Union Pacific is planning to add a third railroad line on its UP/Metra West Line from Kress Road in West Chicago to Peck Road in Geneva. 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 finish acquiring small tracts of land as part of the project. The City is awaiting a new start date for construction, which is expected to take 18-24 months to complete.
The work also will require the temporary closure of the Western Avenue and Third Street grade crossings as well as the Route 31 underpass to traffic. The closures will be staggered so only one crossing will be closed at a given time.
Union Pacific will be funding the third rail line expansion.
To prepare for the loss of about 145 surface parking spaces to accommodate the railroad expansion, the City built a third tier expansion for the Third Street Commuter Parking Deck (180 new spaces) in 2015.
The new Fourth Street commuter permit parking lot (91 spaces) also opened in 2016.
Union Pacific gave a presentation to the City Council in May 2019. You can view the update on our YouTube Channel.