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Metra adding weekend express trains on Rock Island Line

Metra is adding express trains to its weekend service on the Rock Island Line to speed trips between the city and suburbs beginning in early June, the transit agency announced Thursday.

The Rock Island Line, which runs between Chicago and Joliet, will add six express trains in each direction on Saturdays and Sundays from June 6-Nov. 29, according to a statement from Metra.

On the current weekend schedule, all trains on Saturdays and Sundays use the Beverly Branch to and from downtown, which creates a slower trip for riders who board in Blue Island or further south, according to Metra. The new express trains will speed the trip by about 20 minutes.

Suburban customers going to a Beverly Branch station will need to transfer at Blue Island.

“We have heard from riders over the years that they’re discouraged from riding on weekends because it takes too long to get downtown,” Metra Executive Director Don Orseno said in the statement. “We’re expecting that this significant enhancement — cutting 20 minutes from the schedule — will encourage more people to come on board.”

The program is being funded with a grant from the RTA and Metra.