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First phase of Homewood science center development finished, trustees vote to start next phase

The west side of the stairway 
from the tunnel to the Metra 
platform was closed 
Wednesday after a step was 
found to be damaged.
by Eric Crump/HF Chronicle)

Commuters who use Homewood train station’s Metra service had to make do with half the usual stairway for a few days, but a damaged step has been repaired, according to Metra officials.

Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said Thursday that a damaged step, reported to railway police Tuesday night, required the temporary closure of the west side of the stairway from the tunnel to the Metra platform.

Initially, repairs were expected to be completed by next Monday. But Gillis said crews expedited the process and the stairway was reopened Thursday.

“One of our crews secured that section of the staircase immediately so it could not be used,” he said. “The broken step was removed yesterday and our team began fabricating a replacement step immediately.”

One step was replaced, but 
Metra officials said the 
stairway’s general condition 
would be reviewed.
by Eric Crump/HF Chronicle)

The east side of the stairway remained open to commuters while repairs were made, he said.
Gillis said it was not known how the step was damaged but no one was reported injured.

Local commuters responded to the situation with criticism not only of the stairway condition but of the overall state of the station, particularly the tunnel, which has chronic seepage and odor problems.

Homewood resident Edward Allen said the tunnel is a frustration because rail service is one of the big benefits of living in Homewood. 

“I’m ashamed of it, and do not want new residents to see it,” he said. “I’m trying to convince co-workers to move to Homewood because of property prices and the Metra.”

But he worries the tunnel’s moisture problems and general conditions make it both unappealing and unsafe.

Another Homewood resident, John Novak, said he wasn’t as concerned about the aesthetics of the tunnel but does think it needs work to address the water problems. 

“The underground tunnel to the station is functional and it’s probably not necessary that it have a great aesthetic look,” he said. “Leaks and tiles falling can be a problem so perhaps some work is warranted to get it in shape.”

Metra officials reported in July that they are aware Homewood station needs renovations, but funding is not currently available for the project. An engineering study is slated to be initiated in 2016.

Gillis said the general state of the stairway would be reviewed.

“We’re then going to have a stair contractor take a look at the overall staircase to assess what else might need to be done,” he said.

Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]

Related story:
Homewood station renovations are on Metra’s to-do list (HF Chronicle, July 3, 2015)

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