Union Pacific is planning to add a third railroad line on its UP/Metra West Line from River Forest to Melrose Park and then from West Chicago to Geneva. In our community, the 6-mile stretch of new rail is proposed to be set 20 feet south of the current tracks.
The improvements are designed to ensure smoother traffic flow and reduce conflicts between commuter and freight trains that share the line. Earlier projects completed by Metra and Union Pacific modernized the signal system and added crossovers to make freight movement more efficient. The West Line third rail expansion will allow 59 Metra trains and 70 freight trains that use the line each day to operate at the same time, which the railroad agencies believe is a critical step to improving the line’s reliability and efficiency.
Union Pacific needs to acquire small tracts of land as part of the project. Specific property acquisition details have not been made available to the City.
Construction on the third rail is not expected to begin until fall 2018 and is expected to take 24 months to complete.
To prepare for the loss of about 145 surface parking spaces to accommodate the railroad expansion, the City secured grant funding and built a third tier expansion for the Third Street Commuter parking deck expansion (180 new spaces).
The new Fourth Street commuter permit parking lot (91 spaces) also has opened in 2016.