Archive for the ‘METRA’ Category


Metra Train #712 at about 12:00 p.m. stopped on the UP Northwest Line just west of Ela Road after striking and killing a pedestrian (PHOTO CREDIT: Jimmy Bolf).

Police, firefighters and paramedics from Barrington responded about 11:27 a.m. Sunday, January 22, 2023 to a report that a Metra train on the Union Pacific Northwest Line hit a pedestrian near the block of 1100 South Northwest Highway in Barrington.

Metra train #712 is stopped just west of Ela Road after striking a pedestrian. All inbound and outbound trains were stopped just after 11:27 a.m. Metra train #712 on Sundays and holidays is an inbound train from Harvard to Chicago, and was scheduled to arrive at the following locations immediately after the Barrington Metra station

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Barrington Metra

Metra directors approved a $980 million operating budget for 2023 that continues a popular “Super Saver” monthly pass.

Metra directors opted to keep bargain fares offering flexibility to riders as they adopted the 2023 budget Friday, but the move will mean about $2 million less than originally estimated in revenues.

The agency will continue offering its popular $100 “Super Saver” monthly pass with unlimited rides, $6 daily pass in up to three zones and $10 systemwide daily pass.

The three products were introduced amid the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to tempt passengers back after a record drop in ridership.

A preliminary budget presented in October recommended reverting to a discounted monthly pass with zones, but Metra directors opposed the change.

Federal aid will help the commuter railroad balance its budgets in 2023 and 2024, but a shortfall of $54 million is expected in 2025 when federal relief is used up.

The 2023 budget allocates $980 million for operations, including diesel fuel and salaries. It’s about $80 million higher than the 2022 amended version due mainly to inflation and adding employees, administrators said.

“We definitely have a lot of work to do in the next couple of years, not just for Metra but the entire public transportation system,” Executive Director Jim Derwinski said.

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Barrington Metra

Metra is weighing whether to return some of its passes to zone-based pricing in 2023, which would mark an end to promotional flat-rate daily and monthly passes recently tested by the agency.

The new monthly pass prices, part of a 2023 budget proposal unveiled at a board meeting Wednesday, would be lower than pre-pandemic. But for many riders, both the proposed monthly and daily pass prices would be an increase over the current flat-rate pilot passes.

Several Metra board members raised concerns about the proposed pass changes, urging fare consistency and the simplicity of fewer zones as the agency looks to continue drawing back riders from pandemic lows.

After the meeting, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said the agency would also include current fares, including the flat-rate day and monthly passes, among budget options for the board to consider. That means the board will decide in November whether to keep the status quo or adopt the agency’s proposed new zone-based passes.

Metra did not propose changes to other pass prices or base fares.

Metra fares have traditionally been divided into zones, meaning the farther a passenger rides, the more they pay. After ridership plummeted at the start of the pandemic, Metra began testing a $100 flat-rate monthly pass and $6 and $10 daily passes.

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BHS Trafic

“Sounds like a nuisance.” – The Daily Herald’s description of District 220’s traffic plan. Officials are so confused they’ve misspelled traffic signs.

“As you are aware, the Lake County Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge over Flint Creek on Hart Road. The bridge replacement and road closure is scheduled through November. To help mitigate traffic impacts from the road closure, representatives and traffic engineers from the Lake County Department of Transportation, the Village of Barrington, and Barrington 220 have worked in collaboration to improve traffic flow on and around the Barrington High School Campus. Although these efforts will help alleviate congestion at arrival and dismissal time, improved traffic flow can only go so far toward mitigating congestion.

To that end, Barrington 220 and the Village of Barrington have been consulting with Barrington Transportation to help reduce congestion near BHS. We ask that all students and families consider walking, biking, or riding the bus if possible. In fact, students who consistently walk, bike, or ride the bus on and off of campus will be entered into a drawing to win BHS spirit wear, gift cards for Airpods, Apple Watches and more.

