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A Metra train pulls out of Union Station in Chicago.
Owner Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
Locale Chicago Metropolitan Area, United States
Transit type Commuter rail
Number of lines 11 (2 planned)[1]
Number of stations 241[1][2]
Daily ridership 292,000 (weekday, FY2013)[3]
109,700 (weekend, FY2013)[3]
Chief executive Don Orseno[4]
Began operation 1984
Operator(s) Metra
Union Pacific, BNSF, NICTD
Reporting marks METX
System length 487.7 mi (784.9 km)[2]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
System map

Schematic of Metra's routes, as well as the South Shore Line. This schematic is not to scale.

Metra (reporting mark METX) is a commuter railroad in the Chicago metropolitan area. Metropolitan Rail Corporation or Metra operates 241 stations on 11 different rail lines.[1] Throughout the 21st century, it has been at least the fourth busiest commuter rail system in the United States by ridership and the busiest outside the New York City metropolitan area.[5] Ridership was up 1.3% in 2014, offering 83.4 million passenger rides.[6] The busiest day for Metra ridership occurred Friday, June 11, 2010, with over 429,000 passengers. This was the day of the Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup victory rally.[7]

Using Chicago's rail infrastructure, much of which was created in the 19th century, the Illinois General Assembly established the RTA, and later Metra, to serve commuters by rail. Metra's creation was a result of the anticipated failure of commuter service operated and owned by various private railroad companies in the 1970s. Freight rail companies still operate some routes; however, these operations are guided by contracted service agreements. Metra owns all rolling stock and is responsible for all stations along with the respective municipalities. Since its inception, Metra has directed more than $5 billion into the commuter rail system of the Chicago metropolitan area.


  • History 1
    • Early Chicago commuter rail 1.1
    • Formation of the RTA 1.2
    • Metra branding 1.3
    • Growth, corruption and expansion 1.4
  • Operations 2
    • Stations 2.1
    • Routes 2.2
    • Intermodal connections 2.3
    • Positive train control 2.4
  • Fare system and ticketing 3
    • Tickets 3.1
    • Reduced fare programs 3.2
  • Safety and security 4
    • Law enforcement 4.1
    • Rail safety 4.2
    • Incidents 4.3
  • Rolling stock 5
    • Locomotive fleet 5.1
    • Coach fleet 5.2
    • Privately owned club coaches 5.3
    • Metra electric fleet 5.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9


Early Chicago commuter rail

Since the 19th century Chicago has been a major Midwestern hub in the North American rail network.[8] It has more trackage radiating in more directions than any other city in North America.[8] Railroads set up their headquarters in the city and Chicago became a center for building freight cars, passenger cars and diesel locomotives.

By the 1930s Chicago had the world's largest public transportation system, but commuter rail services started to decline.[9] By the mid-1970s, the commuter lines faced an uncertain future. The Burlington Northern, Milwaukee Road, Chicago and North Western and Illinois Central were losing money and, were using passenger cars dating as far back as the 1920s.[10]

Formation of the RTA

To provide stability to the commuter rail system, the Illinois General Assembly formed the Regional Transportation Authority in 1974.[11] Its purpose was to fund and plan the Chicago region's public transportation. In the beginning the Regional Transportation Authority commuter train fleet consisted of second-hand equipment, until 1976 when the first order of new EMD F40PH locomotives arrived. That F40PH fleet is still in service today.[10]

Less than a decade later the Regional Transportation Authority was already suffering from ongoing financial problems. In 1983 the Illinois Legislature reorganized the agency. That reorganization left the Regional Transportation Authority in charge of day-to-day operations of all bus, heavy rail and commuter rail services throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. It was also responsible for directing fare and service levels, setting up budgets, finding sources for capital investment and planning.[11]

Metra branding

Metra 614 in Chicago.

