Metra trains delayed, skipping stops due to rally crowds

Metra trains delayed, skipping stops because of crowds heading to rally

Posted: Updated:
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The throngs of people heading downtown for Friday's Blackhawks Stanley Cup parade and rally have stressed Metra's system, resulting in delays and some trains skipping stops into the city because they are unable to get any more passengers onboard.

"All our trains have been extremely crowded all morning," Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

Metra issued a "Blackhawks Parade Alert" that states, "Due to extraordinary ridership resulting from those attending the Blackhawks Parade and Rally, passengers will likely experience delays."

"There have been stations skipped because trains were full and delays due to overcrowding," Gillis said, but those trains that have skipped stations have been followed by additional trains picking up any commuters left behind.

"We are using all the equipment we can use," he said.

Gillis said this situation was not unexpected, and Metra did warn commuters of the affect that the influx of Stanley Cup revelers would have on the system Friday.

Metra said trains on the Milwaukee District/North Line and Milwaukee District/West Line were experiencing delays in order to accommodate passengers.

Union Pacific/Northwest Line Train No. 636, expected to arrive in Chicago at 9:23 a.m., ran express from Barrington to Chicago because of heavy passenger loading, according to Metra. There was an extra train to accommodate passengers making stops between Barrington and Chicago on this line immediately behind Train No. 636.

Rock Island District Train No. 302, which was scheduled to depart Blue Island-Vermont Street at 8:10 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 8:41 a.m., will not operate today because of "ridership capacity," according to Metra.

On the CTA, "the trains have definitely been crowded" heading into downtown, but there have been no major service disruptions because of larger than normal crowds, spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. She reported that "several bus routes [heading downtown] have been more crowded than normal, as well," but otherwise the CTA was experiencing normal operations Friday morning.

Looking to the afternoon rush period, Metra could not say as of Friday morning what that might look like, but "we're monitoring things very closely," Gillis said, and there will be additional trains available as needed. He noted that Friday morning saw large numbers of Blackhawks fans mixed with the regular morning commuters, so it's possible that if the rally ends before the afternoon rush begins and if the crowds headed back home from Grant Park are more spread out, those trains heading out of the city may not be as packed as they were this morning.

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