Metra to add service on three lines

News Wire Digest for June 23: Report blames operator error for 2019 DC Metro collision; MTA chief says agency could run out of money in August
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A Metra North Central Service train prepares to leave Antioch, Ill., on May 1, 2020, the last day before service on the line was cut to one round trip daily. Metra will add express trains on the North Central and SouthWest services as part of service increases on three lines beginning June 29.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Tuesday morning rail news in brief:

Metra to add service on three lines

Metra will offer express trains on the North Central Service and SouthWest Service lines — the first time express service has been offered on either route — as part of an increase in service on those two lines and the Heritage Corridor beginning Monday, June 29. “Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted service across the Metra system, we’ve used this time as an opportunity to reevaluate our service,” Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a release announcing the new schedules. “As the residents of the Chicago region return to their work commutes and Metra ramps up service, we’re examining where and when the demand is, and using this information to make changes that we believe will better serve our customers. That’s why we’re offering these new express trains, which our customers have long requested, as a pilot project.” Since a second round of COVID-19 related cutbacks on May 4, the North Central and Heritage have had one round trip on weekdays, while the SouthWest Service offers two round trips. The North Central’s express trains — a 6:38 a.m. inbound departure and a 5:01 p.m. outbound train will create a second round trip. Three round trips are being added to the SouthWest Service schedule, including a 7:45 a.m. inbound departure from the Orland Park/179th Street station and a 3:45 p.m. departure from Chicago Union Station. The Heritage Corridor line to Joliet will also receive a second daily round trip.

Report blames Metro collision on operator error
Operator error was the cause of an October 2019 collision between two DC Metro trains, a collision so severe that six of the railcars involved were scrapped rather than repaired, according to a report issued June 18 by the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission. The website Greater Greater Washingon reports the accident involving two unoccupied trains, which occurred Oct. 7, 2019, at 12:48 a.m. — just as the system was shutting down — came because of the unauthorized movement of one train without permission. After automatic train control stopped the train three times because it reached a speed of 15 mph when was not supposed to be moving, the operator accelerated again and hit the other train at a speed of 11 mph. The employee had been disqualified from operating trains in 2006, was reinstated in 2010, and was suspended three times for operating violations following reinstatement. Metro says the individual no loinger works for the agency.

MTA CEO says agency could run out of funds by August
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority could run out of funds by August if it does not receive economic aid from Congress, CEO Patrick J. Foye said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The agency is seeking $3.9 billion as part of a $1 trillion economic stimulus measure that has passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate. “We’re in a dire financial situation,” Foye said. “It is absolutely critical that the MTA receive that money.” The agency expects to use the remainder of the aid it received in an earlier coronavirus package to cover losses in July.

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