Due to the broad range of responsibilities entrusted with the Regional Transportation Authority, the Commuter Rail Service Board was created in 1984. It was renamed Metra in July 1985.[12] The newly reorganized Metra service helped to bring a single identity to the many infrastructure components serviced by the Regional Transportation Authority's commuter rail system.[11] Metra's operating arm, the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation, was created as a separate rail subsidiary which operates seven Metra owned routes. Contracts were set up with the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads to operate four other Metra routes. While Metra owns all rolling stock and is responsible for most stations on those routes, the freight carriers use their own employees and control the right-of-way for those routes. In keeping with Metra's purpose to provide a single identity for commuter rail in the region, the freight operators provide service under the Metra name.[11]

Growth, corruption and expansion

In the late 20th and early 21st century Metra experienced record ridership and expanded its services. In 1996 Metra organized its first new line, North Central Service. By 2006 it added new intermediate stops to that same route, extended the Union Pacific West Line from Geneva to Elburn and extended SouthWest Service from Orland Park to Manhattan. In 2012 it boasted 95.8% average on-time performance (measured only for a train's arrivals at its last station no more than six minutes late).[13] It also posted its fourth highest volume in its history despite decreases in employment opportunities in downtown Chicago.[14]

Metra continued to seek expansion options and to improve passenger service. Over the past three decades, Metra has invested more than $5 billion into its infrastructure. That investment has been used to purchase new rolling stock, build new stations, renovate tracks, modernize signal systems and upgrade support facilities.[11] In addition to core improvements on the Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West routes, planning advanced on two new Metra routes, SouthEast Service and the Suburban Transit Access Route.[15]

Metra also has been marred by allegations and investigations of corruption. In April 2010 Metra's executive director, Phil Pagano, faced investigation for taking an unauthorized $56,000 bonus and was later found to have improperly received $475,000 in vacation pay. The day that the agency's board was scheduled to discuss his fate, Pagano stepped in front of a moving Metra train in an apparent suicide. Around the time of Pagano's death, allegations also surfaced that a Metra employee demanded a $2,000 payoff from the studio that used Metra in the 2011 film Source Code. That employee was later relieved of his duties.[16]

In June 2013, Metra CEO Alex Clifford abruptly resigned his position with no public comment. It gradually was reported that his exit had been demanded by the Metra board, which negotiated a $871,000 severance package including a non-disclosure agreement.[17] Clifford's ouster was allegedly arranged because he rejected requests for patronage hiring and promotion, including a request to promote a longtime supporter of State Representative Michael Madigan.[18] In the wake of this scandal, five board members resigned.[19]

In August 2013, the remaining board members unanimously elected Don Orseno as interim CEO. (The six-member board was operating with reduced membership and thus lacked the authority to elect a permanent CEO. Orseno and Alex Wiggins shared duties as co-executive directors.) Orseno's long railroad career, beginning with work to set up trains and check doors for the Rock Island played favorably in the board's decision.[20][21][22]

By October 2013, local officials had restored Metra's board to 11 members.[23] After reviewing four candidates, the re-constituted board formally appointed Orseno CEO of Metra in January 2014.[24][25]


Passengers near an inbound train at Geneva Station.


Metra services passengers through stations throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Each station, unless a route or branch terminus, provides travel toward (inbound) and away from (outbound) downtown Chicago. Therefore, a passenger can connect between the city and a suburb or between two points in the suburbs using Metra service. Although Metra's commuter rail system is designed to connect points all over the Chicago metropolitan area, it does provide some intracity connections within Chicago.[26]

Chicago's four downtown stations servicing Metra trains are Union Station, Ogilvie Transportation Center, LaSalle Street Station and Millennium Station. All of these stations are situated inside or within a block of the Chicago Loop, so Metra passengers may also transfer to a different Metra line upon their arrival downtown.[26] Metra's urban-centric service remains popular with suburban commuters working downtown, reverse commuters, and those who visit Chicago for recreational activities and tourism.[27]


Of Metra's 11 routes, four are operated under contract. The BNSF Line service is operated by BNSF Railway. The Union Pacific/North, Union Pacific/Northwest and Union Pacific/West lines are operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. Lines not contracted are operated by the Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corporation (NIRC), Metra's operating subsidiary. Inbound trains on every line at all times run through to Chicago, however, many outbound trains do not run through to their respective lines' terminus (for example, most trains on the Union Pacific/North Line do not run through to Kenosha.)

