuter rail systems in North America, serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in northeastern Illinois. The agency provides service to and from downtown Chicago with 242 stations over 11 routes totaling nearly 500 route miles and approximately 1,200 miles of track. Metra operates nearly 700 trains and provides nearly 290,000 passenger trips each weekday.

This article originally appeared in the Chicago Crusader. 

PRESS ROOM: Metra to boost summer weekend service on two lines

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