Other ways to reduce congestion could be to utilize these remote options:

1) Purchase a parking permit for one of 3 locations at a cost of $100:

  • The Barrington – 540 W Northwest HWY (125 spots available) (MAP)
  • The Barrington Metra Station – 201 South Spring Street (125 spots available) (MAP)
  • St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church – 720 Dundee Ave (100 spots available) (MAP)

2) Sign-up for dropping off students at a remote location (FREE) 

  • The Barrington – 540 W Northwest HWY
  • The Barrington Metra Station – 201 South Spring Street

Both options include a shuttle bus from the location to BHS, leaving remote locations at 8AM and a shuttle bus from BHS to the remote locations at the end of the school day, arriving at the remote locations at approximately 3:50PM. Parking permit and remote drop-off is for August 22 to November 4.

From now until 7AM on Friday, September 6, 2022 you can click here to purchase a parking permit ($100) or sign up for drop off locations.

Please note, the Barrington Police department will be patrolling the additional parking areas, and violators will be ticketed and potentially towed at the owner’s expense. In addition, please be aware that parking in the remote lots is at your own risk. In the case of vandalism or damage occurring to their vehicle, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for remediating through their personal auto insurance, or out of pocket.

Please note that during the school year the main entrance to BHS off of Main Street will only be accessible to staff, buses and Build 220 construction traffic. All students and parents must use the west parking lot (off Hart Road) to access the building. The west parking lot is reserved for senior parking only.”


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With Metra ridership still less than half of pre-pandemic levels and gas prices skyrocketing, the commuter rail service will soon test a new, cheaper monthly pass.

Metra will sell monthly passes for $100, valid for unlimited travel on the rail system, for use beginning in July. The Super Saver pass will be offered for a three-month trial period, after which Metra will evaluate whether to continue the offer.

Regular monthly passes now cost between $116 and $275, depending on the distance traveled.

The reduced monthly pilot program comes as ridership across Metra’s 11 lines Tuesday was about 40% of an average weekday in May 2019, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said. The rail agency provided 110,763 passenger trips.

Metra has been steadily tweaking schedules and adding service across several lines as ridership ticked up and the agency anticipated the return of more weekday office workers, who often have different work and commute patterns than pre-pandemic.

In another attempt to draw back riders, Metra earlier in 2022 began offering a new, $6 daily pass valid for unlimited rides within three zones. The pass joined a $10 daily pass unveiled earlier during the pandemic valid for unlimited rides on all Metra lines.

Story continues here.

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A Metra train moves along the Union Pacific Northwest Line Oct. 29, 2019, in Lake Barrington. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Anticipating the return of more weekday commuters, Metra is significantly boosting service on its Union Pacific Northwest line and tweaking the Union Pacific North schedule.

Metra plans to add 21 trains per weekday to the 45 currently operating on the Northwest Line, which runs from Ogilvie Transportation Center to McHenry and Harvard. That will bring the total number of weekday trains to one more than pre-pandemic levels, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

It’s the latest line that will see increased service, after Metra made steep cuts at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as ridership on the commuter rail service plummeted. Metra also recently added trains to the BNSF Line that runs between Chicago Union Station and Aurora.

Ridership remains low, as workers have returned to offices in fits and starts and often have new work and commute patterns. On Wednesday, ridership across all 11 Metra lines was 34.8% of April 2019 levels, Gillis said.

On the Union Pacific Northwest Line, trips were about 27% of pre-pandemic levels, he said.

Metra has said it planned to restore service even before ridership fully returned to ensure there is space for riders, Gillis said.

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Barrington Metra

Metra plans to start installing new ticket vending machines across the system next year, a transition that may have a significant impact on future fare collection.

Board directors last week approved a $70 million contract with California-based VenTek International to purchase and maintain 650 ticket vending machines.

The first phase of the redo involves 300 machines. Beginning in mid-2022, workers will swap out older units at downtown stations and busy Metra Electric stops. At 57 manned stations, “we would go to vending machines only, including downtown stations, where we would have customer service staff available” to assist riders, spokesman Michael Gillis said.

Metra will not lay off ticket agents. “Some positions will be cut through attrition, and others will be reassigned to customer service roles,” Gillis said.

