Greed threatens railway agreement

Updated 1/14/2020 3:30 PM

I am writing in response to the Dec. 20 articles in the Daily Herald concerning Union Pacific's desire for Metra to take over direct operation of commuter rail service on the West, North and Northwest lines. The article states that Union Pacific Railroad has filed a lawsuit in federal court concerning the purchase of service agreement with Metra that expires Feb. 29. The legal battle concerning renewing the purchase of service agreement has been sealed to the public at Union Pacific's request.

Union Pacific's court action may force Metra to invoke some sort of "eminent domain" to protect itself, taxpayers and the ridership. It is clear that Union Pacific feels they are not getting what they think is just compensation under the purchase of service agreement. Without a purchase of service agreement, it allows the Union Pacific to charge more for the use of their tracks. The cost is then passed onto Metra and the ridership in increased fares or reduced service.


From the beginning of the Regional Transportation Authority Act, the Chicago & Northwestern Railway and now, Union Pacific Railroad has had a safe and productive relationship. This partnership continues to meet the goals of the Act: travel times and on-time performance, increased ridership, customer satisfaction and most important employee and customer safety. Now, Union Pacific management is trying to blow up this working relationship for a lower operating ratio which leads to even bigger bonuses for the upper management.

This is after Metra spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars upgrading the tracks that Union Pacific will dispatch their freight trains on. We hope that the final outcome will allow Union Pacific Railroad and Metra to sign a new agreement to ensure uninterrupted on-time service and to continue to protect the interest of the ridership and taxpayers.

Jerry Kalbfell


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