As Chicagoans return to work and stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, Metra is expanding its service on three lines to meet the needs of its growing ridership. Effective Monday, June 29, Metra will add service on the North Central Service, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines.
The expanded service includes new morning and evening express trains on both the North Central Service and SouthWest Service lines, marking the first time that express service has been available on either rail line.
“Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted service across the Metra system, we’ve used this time as an opportunity to reevaluate our service,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “As the residents of the Chicago region return to their work commutes and Metra ramps up service, we’re examining where and when the demand is, and using this information to make changes that we believe will better serve our customers. That’s why we’re offering these new express trains, which our customers have long requested, as a pilot project. It’s our hope these changes will bring more riders back to our trains as highway traffic increases.”
On the North Central Service, Metra is adding a 6:38 a.m. inbound departure from Antioch. The train will make all stops between Antioch and Buffalo Grove and then express to Western Avenue, arriving at Chicago Union Station at 8:04 a.m. A 5:01 p.m. outbound departure is also being added to the schedule for the evening commute. This train will operate express to Buffalo Grove and arrive in Antioch at 6:29 p.m. The June 29 schedule can be found here.
Three inbound and three outbound trains will be added to the SouthWest Service’s weekday schedule, including a 7:45 a.m. express train departing from the Orland Park/179th Street Station. This train will make all stops from Orland Park/179th Street to Palos Park, expressing to Oak Lawn and then expressing to Chicago Union Station, arriving at 8:43 a.m. Additional trains, departing at 5:10 a.m. and 2:25 p.m., will provide local service between Orland Park/179th Street and Chicago. In the afternoon, Metra is adding a 3:45 p.m. departure from Chicago Union Station. This train will also provide express service to Oak Lawn, then express to Palos Park and make all stops to Manhattan, arriving at 5 p.m. Two additional outbound trains will also serve the line, departing Chicago Union Station at 6:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. The June 29 schedule can be found here.
On the Heritage Corridor, Metra is adding a 7:05 a.m. inbound train from Joliet that arrives at Chicago Union station at 8:12 a.m. In the evening, a 4:50 p.m. departure from Chicago Union Station has been added, arriving in Joliet at 5:56 p.m. The June 29 schedule can be found here.
Alternate weekday schedules for all Metra service can be found here. The schedule set to go into effect on Monday, June 29 can be found here. Riders on the North Central, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor should review the new schedules as there may be changes to departure times as well as the times of intermediate station stops along these routes. Sunday schedules will continue to be used on both weekend days on all lines, including as of Saturday July 4, the Metra Electric Line. Operating Sunday schedules on both weekend days on all lines, means that Saturday service will be suspended on the SouthWest Service Line and the Metra Electric Blue Island Branch Line.
Metra will be prepared to change schedules on all lines to adjust to ridership growth and travel patterns. Metra will continue to closely monitor ridership and will add cars to trains or trains to the schedules to make sure that as ridership grows there will still be plenty of room for physical distancing.
Customers are reminded that Metra is now offering a $10 All-Day Pass. Buying the pass in the Ventra app provides a “Touch Less, Pay Less” option to ride trains safely and affordably. The pass will be available at least through July 31.
Metra is asking its passengers to take responsibility for their own actions. This includes practicing physical distancing, wearing a face covering while riding the train, and staying in their seat and not crowding the aisles or vestibules when the train is approaching their destination. They should also follow all the other CDC recommendations, such as frequent hand washing, covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing, etc.