Metra to offer shuttle service from O'Hare to downtown Chicago during DNC

The expanded service will be offered in mid-to-late August on weekdays only

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Metra officials confirmed Wednesday that they will offer hourly service from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport into downtown during the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

According to Metra officials, the North Central Service line, which runs from Antioch to Chicago’s Union Station, will handle the shuttle service, with the expanded schedule going into effect on Aug. 12 and running through Aug. 30.

Metra CEO Jim Derwinski said that the service expansion occurred after negotiations with freight train companies who control right-of-ways on the tracks that the NCS uses during the day.

“We’re going to do it for 10 days. That’s all they’re giving us,” he said.

Currently, the NCS line operates seven total trains into downtown Chicago on weekdays and seven back to the suburbs. The last train from Antioch departs at 3:38 p.m., but there is a six-hour gap from a series of six trains that run earlier in the morning, according to the agency’s timetables.

Trains back from Chicago to Antioch begin running at 7:10 a.m., with the last train returning to the suburb at 6 p.m. under normal schedules.

During the DNC, gaps in that schedule will be filled by hourly trains that will solely run from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago. Those trains will originate at O’Hare every hour, and will make stops in River Grove, at Western Avenue and finally at Union Station.

Trains back to O’Hare will also run hourly from Union Station, with the first train leaving at 7:49 a.m. and the final one departing at 9:49 p.m. each evening.

Riders are also reminded that they can take the Blue Line from O'Hare to downtown Chicago.

Derwinski is encouraging residents interested in expanded service on the NCS to utilize it as often as possible so that the ridership data can be shared with the freight companies that control right-of-way on the tracks.

“We’re going to try to market the heck out of this, to try to see if people really would use that service. I’ve got a tremendous amount of interest in trying to build that type of service,” he said.

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