Metra officials, CN Railway representatives and area leaders who campaigned for more service on the Heritage Corridor line today celebrated the inaugural run of a new mid-afternoon departure from Chicago Union Station to Joliet.
On hand for the first 2:45 p.m. train were Metra Board Chairman Martin Oberman; Metra Board Members Jack Partelow, Norman Carlson, Ken Koehler and Brian Reaves (the mayor of Lemont, one of the communities served by the line); Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno; U.S. House Transportation Committee Senior Member Dan Lipinski (IL-3), whose efforts and support were critical to launching the extra service, and Canadian National Senior Vice President, Southern Region, John Orr.
The new 2:45 p.m. departure from Union Station expands weekday service on the line from six to seven trains (three inbound morning trains and four outbound afternoon/evening trains), adding a convenient early departure option for Heritage Corridor customers. The train makes stops at Summit, Willow Springs, Lemont and Lockport before arriving at its final destination in Joliet at 3:50 p.m.
The new service is the result of years of effort by Metra, Lipinski and other elected officials along the route to add service to the Heritage Corridor. The added train required agreements from CN, which owns the tracks and operates freight service on the line, as well as Amtrak, the owner of Union Station.
“After fighting for years for additional service on Metra’s Heritage Corridor Line, I am very happy that we have been successful in getting riders another option,” Lipinski said. “I want to thank Metra – especially Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno and Board Member and Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves – for their hard work on this. I am pleased that CN and Amtrak found a way to allow the additional train. There is great demand along this line and it will continue to grow. While this is a good first step, more needs to be done to provide the service that the residents of southwestern Cook County and northeastern Will County deserve.”
“This is a significant day in history for Lemont and the Heritage Corridor Line,” Reaves said. “To see the fruition of the additional service finally take place is astounding. The process that Metra, Congressman Lipinski and mayors and elected officials along the Heritage Corridor Line endured to accomplish this task was quite a feat. The efforts and cooperation put forth from
Canadian National Railway and Amtrak to bring this additional weekday service to the Heritage Corridor Line are greatly appreciated.”
“This new train only strengthens CN’s commitment to helping Chicago’s transportation system move safely and efficiently,” Orr said. “I am pleased we were able to reach agreement on this additional Heritage Corridor service and I’d like to thank Congressman Lipinski and Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno for their continued partnership.”
“We are extremely pleased to introduce this new service for our Heritage Corridor customers,” Orseno said. “This afternoon train provides another option to leave work early to better meet after school activities, family and social obligations. I want to thank all our partners who helped bring this about, including Congressman Lipinski, CN and Amtrak."