Metra announces station closures for NATO

May 12, 2012 5:27:16 AM PDT
Some Metra Electric stations will close the Saturday and Sunday of the NATO conference weekend, and riders will be limited as to what they can carry on trains.

That's the news from a Metra Board press conference held Friday. The 18th Street, McCormick, 27th Street, Museum campus and Kenwood stations will be among 26 along Metra' Electric Line that will close on May 19 and 20. Inbound riders can go to Van Buren or Millenium downtown.

On Monday May 21 those stations in addition to several South Side stations and the entire Blue Island branch stations will be closed.

Metra executives say the Monday closures were based on higher ridership on that day.

"We've taken an extensive amount of time to make sure that we try and get this right and be really sensitive to avoid disruptions to our commuters schedules," said Alex Clifford with Metra.

The Electric Line runs underneath McCormick Place, which is where the NATO summit is being held. Metra had previously said that the Electric Line will run during the summit, but that delays and even station closures may happen depending on circumstances.

Throughout the Metra system there will be restrictions on all riders from May 19-21:

Only one bag per passenger that is fewer than 15 inches

  • No packpacks
  • no liquids
  • No food

Metra officials say these restrictions came from discussion with the U.S. Secret Service and local law enforcement.

"We've asked our law enforcement partners to help us on these days and to have a presence on our platforms," said Sharon Austin with Metra.

Amtrak and the South Shore train line also run under McCormick Place, and the Secret Service has also given them the green light to operate during NATO. Amtrak passengers may notice bomb-sniffing dogs; a spokesperson says the train service always has them and will continue to use them in the leadup to NATO.

A flier was also mailed to people who live in the Loop and South Loop from the United States Postal Service warning people that protests and rallies could delay downtown mail delivery starting as early as Monday and will last through the day after the NATO summit May 22.

The flier says there could be changes to delivery routes because of road closures and protests surrounding NATO.

Metra information during NATO

Metra Service on the Electric Line

Because the Metra Electric Line passes under McCormick Place, passengers will be subject to more extensive screening and baggage checks. Riders are advised to arrive at their departing station about 15 minutes prior to departure to allow sufficient time for the boarding process. Metra Electric passengers should also note that some station entrances may be closed.

Plans for service on the Metra Electric Line vary by the day as follows. On all three days, the South Water Street entrance to Millennium will be closed.

Saturday, May 19: Operate normal inbound and outbound service on main line and both branches and make all station stops with the exception of 47th Street (Kenwood), 27th Street, McCormick Place, 18th Street and 11th Street/Museum Campus.

Sunday, May 20: Operate normal inbound and outbound service on main line and South Chicago branch and make all station stops with the exception of 47th Street (Kenwood), 27th Street, McCormick Place, 18th Street and 11th Street/Museum Campus. (The Blue Island branch does not operate on Sundays)

Monday, May 21:

Inbound trains: Operate all trains (except Blue Island trains) scheduled to arrive downtown until noon, with the following stations closed:

  • On the main line, trains will not stop at 111th Street (Pullman), 107th Street, 103rd Street (Rosemoor), 95th Street (Chicago State University), 91st Street (Chesterfield), 87th Street (Woodruff), 83rd Street (Avalon Park), 79th Street (Chatham), 75th Street (Grand Crossing), 63rd Street, 47th Street (Kenwood), 27th Street, McCormick Place, 18th Street and Museum Campus/11th Street.
  • On the South Chicago branch, trains will not stop at 87th Street, Cheltenham (79th Street), Windsor Park and Bryn Mawr.
  • Trains will not operate on the Blue Island branch.

Inbound main line trains scheduled to arrive at Millennium between 12:57 p.m. and 6:46 p.m. will not operate.

Outbound trains: Operate normal service all day, except at closed stations and on Blue Island branch.