Congressman Dan Lipinski today led 22 local elected officials in sending a letter to Metra urging it to add two rush hour trains to the Heritage Corridor line -- one morning inbound train and one evening outbound train. Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves and Romeoville Mayor John Noak delivered the letter to Metra's Board of Directors at its meeting in Chicago this morning.
"The bottom line is that the current level of service of just three round trip trains per day on the Heritage Corridor isn't nearly enough," Rep. Lipinski said. "Will County's population has surged by 175,000 in the last decade, and Cook County communities along the line have also grown. But Heritage Corridor service has not kept pace. That's why today we are all speaking with one voice to urge Metra to add one inbound and one outbound rush hour train as a first step toward expanding service."
"I believe we can add one inbound morning rush hour train and one outbound evening rush hour train without needing to make costly infrastructure upgrades," Rep. Lipinski added. "While a study was recently done that looks at the possibility of adding trains to the Heritage Corridor, it only considered what would be needed to add six new Metra trains. Moreover, it focused on adding trains during midday, which is not what we are seeking. Adding the two trains we are talking about is something that we should be able to do in the near future at modest cost."
The Heritage Corridor line runs between Joliet and Chicago's Union Station, with stops in Summit, Willow Springs, Lemont, and Lockport. With just three round trip trains per day it offers less service than any other Metra line, leaving a major mass transit gap in the southwest suburbs between Metra's Southwest Service and BNSF lines.
"With the addition of a new Romeoville station next year, adding more trains to the Heritage Corridor is a top priority for the village," Romeoville Mayor John Noak said. "Our population has almost doubled in the last decade, and with growth continuing in the area, we need to give residents more options for getting to work."
"Lemont residents have been clamoring for more service on the Heritage Corridor," Lemont Mayor Brian Reaves said. "This is something that is truly needed and I strongly encourage Metra to give full attention and consideration to this request."
In addition to pushing for more trains on the Heritage Corridor, Congressman Lipinski has been working to improve on-time performance. Following a meeting he arranged between Metra and CN in January, the line went from Metra's worst on-time performer in December to its best in February. For the first four months of this year, on-time performance has ranged between 95 percent and 99 percent.
"We commend Metra for making improvements that led to better on-time performance on the Heritage line," Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) said. "Now we believe they can and should take the next step to ensure residents of our region get access to the service options they deserve as well."
"I look forward to continuing to work productively with Metra and with local elected officials to expand and improve service on the Heritage Corridor," Rep. Lipinski said. "Adding one train each way is the first step toward providing the level of service that the communities along the Heritage Corridor deserve."
The letter to Metra was signed by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno; State Sen. Steven Landek; State Sen. Pat McGuire; Cook County Commissioner Jeffery R. Tobolski; Bedford Park Village President David R. Brady; Assistant House Minority Leader Jim Durkin; Will County Executive Lawrence M. Walsh; 23rd Ward Ald. Michael Zalewski; Crest Hill Mayor Raymond R. Soliman; Homer Glen Mayor James P. Daley; Justice Village President KrzysztofWasowicz; Lemont Mayor Brian K. Reaves; Lockport Mayor Dev Trivedi; Romeoville Mayor John D. Noak; Summit Mayor Joseph W. Strzelczyk; Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante; State Rep. Michael Zalewski; Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy; State Rep. Emily McAsey; State Rep. Lawrence Walsh Jr; and Willow Springs Mayor Alan Nowaczyk.