Metra reminds Rock Island Line riders that Monday, Aug. 1 marks the launch of its new express midday service that will speed up the trip between suburban stations and downtown Chicago by 15 to 20 minutes
Metra is modifying its scheduled to add three inbound express trains and two outbound express runs during the midday as part of a six-month trial program. The changes were driven by the success of weekend express service launched last year.
The three inbound trains will make all stops from Joliet to Blue Island and then express to the 35th Street/Lou Jones Station or the LaSalle Street Station with the option for passengers to request a flag stop at 35th Street/Lou Jones. Three additional inbound trains will originate in Blue Island, make all stops along the Beverly Branch, stop at Gresham and serve 35th Street/Lou Jones with either a flag stop or scheduled stop. Suburban customers going to a Beverly Branch station and branch riders heading to the suburbs will need to transfer at Blue Island. The schedule has been designed to make that transfer easy and convenient.
Two midday outbound express trains have also been added. These trains will offer express service from LaSalle Street to Blue Island and stations further south with the option of flag stops at 35th Street/Lou Jones. Two midday outbound trains will also accommodate riders along the line’s Beverly Branch. These trains will also make flag stops at 35th Street/Lou Jones. Customers boarding these outbound trains at a Beverly Branch station needing to travel further south can make a convenient transfer at Blue Island.
Customers wishing to make transfers should tell their conductor on the first leg of their trip so their ticket can be marked appropriately. In addition, at stations marked as flag stops, the train will stop to discharge passengers only if the passengers notify the conductor in advance and will stop to pick up passengers only if they are visible to the engineer on the platform.
Ridership will be evaluated before any decision is made to make a permanent change to the Rock Island schedule. The cost of the six-month trial program is being covered by a $140,000 grant from the RTA’s Innovation, Coordination and Enhancement program.
New timetables are available on Rock Island trains and at stations. The new schedule also can be found at metrarail.com.