Homewood village officials have been working with rail companies to make sure short term maintenance issues at the Homewood train station are addressed while long-term solutions are pursued.
The situation drew renewed attention last week when part of a stairway from the tunnel to the Metra platform was closed for maintenance after a step was damaged.
Homewood Village Manager Jim Marino said the railways are required to comply with village codes, and he and his staff notify the companies whenever maintenance problems are evident.
Responsibilities for maintaining the station facilities are divided among three companies — Amtrak, CN and Metra. Metra is responsible for the tunnel, its platform and access to its platform.
“We have a good relationship with Metra,” he said.
Generally, the railway responds well when maintenance needs are brought to its attention, he said, although there currently are several projects that still need attention.
The damaged step was initially expected to take nearly a week to fix, but Metra workers had the job finished and the stairway reopened in less than two days.
Meanwhile, a long-term solution is in the works. Marino said the village is working with the three railways on preparations for a major renovation of the station. In June, village officials met with representatives of all three, including Metra CEO Don Orseno.
“That meeting was something of a milestone,” he said. “It was the first time we had a face-to-face meeting with everybody.”
Marino said the complex project will require good coordination between the village and the three railways, so the village initiated weekly phone meetings to make sure progress continues.
“Everybody recognizes the condition of the station,” he said. “They understand the need” for renovations.
The village is in the process of securing federal funding for an engineering study that will determine the needs for the station. Metra is expected to hire the engineering firm by the end of the year, and the study should be completed during 2016.
The renovation project will depend on funding availability but is not likely to begin until 2017 at the earliest, Marino said.
Contact Eric Crump at [email protected]