Will 3rd UP West Track Alleviate Train Traffic? Find Out at Sept. 21 Open House
Union Pacific Railroad and Metra invite the public to an open house on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, regarding the construction of a third mainline track on the UP West Line from Kress Road in West Chicago to Peck Road in Geneva.
The open house will allow the public to view exhibits of the planned improvements, talk with project staff, and provide comments.
The open house will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, at the Kane County Government Center Auditorium, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva.
“The third mainline track would remove a critical bottleneck along the corridor and alleviate freight and Metra commuter train traffic and congestion,” Metra and Union Pacific official say in the open house flyer.
About the Project
Back in April, Metra and Union Pacific Railroad joined state, county and local officials and members of the community in Maywood broke ground on a $100 million project that will bring a third set of rail tracks along the UP West Line.
At the time, Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno said adding the track segments “will reduce the potential for delays and improve the travel experience for the 30,000 Metra riders who rely on this line each weekday.”
Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz said that, when completed, the third main line “will provide more efficient operations for both freight and commuter customers, as well as reduce crossing wait times for local drivers.”
The project will add nearly eight miles of third track in the only two remaining segments between Elburn and Chicago that have two tracks. The ceremony in Maywood marked the start of construction on the first segment, a 1.8-mile section from just east of the Des Plaines River in River Forest to 25th Avenue in Melrose Park.
Third track will also be added starting later this year along a 6.1-mile segment from Kress Road in West Chicago to Peck Road in Geneva.
The project is the fourth phase of the UP West Line Improvement Project, a multi-year effort to improve the flow of rail traffic on the line while enhancing pedestrian and motorist safety. The first phase focused on safety enhancements at Metra stations, including the installation of a new “Another Train Warning System” that uses a combination of audio and visual alerts to warn pedestrians at crossings adjacent to stations that another train is approaching or present. The system was the first of its kind in the United States to be fully implemented along a rail line.
Other improvements included installing new pedestrian gates at crossings, eliminating mid-platform crossings and constructing pathways to divert pedestrian traffic to safer crossing points at the end of platforms.
While officials said there are no current plans to increase commuter service on the UP West Line, upgrading the entire line to three-track service will alleviate current congestion and freight and commuter train conflicts, which will improve service for both Metra commuters and UP’s freight customers. The UP West Line, one of the nation’s busiest rail lines, is used by 60 Metra trains and more than 50 freight trains each weekday.
Construction of the 1.8-mile segment is expected to take a year. Work on the 6.1-mile segment is scheduled to begin later this year and continue through 2019. Project funding is being provided by Union Pacific and Metra.