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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Union Pacific begins shifting commuter-rail operations to Metra


Union Pacific Railroad announced yesterday it's working with Metra to "safely and seamlessly" transfer UP's Chicago commuter-rail operations to the passenger railroad.

UP officials anticipate completing the transfer by the end of first-quarter 2024. Metra will take over services that include train crew, mechanical, car cleaning, rolling stock maintenance, ticket sales and some engineering services, UP officials said in a press release.

Several management employees transitioned to Metra earlier this year, with plans to start transferring mechanical and transportation craft professionals in third-quarter 2023.

"We greatly appreciate Metra's collaboration in continuing to provide excellent and safe service to commuters during this transition," said Eric Gehringer, UP executive vice president of operations.

UP will continue to maintain the track and manage train movements on the three Metra lines: UP West, UP Northwest and UP North.

UP's interest in transferring its commuter-rail operations has been controversial for some time. The two railroads have been entangled in various legal matters over the proposal.

But in fall 2022, Metra officials agreed to approach the transition on two separate paths, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said in an email.

"Under one, we are addressing the complexities and logistics of the transfer of the relevant responsibilities for operating the service," Gillis said. "Under the second, financial negotiations are proceeding with legal and real estate teams. It is anticipated that those negotiations will be resolved after many of the logistical aspects of the transfer have been completed."