Metra will be holding an open house forum from 5 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 4 at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., to provide Union Pacific North line riders with information about a major bridge reconstruction project that will require changes to the UP North schedule starting Aug. 21.
The $185-million project calls for replacing 22 aging bridges on the north side of Chicago over the next eight years. The first phase, from 2010-2014, will include 11 bridges between Grace and Balmoral. It will also include a new Ravenswood Station. The second phase, from 2014 to 2018, will cover the remaining bridges between Fullerton and Cornelia.
Because the bridge replacement and related work on retaining walls will require inbound and outbound trains to operate on a single track in the construction zone, the UP North schedule will be adjusted starting Aug. 21. Trains will stop at all stations along the line at different times, although the travel times will either stay the same or be a maximum of two minutes longer. Some busier stations will see more stops. In some cases, new express service will provide a shorter trip.
The schedule changes have been made because currently, trains traveling north and trains traveling south pass each other, or “meet,” near the Ravenswood Station. Since there will now be a single track in that area, the schedule has to be adjusted so that they pass each other outside the construction area. Those “meets” will now occur near Rogers Park and the Clybourn area.
UP North riders can also view more information about the project and see the proposed new schedule at www.metrarail.com.