Metra Makes Change to BNSF Line After New Schedule Causes Delays, Overcrowding

Just days after major schedule changes took effect on a popular Metra line, the transit agency is making another shift to help alleviate commuters' concerns.

Metra announced Wednesday that another car would be added to six inbound BNSF trains to help with crowding.

Those trains are the 1202, 1210, 1226, 1230, 1244, and 1262.

This change came after schedule revisions were implemented Monday on the BNSF line thanks to the new federally-mandated safety system called positive train control.

Crews must initialize the new system - which automatically stops a train if the engineers fails to obey a signal or the speed limit - between runs.

That process takes time, meaning it will take longer to flip trains from one direction to another, roughly 12 to 15 minutes instead of 10 or less as it used to.

While the new system is necessary, it will likely take a bit of time for travelers to adjust.

Commuters began noticing overcrowding and delays on Monday after the new schedule went into effect - a timetable that cut the number of morning express trains leaving west suburban Hinsdale between 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. from four to just one.

Metra apologized for the crowded conditions under the new schedule, saying, "We know with major schedule revisions that changes may be needed as our customers get used to the schedule and adopt new travel patterns.”

The new safety system isn't expected to be fully completed until next year. Metra advised commuters to leave early, check schedule times and plan for delays.

The new schedule, on which some train times are shifted as much as 7 to 10 minutes, can be found here.

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