Union Pacific wants to bail out of running Metra lines

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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File photo: Metra

The Chicago Daily Herald is reporting that Metra, the commuter rail agency for Chicago, may need to begin operating three more of its eleven routes into the city. The three routes in question are currently operated by Union Pacific, and designated UP North, UP West, and UP Northwest.

Union Pacific spokesperson Kristen South says that “we are negotiating a new agreement that gives Metra direct responsibility for operating its commuter lines through a services transfer.” South added “this will allow Union Pacific to focus on moving customers’ goods in and out of Chicago and across the nation. With the direct management of additional employees and equipment, Union Pacific believes Metra has the potential to realize financial savings and other benefits.”

For reasons not made public, this issue is being tried in federal court. Michael Gillis, a Metra spokesperson, said that “this legal matter will not impact train service, but it has a bearing on negotiations between Metra and UP over how service will continue on the lines and what it will cost after the current agreement between Metra and UP expires. Metra has an obligation to ensure uninterrupted service while protecting the interests of our customers and the taxpayers of northeastern Illinois and the entire state.” The current agreement expires February 29, 2020.

According to UP’s South, “there are fundamental principles that we believe require the help of a court to resolve as we work through this process. Due to the confidential nature of the negotiations, we cannot provide further details.”

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Categories: Class 1, Commuter/Regional, Freight, Passenger, Railroad News
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