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METRA'S PRIMARY RAIL ALTERNATIVE...
THE UNION PACIFIC WEST LINE

Illinois communities are growing rapidly, and Metra's goal is to continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable service along our existing lines through infrastructure improvements that bring new service and commuting opportunities to hundreds of thousands of riders.

The Union Pacific West Line (UP-W) extends nearly 44 miles west from Chicago to Elburn. The UP-W Line serves 62 communities in parts of Kane, DuPage and western Cook counties. UP-W Line passengers make approximately 29,000 trips per weekday on 59 commuter trains.

There is an increasing demand for service in this region due to substantial residential growth. For example, the Elburn area is projected to grow by more than 650 percent between 2000-2030 and the Winfield/West Chicago area is expected to grow by more than 150 percent in that same time frame. Employment in this segment is anticipated to increase more than 100 percent, and the UP-W Line improvements will provide better access to major businesses in the corridor including General Mills, DuPage Airport, Fermilab, Navistar and the future DuPage Technology Park.

Through the proposed improvements to the UP-W Line, service would expand from 59 to up to 80 trains per day. Additionally, the proposed express schedule is expected to grow from 20 to as many as 30 trains per day.

If all key segments along the route are updated, more trains can operate, allowing the line's capacity, speed and reliability to increase, enhancing the potential for reverse-commuting along the UP-W Line. The major improvements include signal system upgrades that would enhance safety, additional tracks and crossovers to improve travel times and restructuring the bottleneck that occurs at the A-2 Crossing, the busiest rail crossing in Northeastern Illinois, where the UP-W Line crosses the Milwaukee District West (MD-W), Milwaukee District North (MD-N) and North Central Service (NCS) lines in Chicago.

Slower travel times along the existing UP-W Line cause many residents to drive to the BNSF line for faster express service. A culmination of the proposed improvements would address this issue and provide the additional benefit of easing congestion along the BNSF route.

This and other New Start improvements and extensions could save commuters thousands of hours of travel time, eliminate hundreds of auto accidents and conserve millions of gallons of fuel.

Improvements along the
UPW Line would:

  • Provide expanded service and more transit options for commuters traveling into Chicago's Central Business District
  • Provide reverse-commuting options to address growing trends in public transportation
  • Spur economic growth by attracting new jobs and businesses that wish to take advantage of transit-oriented development
  • Eliminate bottlenecks, allowing for more efficient operation of trains and reduced delays resulting in commuter time savings
  • Increase the line's core capacity to help serve the strong anticipated growth in employment