|Locale||Chicago and southern suburbs|
|Termini||LaSalle Street Station|
|Line length||33 mi (53 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The SouthEast Service is a proposed commuter rail line to be operated by Metra, the commuter railroad service for the Chicago metropolitan area. This service would have included Chicago and some of its southern suburbs. The route of the proposed line would use tracks owned by CSX Transportation and the Union Pacific Railroad.
Past commuter service
Formerly, the Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad and the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad operated commuter service on this line out of Dearborn Station to Dolton and Momence, respectively. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois commuter line to Momence ended in 1935, while the Chicago and Western Indiana service to Dolton was discontinued in 1964.
The building of a line from Chicago to the south suburbs ending at Balmoral Park has been discussed as early as 1986. In 2003, METRA officials proposed the SouthEast Service at the insistence of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. that the south suburbs be included as part of METRA's larger ask for federal dollars after they were largely excluded from the proposed S.T.A.R. Line. Its northern terminus would be LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago. The line would then traverse Chicago's southern neighborhoods and its southern and far southern suburbs to Balmoral Park south of Crete, Illinois. Its average daily ridership was projected to be 9000. A fleet of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) has been proposed for this service.
In 2005, the SouthEast Service received initial funding authorization. In 2010, Al Riley became the chief sponsor of House Bill 1644 which created the Southeast Commuter Rail Transit District as a municipal corporation under Illinois state law. The District created has the right of eminent domain to acquire private property which is necessary for the purposes of the District and the power to contract for public mass transportation with an Interstate Transportation Authority. The district includes Crete, Steger, South Chicago Heights, Chicago Heights, Glenwood, Thornton, South Holland, Dolton, Calumet City, Lansing, and Lynwood. The bill was signed into law by Governor Pat Quinn on March 8, 2011.
According to the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's ONTO 2050 regionally significant projects benefit report published October 2018, the SouthEast Service is undergoing alternatives analysis and the identification of a Locally Preferred Alternative is in process. In 2019, the SouthEast Service was included in a Cost Benefit Analysis by METRA as a Teir 2 project.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology, an advocate for the new line, estimates that the SouthEast Service would more than double the number of average jobs accessible by transit in sixty minutes for the south suburbs on the line. In a 2016 letter to the editor, Martin J. Oberman, while the Chairman of METRA, supported the SouthEast Service.
- LaSalle Street Station
- 35th Street
- 115th Street
- South Holland. In 2012 South Holland spent $1.3 million to purchase land at 236 East 161st Place for the station.
- Glenwood. According to the 2010 Village of Glenwood Station Area Plan, potential station locations in Glenwood include a station located mid‐way between Main and Center Streets along Young Street.
- Chicago Heights
- South Chicago Heights
- Balmoral Park
- Metra New Starts site on proposed SouthEast Service Archived 2015-02-26 at the Wayback Machine
- Tejeda, Gregory (March 29, 2014). "Proponents of southeast Metra line say project still on track". Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Morales, Carlos (February 15, 2003). "Metra adds south line to plans ; Agency buckles after criticism". Chicago Tribune – via ProQuest.
- Hilkevitch, Jon (June 6, 2003). "RTA backs Metra link to O'Hare, suburbs; Agency gears up to vie for funding". Chicago Tribune – via ProQuest.
- Singer, Sam; Hilkevitch, Jon (July 30, 2005). "City, regional wish lists OKd in U.S. transit bill". Chicago Tribune – via ProQuest.
- Riley, Al (March 8, 2011). "House Bill 1644: Local Government Tech". Springfield, Illinois: Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- Staff (October 1, 2018). "Project Descriptions". ON TO 2050 Regionally Significant Projects Benefit Report. Chicago: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. p. 68. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
- AECOM Staff (January 16, 2019). "Systemwide Cost Benefit Analysis of Major Capital Improvements" (PDF). METRA. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
- "Transit Future: Rx for a Prosperous Region" (PDF). Transit Future. Center for Neighborhood Technology. April 15, 2015. p. 3. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- Oberman, Martin J. (July 29, 2016). "Voice of the People: Transit Deserts". Letter to Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
- Pratt, Gregory (September 20, 2015). "$1.3M spent on land for hoped-for Metra stop". Daily Southtown – via ProQuest.
- Gormely‐Barnes, Diane; Smith, Jonathan; Suprock, Julia; Supencheck, Lora; Kretchmer, Valerie; Dolin, Marissa (July 20, 2010). "Village of Glenwood Station Area Plan" (PDF). Regional Transportation Authority. Retrieved January 20, 2020.