Union Pacific announced it will transfer the commuter rail services to Metra, the company which operates in Chicago and its metropolitan area on the UP and BNSF rail lines.
The transfer includes employees who perform the work and UP anticipates completing the process by the end of the first quarter 2024.
As part of the transition, Metra will take over services including train crew, mechanical, car cleaning, rolling stock maintenance, ticket sales and some engineering services. Several management employees transitioned to Metra earlier this year, with plans to start transferring Mechanical and Transportation craft professionals in third quarter 2023.
“We greatly appreciate Metra’s collaboration in continuing to provide excellent and safe service to commuters during this transition. Thank you to our employees for your outstanding dedication and teamwork to provide uninterrupted commuter experience,” Eric Gehringer, executive vice President-Operations said.
Union Pacific will continue to maintain the track and manage train movements on its Union Pacific West, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific North rail routes.
Metra provides commuter rail services and directly owns and operates four lines – the Milwaukee District West, the Milwaukee District North, the Metra Electric and the Rock Island. Metra pays the two rail freight operators, pursuant to purchase-of-service agreements, to operate commuter service over their lines – North, Northwest and West operated by Union Pacific, and BNSF Line, operated by BNSF Railway. Metra also has trackage rights and lease agreements with two other freight rail operators to operate the Heritage Corridor, North Central Service and SouthWest Service.
In March, Metra announced it will update its schedule on the UP Northwest Line, adding 12 trains to the line’s weekday service, exceeding pre-pandemic service levels. The new schedule started on April 3, 2023 provides service at least every 30 minutes during the morning and evening rush hours as well as hourly service at most stations during off peak hours. The 12 additional weekday trips will increase the line’s total to 78 trips compared to 66 today and 65 before the pandemic.