 BNSF Railway Line

The BNSF Railway Line is Metra's busiest route. The 37.5 mile (60 km) route to the western suburbs had an average of 64,600 weekday passenger trips in 2010; it has 26 stations from Union Station to Aurora.
The Hollywood station is within walking distance of Chicago's Brookfield Zoo.[26]

 Heritage Corridor

The Heritage Corridor is a 37.2 mile (60 km) route to the southwest suburbs with six stations from Union Station to Joliet. It had an average of 2,600 weekday passenger trips in 2010.[26]
Metra Electric Highliners at 59th Street station.

 Metra Electric District

The Metra Electric District is a 31.5 mile route to the south suburbs. The line has 49 stations, with two branches, from Millennium Station downtown to University Park, Blue Island and South Chicago at the ends of its branches. The line had an average of 36,200 passenger weekday trips in 2010.
A number of major Chicago attractions are serviced by the Metra Electric District. Chicago's Museum Campus, including the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum and Soldier Field are all within walking distance of the Museum Campus/11th Street station. Metra Electric District trains also provide direct service to McCormick Place at the McCormick Place station which is directly below the convention center. The 55th-56th-57th Street station is within walking distance of the University of Chicago, the Robie House, the Oriental Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry and the DuSable Museum of African American History.[26]

 Milwaukee District/North Line:

Milwaukee District North is a 49.5 mile (80 km) route to northern suburbs. The line has 22 stations from Union Station to Fox Lake. The line had an average of 23,500 weekday passenger trips in 2010.[26]

 Milwaukee District/West Line

Milwaukee District West is a 39.8 mile (64 km) route to western suburbs. The line has 22 stations from Union Station to Big Timber Road; during off-peak hours service terminates at Elgin. The line had an average of 22,300 weekday passenger trips in 2010.[26]

 North Central Service

North Central Service is a 52.8 mile (85 km) route to northern and northwest suburbs on weekdays only. The line has 18 stations from Union Station to Antioch. It had an average of 5,400 weekday passenger trips in 2010.
North Central's O'Hare Transfer station connects to O'Hare International Airport and is walking distance from the Allstate Arena.[26]

 Rock Island District

The Rock Island District is a 46.8 mile (75 km) route to southwest and southern suburbs. The line has 26 stations on two branches from LaSalle Street Station to Joliet. It had an average of 30,500 weekday passenger trips in 2010.
Rock Island's 35th Street station provides service to the Illinois Institute of Technology and U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox.[26]

 SouthWest Service

SouthWest Service is a 40.8 mile (66 km) route to southwest suburbs. The line has 13 stations from Union Station to Manhattan. It had an average of 9,500 weekday passenger trips in 2010.[26]

 Union Pacific/North Line:

Union Pacific North is a 51.6 mile (83 km) route to the northern suburbs. The line has 27 stations from Ogilvie Transportation Center to Kenosha Metra station. The line had an average of 36,400 weekday passenger trips in 2010.
The line serves Northwestern University via the Evanston Davis Street station, Ravinia Festival via the Ravinia Park station and the Chicago Botanic Garden via the Braeside station.[26]

 Union Pacific/Northwest Line

The longest Metra route, Union Pacific Northwest is a 70.5 mile (113 km) route to the northwest suburbs. The line has 23 stations from Ogilvie Transportation Center to Harvard and McHenry. The line had an average of 40,900 weekday passenger trips in 2010.
The line serves Arlington Park through the Arlington Park station.[26]

 Union Pacific/West Line

Union Pacific West is a 43.6 mile (70 km) route to the western suburbs. The line has 19 stations from Ogilvie Transportation Center to Elburn. The line had an average of 29,400 weekday passenger trips in 2010.[26]

