BNSF Railway Line
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BNSF Railway Line

BNSF Railway Line
Metra Train at Naperville.jpg
An inbound Metra train arrives in Naperville.
OwnerBNSF Railway (Leased to Metra)
TerminiUnion Station
TypeCommuter Rail
Operator(s)BNSF Railway
Daily ridership63,000 (average weekday 2018)[1]
Line length37.5 miles (60.4 km)
Track gauge
Route map

The BNSF Railway Line is a Metra commuter rail line operated by the eponymous freight railroad in Chicago and its western suburbs. In 2010, the BNSF Railway Line continued to have the highest weekday ridership (average 64,600) of the 11 Metra lines.[2] While Metra does not refer to its lines by particular colors, the BNSF line's color on Metra timetables is "Cascade Green," a nod to the paint of the Burlington Northern Railroad.[3] In July 2017, the public timetable (published October 9, 2016)[4] showed 47 trains leaving Chicago each weekday, of which 31 run to Aurora. Of the 16 trains that do not reach Aurora, 5 terminate at Route 59, 1 at Naperville, 1 at Downers Grove-Main Street, 5 at Downers Grove-Fairview Avenue, 3 at Westmont, and 1 at Brookfield. The public timetable (published October 9, 2016)[4] also showed 47 trains arriving in Chicago each weekday, of which 29 start in Aurora. Of the 18 trains that do not start in Aurora, 6 start at Lisle, 1 at Downers Grove-Main Street, 7 at Downers Grove-Fairview Avenue, 1 at Highlands, and 3 at Brookfield.

The east end is Union Station in downtown Chicago. The line traverses Chicago and its western and far western suburbs to Aurora. BNSF Railway operates it under a "purchase of service agreement" with Metra, inherited from Burlington Northern. While Metra owns all rolling stock, the management and crews are BNSF employees. BNSF controls the right-of-way on the line and handles dispatching from corporate headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The June 2007 timetable shows a 70 mph maximum allowed speed for passenger trains.

Metra has studied the feasibility of extending the line beyond Aurora, possibly as far as Sandwich, Illinois.


BNSF Railway Line is in Cascade Green

The railroad between Chicago and Aurora was constructed in 1864 by the Chicago and Aurora Railroad, which evolved into the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The CB&Q operated the commuter service until the railroad merged into the Burlington Northern in 1970. Burlington Northern merged with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1995 to form the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. It later changed its name to the abbreviation, BNSF.

When the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) began subsidizing Chicago's commuter rail operations in 1974, Burlington Northern continued to operate its line under contract to the RTA. This arrangement continued when the RTA organized commuter rail under a service board that became Metra.

With fast and frequent Amtrak and Metra passenger trains, and BNSF freight trains, the three-track line is a favorite of rail fans, who sometimes call it the "race track."[5]

The Clyde station at South Austin Boulevard and West 29th Street in Cicero was closed on April 1, 2007 due to low ridership and its dilapidation. In the months before its closure, it was used by about 50 passengers a day.[6]

Kendall County extension

There have been proposals to extend service west into Kendall County, which as of 2020 is outside the RTA's service area. Potential new stations would be in Montgomery, Oswego, Yorkville, Plano and Sandwich.[7][8] The Plano station is currenty used by Amtrak's Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg trains.


Since 2014 annual ridership has declined from 16.6 million to 15.8 million, an overall decline of 5%.[9]


Rolling stock

The BNSF Railway's locomotive fleet consists mainly of the EMD F40PHM-2, with some EMD F40PH locomotives. Until 2012, MPI MP36PH-3S locomotives also operated on the line, however, they were all reassigned to the Milwaukee lines, the North Central Service and the Rock Island District due to operating difficulties. Rail cars include coaches from Budd, Morrison-Knudsen/Amerail, and Nippon Sharyo.


Zone Location Station Connections and notes
A Chicago Union Station Amtrak (long-distance): California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle
Amtrak (intercity): Blue Water, Hiawatha Service, Illini and Saluki, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, Lincoln Service, Pere Marquette, Wolverine
Metra: Milwaukee District / North Line, Milwaukee District / West Line, North Central Service, Heritage Corridor, SouthWest Service
Chicago "L": Blue Line (at Clinton), Brown, Orange, Pink, Purple lines (at Quincy)
CTA Bus: 1, 7, J14, 19, 28, 56, 60, 120, 121, 124, 125, 126, 128, 130, 151, 156, 157, 192
Pace: 755
Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach: Chicago-Madison and Chicago-Rockford (Van Galder), Chicago-Louisville (Greyhound)
Halsted Street
(rush hours only)
CTA Bus: 8, 18, N62
Western Avenue Chicago "L": Pink Line (at Western)
CTA Bus: 18, 49, X49
B Cicero Cicero CTA Bus: 35, 54, 54B, 60
Morton Park Closed between 1938 and 1957
Clyde Closed April 1, 2007
Berwyn La Vergne
(rush hours only)
Pace: 302, 314
Berwyn Pace: 302, 311
Harlem Avenue Pace: 302, 307
C Riverside Riverside
Brookfield Hollywood Pace: 304, 331
Brookfield Pace: 331
Congress Park
(rush hours only)
Pace: 302, 331
La Grange La Grange Road Amtrak: Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg
Pace: 302, 330, 331
Stone Avenue
D Western Springs Western Springs Pace: 669
Hinsdale Highlands
(rush hours only)
Hinsdale Pace: 668 Burr Ridge-Hinsdale
West Hinsdale
(rush hours only)
Clarendon Hills Clarendon Hills Pace: 663, 664
Westmont Westmont Pace: 662, 665, 715
E Downers Grove Fairview Avenue
Downers Grove Main Street Pace: 461, 462, 463, 834
Belmont Pace: 821
Grove Commuter Shuttle: West Route
Lisle Lisle Pace: 820, 825, 826, 827, 828, 829
F Naperville Naperville Amtrak: California Zephyr, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, Southwest Chief
Pace: 530, 676, 677, 678, 680, 681, 682, 683, 684, 685, 686, 687, 688, 689, 714, and 722
Burlington Trailways: Chicago-Davenport
G Aurora Route 59 Pace: 534, 559, 672, 673, 675
Greyhound Lines: Chicago-Davenport
  Eola Eola Closed to passengers prior to 1971, closed entirely later
H Aurora Aurora Transportation Center Pace: 524, 530, 533, 540, and 802


  1. ^ "Operations and Ridership Data". Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Ridership Reports -System Facts". Metra. Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ "Did you know?" (PDF). On the Bi-Level: 3. June 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "BNSF Railway Full Timetable" (PDF). Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Mann, Leslie (March 23, 2011). "When that lonesome whistle blows, rail fans know where to line up". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ Ruzich, Joseph (February 21, 2007). "Cicero's Metra stop to receive makeover". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "A step closer on local Metra station". Oswego Ledger-Sentinel. March 12, 2009. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  8. ^ Girardi, Linda (November 26, 2019). "Possible Metra extension into Kendall County focus of upcoming meetings". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ "RIDERSHIP TRENDS ANNUAL REPORT 2018" (PDF). Metra. p. 4. Retrieved 2019.

External links

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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