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Tweaks coming to Metra Electric Line schedule

The changes, which are six months to a year away, are the result of a new federally mandated safety system

A woman died after being struck by a Metra train Aug. 27, 2020, on the Northwest Side.
Metra plans to alter the schedule of its Electric line service starting next year due to the installation of a federally-mandated safety system known as Positive Train Control; the anti-collision system requires more spacing between trains that pass through a busy rail junction south of Millennium Park, a Metra spokeswoman said.
Sun-Times Media

Metra plans to tweak the schedule of Electric Line trains next year after installing a federally mandated electronic safety system intended to prevent collisions.

The Positive Train Control safety system requires more spacing between trains as they pass through a busy rail junction south of Millennium Park, according to Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile.

“PTC software doesn’t allow as many trains moving in the area as we currently do,” she said.

“To resolve this, there are going to have to be some changes to the schedule, but we’re not sure yet what those changes will be,” she said.

Options include adding more time between departures, or adding more cars to trains but having fewer actual departures.

The Metra Electric, which runs from the south suburbs to Millennium Station, averages more than 27,000 passenger trips per weekday.

Positive Train Control is being installed on all Metra lines under a federal mandate that it be in place on all train lines nationwide by the end of 2020.

It’s not the first Metra train line to be affected by the PTC rollout.

The schedule for the BNSF line had to be tweaked in late 2018 when it became the first Metra line to begin operating under the new system.