Intermodal connections

Transportation in Chicago consists of a public transportation infrastructure allowing for intermodal connections to local, regional, national and international transportation services. Parking lots are available adjacent to most suburban Metra stations for passengers connecting with their train by car. Most parking lots are operated by the municipality they are located in. Fees and fines are also assessed by the local municipality; however, parking is usually free on weekends and most holidays.[28] Mass transit CTA and suburban Pace buses connect with many Metra stations downtown and in the suburbs. Monthly pass holders are offered link-up options with these services.[29] In addition, many intercity bus lines connect with passengers outside of Union Station.[30]

The Chicago 'L' also has transfers with Metra at some Chicago stations. Most 'L' lines traverse the Loop allowing nearby access to all downtown Metra terminals. There are also transfer points between Metra and the 'L' outside of the Loop, such as transfers from the Union Pacific/Northwest Line to the Blue Line at Irving Park and Jefferson Park Transit Center.[31] 'L' trains announce downtown Metra connections on board when announcing the next 'L' stop. Amtrak intercity trains depart alongside Metra trains at Union Station.[32] In addition to Illinois Service and Hiawatha Service, Amtrak trains run nationwide including service to states spanning both coastlines.[33] Passengers connecting from Ogilvie Transportation Center can access Union Station through its north platforms on the opposite side of Madison Street.[32]

Positive train control

In regards to the PTC mandate that passed congress, Metra has taken steps to meet this deadline. Metra believes that the December 31, 2015 mandate to have PTC running is an unreasonable requirement. This aligns with the stance taken by much of the railroad industry.[34] This is due to a variety factors including but not limited to: delays from the government and the fundamental complexity of building a program from the ground up. Moreover, Metra estimates the cost of implementing the system on their 1,100 miles of track in the Chicago region to be over $200 million.[35] The fear is this unfunded mandate will divert scarce capital funds from other essential needs. This includes building and maintaining existing tracks, stations, signals, and other equipment that ensures a safe operating environment for all of Metra’s passengers. However, Metra recognizes the need for PTC but just would like a more reasonable timeline to implement such a program. This recognition is partially based on Metra’s previous accident history. Two noteworthy events were a pair of accidents on the Rock Island Line within a span of a couple of years. The first event was a derailment that occurred on Oct. 12, 2003 when a train flew through a 10 mph crossing at 68 mph. A second very similar occurrence happened on Sep. 17, 2005 but was more serious. This derailment killed 2 passengers and injured 117.[35] Both of these incidents could have been prevented if PTC were in place. In both circumstances PTC would have overridden the engineer and slowed the train down to the appropriate speed to prevent an accident from occurring. Just recently Metra has taken significant steps in the process to fully implementing PTC. On April 22, 2015 the Metra board approved an $80 million contract to Parsons Transportation Group.[36] Parson’s was the sole bidder and speaks to the complexities of the project. They will be in charge of incorporating various devices from GPS, radio, to trackside antennas into one cohesive system. The group has some experience in this sector previously as Parsons worked with the southern California commuter rail agency Metrolink to install their system.

Fare system and ticketing

Entrance to a Metra bilevel rail car.

Fare is determined by the distance travelled by a passenger. Each station along every route has been placed in a specific zone based on its distance from its respective downtown station. Downtown termini and downtown stations are classified as zone 'A' and each additional zone generally represents an added 5 miles (8.0 km) from the downtown terminus. Multiple stations can be placed in the same zone even though they are on the same line.[29] Fare zones include A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, and M. There are no stations in zone L.


Several ticketing options exist for passengers. Riders may choose to purchase one-way tickets, ten-ride tickets, weekend passes or monthly passes.[37]