In addition, 75 machines will be located at strategic stations to pilot a “proof-of-payment” fare system.

In the second phase, 350 more machines will be installed across the system so all 242 train stations will have a vending machine.

Most of Metra fares — nearly 69% — are handled through the Ventra app.

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Cary Metra

A Chicago-bound Metra train pulls into the Cary Metra station after a dedication ceremony for the station on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019. (Ryan Rayburn)

The village of Cary is on track to buy the Union Pacific commuter station and surrounding property in its downtown after its Village Board approved an agreement with Metra facilitating the sale earlier this month, Village Administrator Jake Rife said Thursday.

The Nov. 2 approval came after Union Pacific notified Metra in September that it had entered into an agreement with an unnamed developer to sell some or all of its 41 train station properties. In a letter Metra sent to affected municipalities, the Chicago region commuter rail system said these stations would be sold for about $50.9 million in total.

However, Metra said, the developer still could choose not to buy individual stations.

Metra has right of first refusal to buy the train station properties from Union Pacific, but it doesn’t want them, as previously reported by the Northwest Herald. Instead, Metra offered to buy train station properties from Union Pacific on municipalities’ behalf and transfer the property title to the villages and cities.

For Cary, the total purchase price of the property at 100 West Main St. would be $845,300, with the village putting an initial earnest deposit amount of $10,000 down ahead of a feasibility review.

During this yearlong review period, Cary officials could choose not buy the property and would receive a refund of the $10,000.

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Related :Crystal Lake to buy downtown train station property through Metra deal (Will Barrington/BACOG?)

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CL Purchase

Commuters exit a westbound Metra train from the Chicago direction on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Crystal Lake. (Matthew Apgar – mapgar@shawmedia)

The Crystal Lake City Council approved Tuesday the purchase of the 1.8-acre downtown train station and its surrounding property through an intergovernmental agreement with Metra, the result of the Union Pacific’s intention to sell this and other commuter stations on the line.

Union Pacific notified Metra that it had entered into an agreement with an unnamed developer to sell some or all of the 41 train station properties for about $50.9 million, Metra said in a letter to affected municipalities.

Metra has the right of first refusal to purchase the property but doesn’t want it, Crystal Lake city staff said, so instead, the Chicago region commuter rail system offered to buy the train station from Union Pacific on the city’s behalf and transfer the property title to the city of Crystal Lake.

The city of Crystal Lake decided to buy the property because “it’s an important part of the downtown” and city staff recommended it as a good opportunity, Assistant City Manager Eric Helm said.

“The location and the asking price for the property were all very attractive,” Helm said.

No plans are in the works for any changes to the property, Helm said. Crystal Lake, which has a lease with Union Pacific, currently handles minor maintenance items for the station. Helm doesn’t see this changing with the city’s purchase.

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Union Pacific, which owns the parcel, plans on selling it, but Metra has first right of refusal

CL Metra

The Crystal Lake City Council will vote Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, on whether to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Metra to purchase the downtown train station property. (Crystal Lake City Council records)

The Crystal Lake City Council is set to vote Tuesday on whether it wants to enter into an agreement with Metra to buy property around the downtown train station property that Union Pacific is looking to sell.

Although Metra has the first refusal to purchase the property, it does not want to, according to city staff. The Chicago region commuter rail system has offered to buy the 1.8-acre parcel from Union Pacific on the city’s behalf and transfer the property title to Crystal Lake through an intergovernmental agreement.

Cities like Crystal Lake impacted by Union Pacific’s sale plans have until Nov. 12 to approve agreements with Metra, Metra’s director of real estate and contract management, Anthony Ognibene, said in a letter to municipalities.

This offer was given to other municipalities along Union Pacific’s Northwest line as well.

Union Pacific notified Metra that it had entered into a master agreement with an unnamed developer to sell some or all of the 41 train station properties for about $50.9 million, Metra said in the letter. The developer can still choose not to purchase individual stations, according to the letter.

McHenry County stations affected include Crystal Lake’s downtown station as well as the ones in Cary, Woodstock, Harvard, McHenry and Fox River Grove.

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