Metra Monthly Commuter Newsletter                                             April 2017
Spring brings construction
     Spring has sprung and that means Metra and its railroad partners are revving up to make a variety of improvements to stations, track, bridges and road crossings. Construction work is getting underway this month and will continue through the fall.
     The work is funded out of Metra’s capital budget, which this year totals nearly $280 million. This year’s fare increase will generate $16.1 million, all of which has been designated for capital needs.
     “We are doing as much as we can with the funds available to us to address our state of good repair needs,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. “Our goal is to be as efficient and effective as possible with our limited resources.”
     Click on "Read More" for a list and map of the 2017 projects.
  Read More  
UP-N bridge project, Ravenswood work to resume
Metra is seeking bids for the next phase of the multi-year Union Pacific North bridge project, which will replace bridges over 11 streets on the North Side of Chicago, as well as construct the inbound half of the new Ravenswood Station.
I fully support your courtesy campaign but not everybody gets it. I’m sitting across and two rows behind a well-dressed man on a UP Northwest Line train who appears to be digging for gold inside his nose. As if that isn’t bad enough in public, he keeps wiping his fingers on the coat hook. After all I’ve seen over the years, I’ve learned to touch as little as possible and wash my hands when I get off the train. I suggest others do the same. Obviously, no matter what campaigns are mounted, some passengers will never have any manners or consideration for others.
Sign Me Disgusted

Yuck, sign us disgusted too. Maybe all the gold prospectors out there will read this, recognize themselves and clean up their act. We can hope..

     We have Quiet Cars (which are never too quiet), loud talkers, people hogging multiple seats to themselves, etc. I can deal with these sorts of annoyances – but it is painful. However – can we make it so certain cars allow no foods? There is nothing, and I mean nothing, worse than having someone open up their order of McDonald’s or Panda Express on the train. You can see the faces of everyone and how hard it is to resist wanting to just throw up or jump out the train window!

     Are you sure that’s what they are trying to resist? Let’s just say we have a different reaction to the smell of french fries and leave it at that. We can think of plenty of other foods whose smell would be much worse.


     After 32 years of marriage, I lost my wedding ring on the BNSF in early January.  It had special significance to me as it not only was a sign of love and commitment to my wife, but it had also been the wedding ring of my father and my grandfather. I lost an important piece of family history that day. If anyone found a gold double-band wedding ring on the train, would you please turn it in? Thanks.

If anyone found Patrick’s ring, call us at 312-322-6776 and we’ll get it to him.

Dear Rude Rock Island Lady,
     Your behavior while riding the 4:57 p.m. train to Joliet is atrocious! How do I not love it? Let me count the ways...
     1. You are not the boss of others. Consider asking them to do something instead of ordering them. “Please” is a good word for you to use – learn it.
     2. Screaming profanities at someone when they leave the lavatory door open is just rude! How about respecting parents and others by NOT swearing at the top of your voice? It’s called self-control – humans can exercise it.
     3. Your preferred seat does NOT belong to you. Your name is neither embroidered upon it nor is there a sign designating that any such seat is reserved for you! Your fare guarantees a ride – not a specific seat.
     4. I have heard your remarks when folks with canes or crutches have asked to sit in the fold-down seats due to their medical condition. Please, people, remember: Many illnesses, conditions and injuries can’t be noticed. Talking with other fellow passengers leads to more info, more knowledge and hopefully, more human compassion for our fellow riders!
Panic Button

     Lots to take in here but the final message is simple: be kind to each other. Good advice.


     I love riding Metra, but there is something that bothers me and has even confused me sometimes. Why is it that the Union Pacific lines run on left-hand-side unlike the rest of the lines? This isn’t Britain!

     The explanation for the left-hand running of the UP lines goes way back, more than a hundred years back, before Metra was created. The most plausible theory is that the lines originally had a single track, with the depots on the left side (as you head downtown). When a second track was added, it was easiest to put it to the right of the first track, because the depots were taking up space on the left side. But the first track remained the inbound track, because a) the depots were all on that side, and you want the sheltered waiting areas for inbound riders because most people waiting at the station are heading downtown, and b) the railroad didn’t want or couldn’t afford to move them or build overpasses or underpasses.
McCormick stop to get upgrade
Metra will work with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) to improve the Metra Electric Line train station that serves the McCormick Place Convention Center. Work will include better signage, the redesign and renovation of the waiting room and new lighting and enhancements to the platform area.
Full story
Metra adding
lot at Grayland
Metra is adding a 68-space parking lot at the Grayland Station on the Milwaukee North Line. The lot will be built on the east side of Kilbourn, between Milwaukee and Patterson in Chicago. The Grayland Station, where more than 300 commuters board every weekday, currently has eight parking spaces.
Full story
Take Metra, CTA to ballparks
Chicago area baseball fans can avoid traffic and the cost of parking by making Metra and the CTA part of their plan to watch the White Sox or Cubs. “Metra is the convenient and reliable choice for anyone coming to Chicago to watch the Cubs or White Sox this season,” said Metra Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno.
Full story
Read More in the Metra Newsroom

April 17 

A Tax Day reminder: Pre-tax benefits can save you money!
As tax season comes to a close, Metra encourages its customers and Chicago-area employers to get a jumpstart on next year’s taxes by enrolling in a pre-tax transit benefit plan, which can save commuters as much as 40 percent on their commuting costs. Click here for more info.

April 19 

Metra Board of Directors to meet
The April meeting of the Metra Board of Directors will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the 13th floor board room of Metra headquarters, 547 W. Jackson. Go here to see the agenda two days before the meeting and a webcast the day of the meeting.

April 19 

Metra to hold DBE certification workshop
Metra will hold a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification workshop at 10 a.m. on the second floor of its headquarters at 547 W. Jackson. To register, contact Romayne Newton at

April 27

Take your son or daughter to work free on Metra
Taking your child or children to work for "Take Your Son or Daughter to Work Day?" Then take them for free on Metra. Up to three children and young adults 18 and under can ride on Metra trains for free with their fare-paying parent.
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