(Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer)

Metra has increased weekday service levels on all of its lines. The change, which started on July 12, brings Metra’s operating schedule in the west suburbs closer to what it was before the pandemic.

In a statement, Metra officials said they plan to offer more pre-pandemic off-peak options while also increasing service as more workers return to offices and vaccination becomes more widespread. 

The Union Pacific West line, with serves Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood, as well as Oak Park, River Forest, Maywood, Melrose Park, Bellwood and Berkeley, will get four new trains in each direction, though only half of those trains stop at stations in all of those communities.

The Milwaukee District West line, which serves Chicago’s Austin, Galewood and Montclare neighborhoods, will get three more inbound trains and four more outbound trains, though only one train in each direction will serve those stations. 

And the BNSF Line, which has one station in Riverside and three stations in Brookfield, will see the biggest increase of the three, though Brookfield’s non-downtown stations will see their off-peak and evening service frequencies reduced. 

Metra Executive Director Jim Derwinski stated that the transit agency expects the ridership to rebound in the coming months.

“These new schedules are intended to help our customers’ transition back to a regular work commute providing them with more choices and flexibility,” he stated. “We expect ridership to continue to increase as the summer progresses and will continue to monitor conditions and make schedule adjustments that are responsive to our customers’ needs.”

Union Pacific West Line

While the schedule changes add four trains in both directions, the stations that will benefit most from it are the Oak Park station, which is located near Harlem Avenue, right next to Harlem/Lake Green Line ‘L’ station, and the Berkeley station, 5800 W. Park Ave. 

The new schedule adds two rush hour inbound trains that arrive in Downtown Chicago at 7:20 a.m. and 8 a.m. 

The former makes all stops, while the latter only stops at Berkeley and Oak Park at 7:30 a.m. and 7:38 a.m., respectively. The schedule also adds two inbound off-peak trains that will arrive in Chicago at 11:15 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. While the latter makes all stops, the former skips Bellwood station at 105 Fredrick Ave., Maywood station at 450 W. St. Charles Rd., as well as Kedzie station in East Garfield Park, though it does stop at Melrose Park station, which sits at Maywood/Melrose Park border at 1801 W. Main St.

The new schedule adds two mid-morning trains that leave Downtown Chicago at 9:05 a.m. and 9:40 a.m., making all stops. It also adds two afternoon rush hour trains that leave Chicago at 4:05 p.m. and 5:05 p.m. The former only stops at Oak Park and Berkeley at 4:21 p.m. and 5:21 p.m., respectively. The latter stops at all stations except Kedzie. 

For more detailed information on the new Metra schedules, visit: metrarail.com/riding-metra/service-updates/alternate-schedules.   

CONTACT: igorst3@hotmail.com

Join the discussion on social media!

Igor Studenkov

Igor Studenkov is a winner of multiple Illinois Press Association awards for local government and business reporting. He has been contributing to Growing Community Media newspapers in 2012, then from 2015...