Union Pacific / Northwest Line

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Union Pacific / Northwest Line
METX 142 in Norwood Park on the UP Harvard Subdivision.jpg
A Union Pacific / Northwest Line train led by an EMD F40PH in Norwood Park, Illinois
Service type Commuter Rail
Locale Cook, Lake and McHenry counties, Illinois
Current operator(s)
Ridership 38,600 (Avg. Weekday 2014)[1]
18,800 (Avg. Weekend 2014)[2]
Start Ogilvie Transportation Center
Stops 23
End Harvard, McHenry
Line used
Track owner(s) Union Pacific Railroad

The Union Pacific / Northwest Line (UP-NW) is a commuter rail line provided by Metra and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad in Chicago, Illinois and its surrounding suburbs. While Metra does not refer to any of its lines by colors, the timetable accents for the Union Pacific/Northwest line are bright "Viking Yellow," honoring the Chicago & North Western Railway's Viking passenger train.[3]

The line runs from the Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago to endpoints in McHenry, Illinois and Harvard, Illinois, with the McHenry branch served only during weekday rush hours. Overall, this is Metra's longest route and one of three lines with branches. The terminus of the McHenry branch progressively moved southwards, from Williams Bay, Wisconsin to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1965, Lake Geneva to Richmond, Illinois in 1975, and Richmond to McHenry in 1980.[4][page needed]

As of April 2013, the public timetable indicated 33 trains leaving Chicago each weekday, with three terminating at McHenry, 14 terminating at Crystal Lake, 4 terminating at Barrington, 11 at Harvard, and 1 at Des Plaines.

The line has many riders from southern Wisconsin due to its proximity to places like Madison and Janesville. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has funded studies on extending the line from Harvard to into Janesville, with potential stops along the way.[5] This line is also used by a handful of commuters from the Rockford area.[6] There has been talk of rebuilding the KD Line from Rockford to Harvard.[citation needed]

The Union Pacific / Northwest Line is Metra's second busiest line, with an average of 38,600 boardings on a weekday. It is second only to the BNSF Railway.

Station stops[edit]

Union Pacific / Northwest Line trains make the following station stops:

McHenry Branch after Pingree Road


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 21, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 21, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Did you know?" (PDF). On the Bi-Level: 3. June 2009. 
  4. ^ Behrens, P. L. (2002). Steam Trains to Geneva Lake: C&NW's Elgin – Williams Bay Branch. 
  5. ^ Judy Robson Announces Funding of Metra Feasibility Study[dead link]
  6. ^ Northern Illinois Commuter Transportation Initiative Rockford Bus Service to Chicago Area Archived May 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]

Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata

Media related to Metra Union Pacific/Northwest Line at Wikimedia Commons