Advice for returning to suburbs after rally? Patience.
Fans on a high from watching the Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup downtown should probably keep expectations low for getting home quickly on public transit.
Metra added extra outbound trains but announced delays of 10 to 20 minutes on the BNSF Lines with fans leaving the Soldier Field rally.
Of all the downtown stations, the most problematic location is Union Station, which clogs up fast.
One option if there's rider gridlock will be to use the Great Hall as a waiting room and let commuters proceed to trains as they become available, Metra planners say.
On the trip into Chicago this mornging, trains were crammed with regulars headed to work and fans en route to the parade and rally. Trains that filled up turned into expresses, creating a fluid situation for passengers left behind who were also trying to dodge rainstorms.
"I got a seat getting on in Mount Prospect, but by the time we stopped in Des Plaines, the train was pretty well packed," UP Northwest Line rider Anne Hedleston said.
"The morning commute actually could have been worse. It's a good thing I have headphones that block most of the noise."
Metra offered a special one-day $5 unlimited ride ticket but it proved so popular, the ticket agent ran out at the Downers Grove station on the BNSF line, a rider reported.
Although conductors sold $5 tickets on the train, some commuters bought more expensive one-way tickets at the station.
The BNSF Line appeared the most problematic with morning mechanical problems causing delays of up to 35 minutes.
Trains back to the suburbs started leaving around 11:20 a.m. but times vary from line to line and it's important to note some are expresses. For a schedule, go to http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home.html.