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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Metra unveils $84.8 million construction program for 2018

The program includes $30 million for positive train control implementation.
Photo – Metra


Metra has set aside $84.8 million for its 2018 construction program, which includes major bridge replacement projects on two lines.

Projects will include station improvements, track upgrades and grade crossing updates. Among the highlights: The Chicago commuter railroad allocated $20.9 million for track maintenance and $12 million for bridge projects.

The railroad also has set aside $39.7 million for signal system upgrades, including $30 million for positive train control, Metra officials said in a press release.

Some of this year's projects are being funded through prior years' capital programs or outside sources, such as local municipalities and Metra's freight railroad partners.

"Our goal is to be as efficient as possible with the resources available to maintain our rail system and to move forward with the upgrades necessary for the implementation of the positive train control safety system," said Metra Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jim Derwinski.

On the UP North Line, Metra will continue a multiyear project to replace 11 bridges for inbound tracks. The railroad also will resume a project to replace a 130-year-old single-track bridge with a double-track bridge over the Fox River in Elgin, Illinois.

Meanwhile, on the UP West Line, work will continue on two multiyear projects to add 8 miles of third track to remove traffic bottlenecks. The first project involves construction of 1.8 miles of new track from the Vale interlocking in River Forest, Illinois, to 25th Avenue in Melrose Park, Illinois. The second project calls for building 6.1 miles of new track from West Chicago to Geneva, Illinois.

Construction on those two UP West Line projects began in 2017 and will continue through 2019. Funding is being provided by Union Pacific Railroad and Metra. Combined, the two projects cost more than $100 million.

Metra's 2017 construction program included $216 million worth of infrastructure improvements.