Why Metra is making schedule changes to its most popular route

BNSF riders can expect some schedule tweaks and extra weekend trains this summer as Metra rolls out a revised schedule effective June 3.

The changes come after rider dissatisfaction with a rough transition to a new timetable in June 2018 that resulted in overcrowding on some trains.

The railroad surveyed passengers for suggestions and tried to accommodate a majority into the latest schedule but the tweaks “will not eliminate all crowding on the line,” officials said.

For weekday riders, Metra hopes to free up space in the morning rush by running a new inbound train (No. 1374) that picks up passengers at Highlands near Hinsdale, Western Springs, Stone Avenue in LaGrange, LaGrange Road, Congress Park in Brookfield, Brookfield, Riverside and Berwyn.

An afternoon rush outbound train (No. 1255) will be split into two to relieve congestion. Train 1255 will leave Union Station at 4:50 p.m. and stop at Riverside, Brookfield, Hinsdale, West Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Westmont and Fairview Avenue in Downers Grove. An extra train (No. 1375) will head west at 4:53 p.m. and stop at Halsted in Chicago, Berwyn, Congress Park, LaGrange Road, Stone Avenue, Western Springs and Highlands.

Passengers should check the revised schedule to ensure their regular trains are departing at the same time or times have been tweaked.

As a pilot project from June 8 to Sept. 2, Metra will add weekend trains. An additional inbound Saturday train will leave Aurora at 3:20 p.m. for downtown Chicago. A new outbound train will head west from Union Station at 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, an extra train will leave Aurora for downtown at 9:20 a.m. and one will depart from Union Station at 5:40 p.m. for the suburbs.

“Adding that train fills in a two-hour gap in service on the current Saturday outbound schedule,” spokesman Michael Gillis said. Currently, “there is no train between 10:40 and 12:40. So under the pilot, we now have hourly service from 10:40 a.m. to 6:40 p.m.”

The schedule changes in 2018 were instituted to accommodate a new automatic braking system that stops a train if an engineer misses a signal or is speeding.

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