While Amtrak owns and manages Chicago Union Station, Metra is responsible for implementing a plan to attempt to limit overcrowding once a problem occurs.
This plan is implemented as soon as Metra suspects that peak outbound service could be significantly disrupted on the three lines that use the South Concourse – primarily the BNSF, but also the SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines.
If that happens, Metra, BNSF and Amtrak personnel will restrict access to the South Concourse by controlling the flow of pedestrians so they can only enter that concourse from one location – the wide corridor that connects the concourse to the Great Hall waiting area and Metra ticketing area. The corridor will serve as a loading and staging area where passengers can queue until trains are ready to board, keeping the concourse clear so passengers can easily get to and from the train platforms.
If the Great Hall is open (please see Map 1), passengers will be encouraged to wait there. Metra will provide updates with public address system announcements supplemented by staff members with bullhorns among the waiting passengers.
Access to the South Concourse will primarily be controlled by closing the escalators and stairs that feed the concourse from the food court level. Passengers who use the Union Station entrance at Jackson and the Chicago River will have to walk north, use the escalators/stairs that feed the North Concourse and double back south past the Metra ticket area to the loading/staging area.
Passengers who enter Union Station from Clinton/Adams and Clinton/Jackson will have to walk through the Great Hall to get to the staging area. If the Great Hall is closed, passengers will have to use a different entrance/path to the staging area, as shown on Map 2 of the flier.
In the event of a disruption that is only affecting BNSF trains, SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor passengers will be allowed to enter the South Concourse via the hallway that connects the South and North Concourses to the Amtrak ticket area, as shown on Map 3 of the flier. BNSF riders will be directed to the staging area.