Union Pacific / North Line
The Union Pacific / North Line (UP-N) is a Metra line in the Chicago metropolitan area. It runs between Ogilvie Transportation Center and Kenosha, Wisconsin; however, most trains terminate in Waukegan, Illinois. Although Metra owns the rolling stock, the trains are operated and dispatched by the Union Pacific Railroad. This line was previously operated by the Chicago & North Western Railway before its merger with Union Pacific, and was called the Chicago and North Western Milwaukee Division and then the Chicago & North Western/North Line before the C&NW was absorbed by Union Pacific in April, 1995.
The current timetable has 35 weekday trains leaving Chicago, 17 of which terminate at Waukegan, 9 at Kenosha, 3 at Highland Park, 5 at Winnetka, 1 at North Chicago.
The route followed by the UP/North Line was constructed in 1854 by the Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad. Passenger service between Chicago and Waukegan began on January 4, 1855. Initially, a single train operated each day, departing from a terminal in Chicago at Water St. and Kinzie St. at 8:30 am and returning from Waukegan at 3:30 pm. The president of the railroad, former Chicago mayor Walter S. Gurnee, speculated on land in Lake County spurring the development of railway suburbs along the line. The railroad merged with the Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad in 1863, and was acquired by the Chicago and North Western Railway in 1866. Commuter rail services along the line started operating into the new Chicago and North Western Terminal (now Ogilvie Transportation Center) in 1911. In 1966, the Chicago and North Western closed the Lake Front Depot and began operating into the new Milwaukee Union Station. This service would ultimately prove to be relatively short lived as the Chicago and North Western ended operations between Chicago and Milwaukee in 1971 and the line was truncated to Kenosha.
The North line became part of Metra when the agency was formed in 1984. The trains continued to be operated by the Chicago and North Western Railway under contract until that railroad was bought by Union Pacific in 1995. UP now operates passenger services along the line for Metra. Under a longstanding agreement that UP inherited from the C&NW, Metra owns the vehicles and the stations along the line, but Union Pacific employs the people who actually drive the trains, and they also control the right-of-way along the route.
All stations on the line except for Ravinia Park are open daily. Ravinia Park is only open during the Ravinia Festival in the summer months.
Current and future
In 2010, Metra began a project to replace 22 bridges between Clybourn and Rogers Park, which are at the end of their design lives and in need of replacement. Metra's initial plan called for significantly reduced service for the duration of the project. Widespread frustration with this service pattern led to the project being delayed to investigate potential ways to keep existing service. Many people were angry that the original plan for the project would have centered the tracks in the existing right-of-way, preventing any possibility of rebuilding a third track without rebuilding the entire right-of-way or purchasing additional land. Metra claimed that in order to maintain existing service levels during construction, $100 million in additional funding would be needed. This funding was eventually procured and in 2011, Metra began work on a modified plan that will allow pre-existing service levels to be maintained as the bridges are replaced.
There have been ongoing plans to extend the line, possibly as far as Milwaukee for many years. Wisconsin's now defunct Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SERTA) had completed several studies of the project, but was disbanded in 2011. An Application for funding under the FTA's New Starts program was submitted in 2010, and the agency received federal money for preliminary engineering and construction. In 2011, however, a new Wisconsin budget passed which disbanded SERTA. $15 million in federal funding was returned. The project has since received little attention and is generally considered "Dead."
In late 2015, the Racine City Council unanimously approved a study to extend the line from its current terminus at Kenosha to Racine.
After the passage of the Rebuild Illinois, $15 million was allocated by the State of Illinois for construction of a new Peterson Ridge station located in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. Construction is expected to start in 2020.
Since 2014 annual ridership has declined from 9.3 million to 8.6 million, an overall decline of 6.8%.
The Union Pacific / North Line operates push-pull service with bi-level gallery car coaches and cab cars from Budd, Morrison-Knudsen/Amerail, and Nippon Sharyo. The locomotive fleet consists of EMD F40PHs.
Car 553 is a club car operating exclusively on the UP/North Line. It is not actually owned by the railroad, but by a private club of commuters. UP allows the operation at no charge, apart from collecting ticket fares from the club members, who are in charge of maintaining the railcar. Club membership was once limited to wealthy male commuters from affluent North Shore towns such as Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Highland Park, but is now open to any commuter on the line for a $900 annual membership fee. It is the last privately owned railcar in American commuter service.
The southern terminus of the UP/North Line is at the Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago. The route traverses Chicago's northern neighborhoods and its northern and far northern suburbs to Kenosha, Wisconsin.
|State||Zone||Location||Station||Connections and notes|
|Milwaukee||Milwaukee Intermodal Station||Closed 1971|
|National Avenue||Closed between 1943 and 1956|
|Cudahy||Cudahy Depot||Closed between 1956 and 1961|
|South Milwaukee||South Milwaukee||Closed between 1956 and 1961|
|Racine||Racine Depot||Closed 1971|
|J||Kenosha||Kenosha||Kenosha Area Transit: 1, 4|
|IL||I||Winthrop Harbor||Winthrop Harbor|
|Zion||Camp Logan||Closed after October 28, 1956, served Camp Logan|
|Beach Park||Dunes Park||Closed after October 28, 1956|
|Waukegan||Asbestos||Closed after October 28, 1956|
|H||Waukegan||Pace: 561, 562, 563, 564, 565, 568, 571, 572|
|G||North Chicago||Abbott's Platform||Closed 1986|
|North Chicago||Pace: 563, 564|
|Great Lakes||Pace: 563|
|Lake Bluff||Lake Bluff|
|F||Lake Forest||Lake Forest|
|Highwood||Fort Sheridan||Pace: 472|
|Highland Park||Highland Park||Pace: 213, 471, 472|
|Braeside||Pace: 628, 629, 640|
|Winnetka||Hubbard Woods||Pace: 213|
|Winnetka||Pace: 213, 423|
|Indian Hill||Pace: 213|
|Kenilworth, Illinois||Kenilworth||Pace: 213|
|C||Wilmette||Wilmette||Pace: 213, 421, 422|
|Evanston||Evanston Central Street||CTA Bus: 201, 206|
|Evanston Davis Street||Chicago "L": Purple Line (at Davis)|
CTA Bus: 93, 201, 206
Pace: 208, 213, 250
|Dempster Street||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Evanston Main Street||Chicago "L": Purple Line (at Main)|
CTA Bus: 206
|Calvary||Closed December 1, 1958, served Calvary Cemetery|
|B||Chicago||Rogers Park||CTA Bus: 22, 96|
|Kenmore||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Rose Hill||Closed December 1, 1958, served Rosehill Cemetery|
|Summerdale||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Ravenswood||Chicago "L": Brown Line (at Damen)|
CTA Bus: 81
|Ravenswood–Wilson||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Northcenter||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Belmont Avenue||Closed December 1, 1958|
|Deering||Closed after June 13, 1943|
|A||Clybourn||Metra: Union Pacific / Northwest Line|
CTA Bus: 9, X9, 73
|Ogilvie Transportation Center||Metra: Union Pacific / Northwest Line, Union Pacific / West Line|
Chicago "L": Green Line, Pink Line (at Clinton)
CTA Bus: J14, 19, 56, 60, 120, 124, 125, 126, 128, 130, 157, 192
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Metra Union Pacific/North Line.|
- Metra Union Pacific/North service schedule