Metra will be changing the schedule on the Metra Electric Line during the evening rush period beginning April 23.
The electric line serves communities from Chicago to University Park, including Homewood and Flossmoor.
The changes are being made to provide increased train spacing in preparation for the implementation of the Positive Train Control (PTC) safety system.
Metra Electric riders will notice changes in departure and arrival times of two to five minutes to a number of trains during the morning and evening rush hours. The changes are necessary to meet the PTC requirement that each signal and switch be tied into its communications system.
To do this, Metra had to replace a manually operated switching system at 11th Place, just north of the Museum Campus/11th Street Station, with an automated system. More time will now be required to navigate this switching point because the signals must reset between each train. Schedules had to be adjusted to reflect the new operating conditions.
“We realize that some of our customers will be inconvenienced by these changes, but the implementation of PTC necessitates it,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “We examined this carefully and determined that we would need to eliminate a train run to meet the requirements of PTC and maintain a reliable schedule.”
Several evening rush hour trains to University Park will depart Millennium Station at later times. Train 707 will depart Millennium at 5:21 p.m. instead of 5:17 p.m., Train 737 will depart Millennium at 5:24 p.m. instead of 5:20 p.m. and Train 757 will depart Millennium at 5:27 p.m. instead of 5:23 p.m.
PTC is a federally mandated safety system that prevents certain types of train-to-train collisions, helps avoid derailments and other accidents caused by excessive speed and increases safety for workers.
The system integrates global positioning satellites with a railroad’s centralized dispatching system to track trains, convey operating instructions and monitor the crew’s compliance. PTC will automatically stop a train if the system detects that a violation is about to occur.
The federal government requires that all U.S. railroads have PTC in place and operational no later than Dec. 31, 2020. Additional schedule changes are anticipated as PTC is fully implemented across the Metra system.
Find more information on these schedule changes here. More information about PTC is here.