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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Metra launches 2020 construction program

Reductions in commuter-rail service due to the COVID-19 pandemic have allowed Metra to get a head start on its construction program.
Photo – Metra


Metra this week began several major projects as part of its 2020 construction program that will continue through the fall.

Commuter-rail service reductions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have enabled Metra to get an early start on its construction program, Metra officials said in a press release. 

“While we’d much rather be running normal service, we’re using this opportunity as best we can,” said Metra Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “By doing this, we hope to reduce the number of construction schedules needed this summer and may be able to finish some work more quickly than normal.”

The 2020 construction program includes improvements at 25 stations, 37 grade crossings and seven bridges. The program also includes replacement of about 53,000 rail ties, and signal and communications improvements.

Additionally, work will involve construction of two new stations; the replacement of a 121-year-old bridge over Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago; a $28.5 million fiber optic project on the Rock Island and SouthWest Service lines; and construction of new track segments on the UP West Line. 

The bulk of the construction program includes smaller infrastructure improvement and maintenance projects distributed across Metra’s 11 lines in Chicago.

Metra allocated $241.3 million in its 2020 capital program for the construction projects, including $51.2 million for station and parking improvements, $46 million for track maintenance and improvements, $22.7 million for bridge projects and $34.2 million for signal system upgrades. 

Additional funding was allocated in prior years’ capital programs or came from outside sources, including municipalities and Metra’s freight railroad partners.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/31/2020