  • A one-way ticket is used for one-way travel between two stations. For roundtrip travel, two one-way tickets can be purchased. One-way tickets can be purchased from ticket agents or on the train from a conductor. Conductors will charge an extra $3 if a ticket agent was available at the passenger's departing station,[29] and this cost will increase to $5 once the Ventra Mobile App is launched.[38][39]
  • A ten-ride provides ten rides between two zones determined at the time of purchase. Ten-rides can be shared between passengers and expire after one year from the date of purchase. Ten-rides can be purchased from ticket agents, by mail or online from Metra's website.[29]
  • A weekend pass provides unlimited travel between any and all zones for one passenger on a Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes weekend passes are extended to include holidays adjacent to the weekend. Weekend passes can always be purchased from conductors without a surcharge and from ticket agents. As of 2015, weekend passes cost $8.[29]
  • A monthly pass provides unlimited travel between any two zones for one passenger on every day of a respective month. Monthly passes can be used on any line within the specified zones. Monthly passes can be purchased from ticket agents, by mail or online from Metra's website. Monthly pass holders may also purchase a Pace PlusBus card in conjunction with their monthly pass purchase. The PlusBus card provides unlimited rides on all Pace suburban buses.[40] A CTA/Pace Link-Up pass is also available for purchase. On CTA buses and the CTA 'L' the Link-Up pass allows unlimited travel during weekday rush hours and on Pace buses it allows unlimited travel anytime. Monthly pass holders may also travel beyond the zones listed on the monthly pass by purchasing incremental tickets from conductors on the train. Incremental tickets cost $1 beyond the first zone and 50 cents for every additional zone thereafter. There is no surcharge to purchase incremental tickets for monthly pass holders.[29]

Reduced fare programs

Metra allows some travellers to purchase reduced fare tickets or even ride for free. These reduced fare and free ride programs are administered by Metra and the RTA. Some pre-college students, youth, senior citizens, members of the United States Armed Forces and persons with disabilities may qualify for these programs. Time-based and geographical restrictions apply to these programs and passengers must ensure they qualify before attempting to purchase special tickets or ride for free.[29]

Safety and security

Metra F40PH locomotives at the Waukegan Station.

Metra employees, the Metra Police Department and other public safety agencies are responsible for maintaining safety and security on its lines, aboard its trains and at stations all to various degrees. Although rail transport is one of the safest forms of land travel,[41] compromises to Metra's safety and security can occur through pedestrian accidents, suicide attempts, vehicle collisions, derailment, terrorism and other incidents. Failing to maintain safety and security can result in equipment and infrastructure damage, extensive service disruptions, traumatic injuries and loss of life. Therefore, Metra and other agencies consider safety a top priority and dedicate a significant amount of resources to combat these dangers.[42]

Starting in early summer of 2013 Metra has announced plans to up police patrols on to the seven lines the agency operates: the Milwaukee Districts North and West, the North Central Service, the Heritage Corridor, South West Service, Rock Island and Electric District. The police patrols will not be help on the BNSF and Union Pacific train lines because those line are operated by the railroads that own them and security falls to those companies. When asked why there were increasing patrols spokesman Michael Gillis said, "There is no particular reason, other than the fact that we want to be more proactive and more deliberately visible to our riders,"[43]

Law enforcement

The Metra Police Department is a special law enforcement agency charged with providing police services to passengers, employees, equipment and property. The department has more than 100 police officers and is responsible for the safety of all routes and stations.[44] In an effort to help coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management, all Metra police officers are certified in the National Incident Management System.[45] In addition, the Metra police work with the Chicago Police Department as a member of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy.[44] To date, only one Metra police officer has been killed in the line of duty.[46]

Rail safety

The focus on rail safety by Metra comes from many fronts beyond operations including emergency preparedness and public awareness.[45] The setup of

  • Metra
  • Regional Transportation Authority

External links

  • "Leaders Agree to Push for Metra". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online, 22 December 2004. Archived from the original on 2005-01-07. Retrieved 2005-01-20. 
  • "Village board seeks Metra extension". McHenry Online. Retrieved 2005-01-20. 
  • "Metra: Driven by its history, A modern Chicago railroad carries its past with it". Trains Magazine, July 2003, by J. David Ingles. Retrieved 2006-09-24. 
  • "The CTA's "Doomsday Budget"-and what it means to Metra riders" (PDF). On the Bi-Level, May 2005 Special Edition. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2005-06-08. 
  • J. David Ingles, Metra: "Best Commuter Train", Trains July 1993

