News & Reviews News Wire Metra to add to Electric line’s Blue Island Branch schedule

Metra to add to Electric line’s Blue Island Branch schedule

By Trains Staff | August 2, 2023

| Last updated on February 3, 2024

Four trains to be introduced on Aug. 14

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Electric bilevel cars approach statement
A Metra Electric Blue Island Branch train approaches the Blue Island station on May 24, 2019. Metra will add four trains on the branch as of Aug. 14. David Lassen

CHICAGO — Metra will add four trains — two daily round trips — the weekday schedule for the Metra Electric District’s Blue Island Branch as of Aug. 14, the commuter operator announced Tuesday.

Those trains, and adjustments to the current 18 daily trains on the branch, will also address ridership trends and service gaps to Hyde Park and areas south of the 115th Street/Kensington station. Reverse-peak ridership on the Electric line now exceeds pre-pandemic levels, Metra says, and the new schedule addresses this.

The new schedules are available here. Metra’s announcement also has information on the new trains and schedule adjustments.

“Ridership is growing as more people return to a regular commuting schedule. Adding trains makes Metra a more viable option for people living along the line,” Metra Executive Director/CEO Jim Derwinski said. “We will continue to make periodic schedule adjustments to meet the changing needs of Metra riders and provide our riders with reliable schedule information.”

The additions bring Metra Electric service levels to 85% of pre-pandemic levels. Current weekday ridership is about 60% of pre-pandemic figures.

2 thoughts on “Metra to add to Electric line’s Blue Island Branch schedule

  1. The Electric District has more frequent service than any other Metra line. As of July 2023, Metra operates 127 trains (62 inbound and 65 outbound) on the line on weekdays. On the main line, 27 inbound trains originate from University Park, four from Homewood, and three from Kensington/115th Street, while three outbound trains terminate at Kensington/115th Street, four at Homewood, and the remaining 26 at University Park. There are also 20 inbound and 22 outbound trains on the South Chicago (93rd Street) branch, as well as eight inbound and 10 outbound trains on the Blue Island branch (one outbound train to Blue Island, No. 245, originates from Kensington/115th Street, not Millennium Station).
    On Saturdays, Metra operates 41 roundtrip trains on the line, including 21 on the main line to University Park, 16 trains on the South Chicago branch, and four on the Blue Island branch.
    On Sunday and holidays, Metra operates 22 trains on the line, with 12 roundtrips operating on the main line to University Park and 10 trains operating on the South Chicago branch. Service on the Blue Island branch is suspended during these times.

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  2. The Metra Electric District uses second-generation bi-level Highliner multiple unit cars built by Nippon Sharyo. These will be supplemented by additional EMUs built at Nippon Sharyo’s new Rochelle, Illinois facility opened in 2012. In 2005, these began to replace the original Highliner fleet built by St. Louis Car Company and Bombardier in the 1970s.
    On February 12, 2016, the original Highliners left on their last run in revenue service. Metra confirmed in a Facebook post that twenty-four cars are being sent to museums around the Midwestern United States, including the Illinois Railway Museum, while an unconfirmed source stated that some cars were sent to Mendota, Illinois to be scrapped.

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