Metra today announced plans to work with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) to implement improvements to the Metra Electric Line train station that serves the McCormick Place Convention Center.
The project includes the addition of more visible signage to direct customers to and from the station, the redesign and renovation of the waiting room and new lighting and enhancements to the platform area. The work is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2017.
MPEA plans to convert the existing waiting area space to a business-class waiting room with modern seating, charging stations, Wi-Fi and upgraded flooring. Metra will install digital signage and a sound system to allow customers to hear train announcements without having to travel to the platform area below.
“Together, we recognize the need for some improvements to make the station more inviting, especially for the thousands of conventioneers who stay at hotels near Millennium Station,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “It takes one six-car Metra train to transport the same number of people that 20 buses can carry. Our service has served McCormick Place well in the past and we expect ridership to increase dramatically in the years to come.”
“The McCormick Place Metra Electric Station serves as a gateway to the City of Chicago for people from around the nation and the world,” said MPEA CEO Lori T. Healey. “With the new McCormick Place Hotel and Wintrust Arena opening this fall, we expect the demand for safe, quick and convenient train service to continue to grow.”
When a major trade show or convention is at McCormick Place, the Metra Electric Line can serve thousands of additional customers per day. Longstanding shows continue to include Metra service as a part of their transportation plan. In 2016, those shows generated nearly 37,000 trips and more than $126,000 in fare revenue.
Longer term, Metra is exploring the addition of a crossover track south of the station that would increase the capacity for train service between McCormick Place and Millennium Station, allowing Metra to provide additional rapid transit service when warranted.