A new pedestrian grade crossing system is being activated at eight stations on the Union Pacific West Line on March 1, 2011. The Another Train Warning System (ATWS) is part of a $132 million project that aims to improve the flow of commuter and freight traffic on the heavily used line, as well as to allow trains to safely operate past a station when a commuter train is stopped there.
Metra and Union Pacific studied station improvement initiatives across the country and the West Line safety infrastructure is incorporating the best practices, creating the most comprehensive safety system of any commuter rail operation in the U.S.
The ATWS uses audible and visual alerts to warn pedestrians at crossings near the stations that a second train – in addition to the one that is stopped at the station – is approaching or present. The system is being activated at the Maywood, Melrose Park, Elmhurst, Villa Park, Glen Ellyn, College Avenue, Winfield and Geneva stations. It remains active until only one train or no train is present. The system enhances other grade crossing protections, including new paths that safely guide pedestrians to a gated crossing, more pedestrian gates and more fencing to discourage pedestrians from crossing at unsafe and unauthorized locations.
Other project changes include an upgraded rail signal system that will improve train flow, new crossovers that will make it easier to route a train around problems and the completion of a third set of tracks in two areas that are now bottlenecks. For more information and a video explanation, please click here.