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UP North Bridge Project Postponed, Original Schedule to be Reinstated Oct. 3

(September 30, 2010) - 
Feedback from riders and communities along the Union Pacific North line regarding recent schedule changes has prompted Metra to postpone the project to rebuild 22 bridges on the line until next spring and reinstate the line’s original schedule with a two-track operation starting Sunday, Oct. 3.
 
Metra’s new Union Pacific North schedule will begin Sunday, October 3. The new schedule can be viewed here.
 
Metra changed the UP North schedule on August 22 in order to accommodate an unprecedented plan to use a single track for inbound and outbound trains in the construction zone. Metra would not normally have taken the drastic step of using a single track, but that approach is more economical than trying to maintain a two-track operation and we felt our limited resources required us to attempt to make it work.
 
But while we made a good-faith effort to use that approach, our riders made it clear that the new schedule was not meeting their needs. And while we tried to address that schedule’s deficiencies, it was not possible to fix the problems in one area without adversely affecting other areas.
 
We will now revert to the schedule that had been in use before August 22. And we are exploring engineering options that provide for maintaining a two-track operation when construction resumes in the spring.
 
“We appreciate our riders’ feedback and we have listened to their comments,” Metra Chairman Carole Doris said. “We firmly believe that the quality of service and ease of travel to our passengers is paramount, and thus we are going back to the schedule that best fits the needs of our passengers. We know our attempt to operate on a single track has been difficult, and we apologize to our riders for the problems.”
 
The $185-million project calls for replacing 22 aging bridges on the north side of Chicago between Fullerton and Balmoral. While construction is on hold, Metra will vigorously monitor each bridge and make repairs when needed. The project also includes a new Ravenswood Station, which will feature longer, partially covered platforms, warming shelters, improved lighting, a ticket office, vendor space and ramps and stairs.
 
Ald. Gene Schulter (47th), who has been meeting with Metra for more than a year to provide input on the design the new Ravenswood Station and address the concerns of his constituents, said he would continue the dialogue.
 
“I will continue to work with Metra to ensure that not only the best service is provided to all of the UP North Line riders but that the project meets the needs and interests of the residents of the Ravenswood community,” he said.
 
Metra will begin making onboard announcements about the change to the schedule on UP North trains today, and the reinstated schedule is available online at www.metrarail.com and at UP North stations.
 
Metra would like to thank its UP North riders for their patience and understanding as we attempt to move this project forward.
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