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Metra in Chicago last week deployed a new rail-car with additional bicycle storage on the Milwaukee District North Line as part of a pilot program that will last until spring 2021.
The bike car will have room to store 16 bicycles instead of the usual five allowed on Metra rail cars. The car will operate on four inbound and four outbound trains during the week and two inbound and two outbound trains on Saturdays.
Metra is prepared to expand the pilot to Sundays once a second car is retrofitted later this year.
The railroad chose the Milwaukee District North Line for the pilot because of the number of cyclists and reverse commuters who use the line, which is close to forest preserves and trails, Metra officials said in a press release.
To accommodate more bicycles, Metra crews removed 24 two-passenger seats on one half of the lower level of a Pullman car from the late 1960s. Seats remain on the upper level of that side of the car for riders who want to sit within view of their bike.
The bike car can be identified by its blue and grey paint scheme, as well as a large white bicycle decal adjacent to the exterior doors.