Study OK'd on More Trains for Metra Heritage Line
April 4, 2011
By Richard Wronski
Local, state and federal officials announced today that funding has been earmarked for a study on increasing Metra service on the Heritage Corridor Line.
The funding from the Illinois Department of Transportation is coming at the request of U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., officials said. The study will be conducted by the Canadian National Railway, which owns the right-of-way on which the Heritage Corridor operates.
Lipinski made the announcement at the Willow Springs station along with IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig, Metra Chairwoman Carole Doris, and other state and local leaders and transportation officials.
"Metra service doesn't just help those who use it – it benefits everyone who drives by reducing the number of vehicles on our roads, which are now the most congested in the entire country," Lipinski said. "As things stand today, the lack of trains on the Heritage Corridor means there's a major gap in public transportation in the area between Metra's Southwest Service and BNSF Railway lines."
The study is expected to take three months and will be conducted this year. The cost of the study is still being negotiated, Hannig said.
"We're pleased to be able to provide support for this important study, which will help the entire state move forward more quickly on upgrades for high-speed and conventional rail services," Hannig said. "The study results will help us determine infrastructure improvements for more frequent, more reliable, and faster intercity and commuter service for Illinois travelers. Rep. Lipinski is to be commended for his advocacy and efforts on behalf of commuters."
Officials said the capacity study is a first step toward adding additional trains to the Heritage Corridor, which currently provides only three weekday round trip trains between Joliet and Chicago's Union Station, with stops in Summit, Willow Springs, Lemont, and Lockport.
Lipinski has been working for expansion of commuter service on the Heritage Corridor. He has also helped obtain state and federal funding for the CREATE program to modernize freight rail traffic through the Chicago region.
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