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c "Frequently Asked Questions - Where do Metra trains run?". Metra. Retrieved December 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Metra Passenger Operations" (PDF). Metra. October 14, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Former train engineer Orseno named Metra chief executive". Chicago Tribune. January 31, 2014. 
  5. ^ Public Transportation Ridership Report, Fourth Quarter 2013. Commuter Rail. (PDF) (Report).  
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b "Railroads". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society. January 23, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Chicago Commuter Rail Collection". Special Collection Finding Aids.  
  10. ^ a b Vandervoort, Bill (October 12, 2010). "Metra History". Metra Railfanning. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Metra History". About Metra. Metra. April 19, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Rail Board To Assume New Identity: Metra". Chicago Tribune. July 11, 1985. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Metra Ridership Reports – Annual Ridership". Metra Annual Report. Metra. March 10, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Metra Connects". Metra. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  16. ^ Wronski, Richard; Metz, Nina (April 14, 2011). "Metra probe of alleged shakedown got lost in 'chaos' following agency pay scandal". Chicago Tribune ( 
  17. ^ "RTA report blasts Metra board over Clifford severance". 
  18. ^ "Metra CEO memo alleges more Madigan influences". Chicago Tribune. July 12, 2013. 
  19. ^ 5th Metra board member, Stanley Rakestraw, resigns under pressure from Toni Preckwinkle |
  20. ^ Rossi, Rosalind (August 27, 2013). "Metra names ‘railroad man’ as interim CEO". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  21. ^ Wronski, Richard; Stacy St. Clair (August 28, 2013). "Veteran 'railroad guy' takes over at Metra". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Metra Board Picks ‘Railroad Man’ As Interim Director". CBS Chicago. August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ "New board members take seats at Metra". Chicago Tribune. October 21, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Former train engineer Orseno named Metra chief executive". Chicago Tribune. January 31, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Metra's board faces decision on new executive director". Chicago Tribune. January 30, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Metra System Map". Maps and schedules. Metra. April 3, 2011. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  27. ^ Ranney, George (February 6, 2004). Testimony to the Regional Transportation Task Force (PDF). Regional Transportation Task Force.  
  28. ^ "Parking Map". Riding Metra. Metra. February 23, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b c d e f g "Tickets". Metra. April 27, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Transportation". Travel Tools. City of Chicago. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  31. ^ Garfield, Graham. "Jefferson Park". Northern Illinois History. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  32. ^ a b "Chicago Union Station". Metra. February 23, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Chicago, IL - Union Station (CHI)". Amtrak. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Positive Train Control". Association of American Railroads. 
  35. ^ a b Wronksi, Richard. "Metra argues for delay of 'fail-safe' rail system". Chicago Tribune. 
  36. ^ Wronski, Richard. "Metra to spend $80 million to help launch safety system". Chicago Tribune. 
  37. ^ "Tickets". Metra. May 21, 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  38. ^ "Metra postpones hike in cost of ticket bought on-board - Chicago". Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  39. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Ventra app presented at show-and-tell, expected to be rolled out soon". Retrieved 2015-07-29. 
  40. ^ "Changes Coming as Link-Up, PlusBus Cards Transition to Ventra". Metra. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  41. ^ U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (2010). National Transportation Statistics. Table 2-1: Transportation Fatalities by Mode (Report). Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  42. ^ a b "School Safety". Rail Safety & Security. Metra. May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  43. ^ Metra ups police presence on trains -
  44. ^ a b "Security". Rail Safety & Security. Metra. February 23, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  45. ^ a b "Emergency Preparedness/Public Awareness". Rail Safety & Security. Metra. February 24, 2011. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  46. ^ Officer Down Memorial Page: Thomas Alan Cook
  47. ^ Association of American Railroads (reprinted by Norfolk Southern Railway) (May 16, 2006). "Railroads Set Another Employee Safety Record in 2005". Archived from the original on February 13, 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2006. 
  48. ^
  49. ^ a b c "FRA Office of Safety Analysis Web Site". Casualties By State, Railroad or Type.  
  50. ^ "1972, October 30: Illinois Central Commuter Train Crash". Chicago Public Library. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  52. ^ Wronski, Richard (September 19, 2012). "Agreement reached in 2003 Metra derailment lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  53. ^ Wronski, Richard; Quintanilla, Ray (December 22, 2006). "Human error, Metra blamed in 2005 crash". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 February 2015. 
  54. ^ "Clifford Settles Violinist Lawsuit Against METRA for $35 Million". March 11, 2002. Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  55. ^ Uphues, Bob (September 28, 2005). "Suit filed against railroads in cyclist's death: Metra, BNFS negligence cited as the cause". Riverside Brookfield Landmark. Retrieved May 20, 2011. 
  56. ^ Doing Business with Metra
  57. ^ Beecher, Marshall (December 2015). "Metra adds muscle to its fleet".  
  58. ^ Wronski, Richard (August 13, 2010). "Metra to buy 1st new cars for Electric Line in 5 years". Chicago Breaking News Center. Archived from the original on February 13, 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 


