News & Reviews News Wire DeKalb, Ill., funds study on possible Metra service

DeKalb, Ill., funds study on possible Metra service

By | January 13, 2023

City is 15 miles from current terminus of UP West line

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Commuter train arrives at station on cloudy day
A Metra train arrives at Elburn, Ill., the current western terminus of the Union Pacific West line. The city of DeKalb, Ill., has authorized a study to look into the feasbility of extending service to DeKalb, some 15 miles away. David Lassen

DeKALB, Ill. — The DeKalb City Council has voted to fund a transportation study aimed at determining the feasibility of bringing Metra commuter rail service to the city.

At its meeting earlier this week, the council voted unanimously to fund a $98,379 study by Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC “to identify potential ridership, capital costs, and operating requirements as a basis for defining the financial feasibility” of Metra service.

The City Council and Northern Illinois University, which also supports the study, have asked that the results be delivered in 120 days.

Metra service on the Union Pacific West line currently terminates in Elburn, Ill., approximately 15 miles from downtown DeKalb; DeKalb’s bus system includes service to the Elburn station. Any expansion of Metra service to DeKalb faces a political hurdle in that DeKalb County is not one of the six member counties of Metra’s parent organization, the Regional Transportation Authority.

10 thoughts on “DeKalb, Ill., funds study on possible Metra service

  1. Use the I-88 freeway right of way to build a freight bypass around the South sides of both DeKalb and Rochelle. Then UP will allow more Metra trains on the original route.

  2. Wow, a study that didn’t cost multiple millions of dollars!! Send these folks to Washington immediately!!

  3. While everyone in the region agrees that extending Metra to DeKalb (home of Northern Illinois University) is a no brainer, UP may pull off an Amtrak move because that UP West line is only double track from Geneva to Clinton, Iowa.

    I would suspect that UP will want a third track to mitigate the new traffic.

    1. Mr. Rice, when you write “UP may pull off an Amtrak move, are you alluding to when Joseph Boardman’s Amtrak went to UP with the plan to upgrade the Sunset from tri-weekly to daily operation? Yeah, that didn’t work out too well for Amtrak. But I believe you are correct that UP is going to demand some measure of track capacity expansion as a condition for accepting Metra service west of Elburn.

  4. Yes, a not insignificant political concern in that Dekalb County is not currently a member of the regional RTA transit authority. Would the RTA’s enabling legislation need to be amended by the Illinois Assembly (legislature) in order for Dekalb County to joint the RTA taxing district?

  5. C’mon DeKalb County, get with it and join the RTA and the rail transit community! You already have the UP freights roaring through town. It’s time to bring in “My Metra”.

  6. In September 1970 the C&NW offered to run two weekday suburban trains to DeKalb in a six-month test, if it could drop its remaining Chicago-Clinton, Iowa, passenger service. It was also contingent on negotiations with the unions to extend the suburban territory to DeKalb. But then legislation that would create Amtrak was passed in October 1970 and it froze all train-off proceedings. And come May 1, 1971, the Chicago-Clinton trains would be gone.

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