Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Jenner
I just joined this forum, and although I'm not a railfan, I'm interested in transit in general.

I saw some posts regarding how busy the BNSF gets, especially at Naperville, and it got me thinking about the following scenario: what if the HC trains were rerouted to go to Plainfield instead of Joliet? The HC would follow its current path, until it meets the EJ&E. New junctions would be needed to transition the trains from the HC to the EJ&E. From there, the train would go through Crest Hill until Plainfield. Two new stations can be built, one in Crest Hill (to get north Joliet commuters), and another in Plainfield (to get some southern Naperville commuters). This would relieve the BNSF, and add more traffic on the HC.

There are some obvious logistical issues, such as additional equipment, agreements from CN, etc. But if the traffic is there, would it be in Metra's interest to fund such a project?
  by doepack
Hi, Jenner, and welcome!

Metra has been talking about adding a station on HC at Romeoville at some point. I'm not certain where that stands right now, not sure if the money has been allocated yet, but once built, it will be a much more convenient option for Plainfield commuters, since the station would be closer (less than 10 miles) than going to Naperville. However, I wouldn't expect actual rail service to Plainfield to happen anytime soon, perhaps the feasibility could be explored/studied at some point after more service is added, but I stopped holding my breath waiting for that to happen long ago...
  by buddah
I do like the idea of the HC being rerouted however IMHO Metra would need a branch off from the HC current route outside of Willow springs across the cal sag through Willowbrook, Bolingbrook, Romeoville and then Plainfield to capture ridership traffic from this densely populated area , unfortunately no such trackage exists.
  by Rockingham Racer
Wasn't there a proposal "back when" to extend some Aurora trains west and diverge south from the BNSF at Montgomery?
  by metraRI
While routing HC to Plainfield is an interesting idea, I don't think this would ever be considered since the same routing on EJE/CN is proposed for the STAR line. There were also talks in the past of extending HC south to Wilmington.
Metra could probably attract more riders from the Plainfield area to stations in Lockport/Romeoville (planned station) simply by improving OTP and adding more trains.
  by EJ&ESDM809
There have been talks about extending the BNSF from Aurora to Oswego. I would guess they'd add a new station at Montgomery as well as Oswego if that happens.

The communities along the HC (including Romeoville which will soon be getting its new station) have been rallying for more service, including a mid-day train and a fourth train during the morning and evening rushes. The only problem is the CN doesn't seem to be willing to add those trains at this point.

About getting the HC to go to Plainfield, good luck getting CN to allow Metra trains on the J. I also think the STAR Line has a slim to none chance of happening for that same reason. CN bought the J to re-route their own trains around Chicago, not for expanding Metra service. If they J had stayed independent, maybe the STAR line would happen, but with CN in charge now, I say it's going to be a long time if it happens at all.
  by Jenner
I know that Oswego and Yorkville were looking for stations on the Aurora BNSF. Kendall county would have to join the RTA for this to occur. And, somehow, they would have to figure out if the train would stop in Aurora while continuing on to Oswego or Yorkville. The Aurora stop is on separate tracks at a different grade, and don't allow for a continuation of the train.