See also

Numbers Type Heritage Year Built Builder Status
1201–1226 MU Coach Metra 2005 Nippon Sharyo Operating
1227–1238 MU Coach Metra 2012 Sumitomo Group[58] Operating
1239–1279 MU Coach Metra 2013 Sumitomo Group Operating
1280-1386 MU Coach Metra Deliveries began in 2012 Sumitomo Group Not Ready
1501–1630 MU Coach Illinois Central 1971–1972 St. Louis Some retired
1631–1666 MU Coach Illinois Central 1978–1979 Bombardier Some retired

Metra electric fleet

Numbers Type Heritage Year Built Builder Disposition
553 Private railroad car Chicago and North Western 1949 ACF Operating
555 Private railroad car Chicago and North Western 1949 ACF Retired

Privately owned club coaches

Numbers Type Heritage Year Built Builder Disposition
740–820, 7100-7121 Coach Burlington 1950–1973, 1977-1978 Budd Operating

Some sold to MItrain in Michigan

6001–6194 Coach Metra 2002–2005 Nippon Sharyo Operating
7200–7382 Coach Milwaukee Road 1961–1980 Budd Operating
7400–7497 Coach Metra 1996–1998 Amerail Operating

Rebuilt, 2012

8200–8238 Coach/Cab Milwaukee Road 1961–1974 Budd Operating
8239–8275 Coach/Cab RTA 1978–1980 Budd Operating

Some have been converted to coaches.

8400–8478 Coach/Cab Metra 1994–1998 Morrison-Knudsen/Amerail Operating mainly assigned on the UP lines.
8501–8608 Coach/Cab Metra 2002–2005 Nippon Sharyo Operating
7700–7866 Coach Chicago and North Western 1960–1970 Pullman Operating

Five have been purchased back due to money problems.

7600–7613 Coach Chicago and North Western 1955 St. Louis Retired two preserved in the Illinois Railway Museum
7650–7681 Coach Chicago and North Western 1956 Pullman Retired one preserved in Illinois Railway Museum as a cab coach
7867–7871 Coach Rock Island 1970 St. Louis Retired
7880 Coach (Former Parlor) Chicago and North Western 1958 Pullman Retired
7881–7885 Coach Rock Island 1970 Pullman Retired
7900–7901 Club Car Chicago and North Western 1955 St. Louis Retired
8700–8763 Coach/Cab Chicago and North Western 1960–1968 Pullman Retired
Former Metra gallery cars waiting to be parted out and scrapped.
A Nippon Sharyo gallery car, built in the early 2000s

Coach fleet

Numbers Model Year Built Assigned Disposition
100–149, 215-216 F40PH-3 1976–1981 All diesel routes Operating, 100-149 rebuilt to phase 3 status between 2008-2011[56]

215-216 sold to Metra in 2009 by the Tennessee Central Railway Museum and refurbished by Progress Rail before coming to Chicago.
METX 215: Ex-Amtrak 258
METX 216: Ex-Amtrak 375

150–184 F40PH-2 1979–1989 All diesel routes, many of which are assigned to the UP lines Operating, being rebuilt to F40PH-3s as of January 2011
185–214 F40PHM-2 1991–1992 BNSF, RI and Southwest Service.

