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Alternate Service Schedules
First Published - 03/19/2020 - 11:56AM

Metra will begin operating an alternate weekday schedule on Monday, March 23, to adjust for the reduced number of riders due to school closures, work-from-home mandates and other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The alternate schedules can be viewed here. There will be changes for every line except the Heritage Corridor, which will operate its normal schedule. Where we are able to, we will maintain the number of cars on trains to allow for social distancing. On a line-by-line basis, Metra is monitoring ridership and may further reduce service to meet the ridership demands. The reduced schedules will remain in effect until health officials deem the crisis has passed and/or ridership begins to return to normal. Metra will operate on regular weekend schedules. Please use the Ventra app to purchase tickets. The app can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play.

Last Updated - 04/01/2020 - 2:59PM

Metra issues RFP for new railcars that allows for alternative designs

(March 20, 2019) - 

Metra today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for at least 200 new railcars, and it is allowing manufacturers to propose alternative car designs that may address Metra’s needs better than the bi-level gallery cars that have been used in Chicago for nearly 70 years.

“We are excited to open this procurement up and explore all the alternative designs that may be proposed,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Safety, reliability and an improved, modern passenger experience will be important aspects to Metra in this procurement.”

Proposals will be due in August and Metra hopes to finalize a deal by the end of the year. The order will be for at least 200 new cars, with options to buy up to 200 more if funding is available.

One important consideration will be to increase seating capacity. Since yard space and platform length currently limit the number and length of trains that can operate, increasing the seating capacity is a relatively fast and efficient way to meet increased ridership demand within our physical confines.

In addition, the interior design of the seats, aisles, stairwells and doors must create the most efficient passenger flow possible. The seats must have arm rests and cup holders, and manufacturers have the option of proposing features such as USB ports, foot rests and tray tables with the seats. Heated floors also can be proposed as an option.

The new cars also must include bike racks for two to five bikes, a camera/DVR system for the passenger area and LED lighting. Onboard Wi-Fi may be proposed as an option; but if the proposal does not include Wi-Fi, there must be provisions for it to be added later.

Some alternative car designs now available have lower, platform-level boarding that could benefit ADA customers and families with strollers when boarding and detraining. Others have different side-loading door configurations that could potentially decrease the time it takes passengers to board and exit the train, which could also speed train trips.

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