Metra announces free train rides this weekend

  • A commuter braves the negative-26 temperature Jan. 30 at the Elgin Metra station. Metra's offering free rides this weekend.

      A commuter braves the negative-26 temperature Jan. 30 at the Elgin Metra station. Metra's offering free rides this weekend. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 2/11/2019 4:22 PM

Metra passengers can leave their monthly and 10-ride passes at home this weekend when the railroad offers unprecedented free rides.

The windfall for riders is an effort to encourage suburbanites to travel by train on weekends and give commuters "a pat on the back" for enduring a modified schedule, delays and cancellations during recent extreme weather.

 

"We survived the polar vortex -- now let's have some fun," Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski said.

The week of Jan. 27 began with a major snowfall and then arctic temperatures. With the frigid weather impacting tracks, trains and switches, Metra operated on a modified schedule on lines including the Union Pacific, BNSF and Milwaukee District. The Metra Electric service was suspended.

"There is a lot to do in Chicago and the suburbs and Metra can take you there," Derwinski said in a statement. "We're hoping this weekend will convince people who have never ridden Metra or who haven't ridden in a while to become paid customers in the future."

The railroad also offers its family fares program on Presidents Day Monday when three children ride for free with a paying adult.

Attractions this weekend include the Chicago Auto Show, which ends Monday, and the Field Museum, which has free admission this month for Illinois residents.

For more information, go to metrarail.com.

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