The F40PHM-2s are the last F40PH series locomotives built.

401–427 MP36PH-3S 2003–2004 BNSF, RI, Milwaukee North, Milwaukee West and North Central Service Operating
305, 308 F7 1949 All Diesel Routes Retired, donated to Illinois Railway Museum 308 is still operating and 305 has been restored as Chicago and Northwestern 411.
514–516, 518, 521 E8 1951–1953 All Diesel Routes Retired 515 and 518 have been sold to SL&RG
600–614 F40C 1974 Milwaukee Districts Retired

611 and 614 were brought back into service, first in 2004 when the MP36PH-3S had software and computer problems when first delivered to Metra and again in 2008 while F40s were sent to Progress Rail for overhaul all units are presumed scrapped. 610 resides at National Railway Equipment in Dixmoor, IL.

1–2 SW1 1939 RI, Number 1 has been modified with MU Car couplers and is the oldest operating loco in the U.S. that is not preserved. It is used to transfer cars from Metra Electric at Blue Island to the Blue Island wheel house to maintain proper wheel profile on Metra Electric MU cars. Both originally Illinois Central units, then sold to Rock Island. Conveyed to RTA in the take over of commuter service.ME Operating
3 SW1200 Rock Island District, Used for work trains and in switch moves between districts. Originally Milwaukee Road Operating
4–9 SW1500 RI, Milwaukee West, Milwaukee North, ME Operating
N/A [57] F59PH 1988 Three ex-AMT locomotives; unassigned as yet
Metra F40PHM-2 locomotive #206
Metra F40PH-2 locomotive #181 coupled with MP36PH-3S locomotive #410

All of Metra's locomotives are diesel-electric locomotives. The bulk of its locomotive fleet consists of F40PH locomotives. The Electric District uses electric multiple units.

Locomotive fleet

Rolling stock

In addition to the loss of life, injuries, damage and service disruptions caused by accidents, Metra and other transportation agencies have been involved in multimillion-dollar lawsuits and settlements stemming from safety failures.[54][55] These failures have also resulted in updated safety policies and adjustments of equipment and warning devices.[51]

The worst passenger rail disaster in Illinois occurred prior to the formation of Regional Transportation Authority. The 1972 Chicago commuter rail crash consisted of a two train collision on track now used for the Metra Electric District. The collision resulted in 45 deaths and 332 injuries.[50] Two decades later, Metra experienced its first rail disaster, the 1995 Fox River Grove bus–train collision.[51] This accident involved a collision of a Metra train and a school bus at a grade crossing resulting in 21 injuries and the deaths of seven high school students.[51] In 2003, another incident involved a train derailing while switching from one track to another, injuring 45 passengers. In 2005, a locomotive carrying 200 passengers along the same stretch of track derailed and then collided with a steel bridge resulting in two deaths and 117 injured. The cause of both accidents was ruled to be human error; the trains were going at speeds in excess of 68 miles per hour (109 km/h) when they should have been going 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).[52][53]

There were 156 non-employee fatalities involving Metra equipment and Metra owned track between 2001 and 2010.[49] On average 15 people were killed annually based on data from that decade. The highest number of fatalities in a year throughout that time occurred in 2002, with 23 deaths and in 2010, with 21 deaths. The majority of these fatalities occurred at grade crossings and on railway involving an impact with a train; only four deaths involved passengers aboard the train.[49]

Metra related fatalities: The bar graph above shows the number of non-employee, Metra related deaths (listed vertically). This graph uses data from the previous decade and is organized by year (horizontally).[49]


Metra expects to implement positive train control on its entire system in 2019, four years after the federally mandated 2015 deadline.[48]

Metra has been honored with several E. H. Harriman Awards for employee safety, most recently with a Bronze award in class B (line-haul railroads with between 4 and 15 million employee hours per year) for 2005. Previous Harriman Awards conferred to Metra include Gold awards for 2003 and 2004 and a Silver award for 2002.[47]


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