Following is a press release from Metra released Friday May 11 that outlines restrictions related to the NATO Summit.
Most Metra riders will not see service changes as a result of the NATO Summit on May 19-21, even most riders of the Metra Electric Line, which passes under the summit facility at McCormick Place.
Metra plans to operate regular service on 10 of its 11 lines. For the Metra Electric Line, most trains will operate, although some stations and the Blue Island branch line will be closed for all or part of the summit. Those closings are detailed below.
Riders of all lines may be subject to screening and baggage checks, with more extensive screening on the Metra Electric Line. Passengers on all lines will be prohibited from carrying many items onboard trains and will face other security restrictions outlined below.
Metra’s NATO plans could change, and riders are urged to go to Metra’s website for the latest information as the summit date approaches. Metra also will send emailed alerts to all riders who have signed up to receive them. We encourage riders to request alerts by creating a “My Metra” account on the website.
Metra is also providing several passenger tools, available on the Metra website, to assist passengers in planning transportation throughout the NATO Summit.
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.
The Metra Electric main line serves about 14,000 riders on weekdays, 2,500 riders on Saturdays and about 1,800 riders on Sundays. The South Chicago branch carries about 2,800 riders on weekdays, 1,100 riders on Saturdays and 450 riders on Sundays. The Blue Island branch carries about 1,300 riders on weekdays, 325 riders on Saturdays and is closed on Sundays.
Metra has compiled a list of alternate transportation for riders of each closed station. That list accompanies this press release.
Safety measures affecting passengers during the summit
Metra has implemented a wide range of safety measures during the NATO Summit. Passengers may see an increased law enforcement presence and K-9 units.
In addition, the following safety measures apply to riders of all Metra lines during the three days (May 19, 20 and 21) of the summit:
1. Riders may be subject to search and/or screening before boarding or while en route.
2. Riders may carry only one bag not exceeding 15 inches square and 4 inches deep. Boxes, parcels, luggage, backpacks and bicycles will not be allowed on trains. Banned items cannot be stored at Metra stations. They must be removed or they will be disposed of.
3. Riders may not carry any food or liquids on the trains. This includes coffee and other beverages.
4. Riders may not carry any type of tools, pipes, stakes, wood or weapons, including pocket knives and pepper spray, on the trains.
5. Law enforcement personnel must identify themselves and present their credentials and any weapons. Security guards will not be allowed to carry any weapons onboard.
Failure to comply with these safety measures or instructions from law enforcement personnel, or attempted avoidance of screening, will result in ejection from the station or further police action.
Communicating with passengers
Metra has developed a comprehensive communications strategy to ensure passengers have the most complete and up-to-date information on Metra service prior to and during the NATO Summit.
Metra passengers are encouraged to sign-up for a “My Metra” account through the Metra website at www.metrarail.com to receive the most current information from Metra via email.
Other media and passenger communication includes:
1. This press release and associated press conference to inform the media about Metra’s plans during the NATO Summit.
2. An updated homepage on our website with one-click access from the main screen to all of the information and passenger tools developed by Metra for this event.
3. A link in the “Good to Know” sidebar on the Metra homepage also providing one-click access to information and passenger tools developed by Metra.
4.Two versions of maps showing stops along the Metra Electric Line that will be affected during the NATO Summit. These maps are available in the PDF format for easy viewing and printing.
5. A passenger checklist that can be printed and used as a take-along reminder of safety measures and restrictions during the NATO Summit. The checklist is available online in PDF format and will be posted at affected stations starting next week and throughout the NATO Summit.
6. A revised schedule for the Metra Electric Line for each day of the NATO Summit. These schedules are available online in PDF format and will be posted at affected stations starting next week and throughout the NATO Summit.
7. A list of transportation alternatives or transportation resources for affected passengers. This list is available online in PDF format and will be posted at affected stations starting next week and throughout the NATO Summit.
8. An article in the upcoming issue of our On the Bi-Level newsletter outlining Metra plans and reminding passengers to visit our website for additional information.
9. Metra will be sending email communications to “My Metra” accounts and our email marketing list.
10. Metra will utilize our Twitter accounts to advise passengers about NATO Summit Travel information on our website.
11. Passengers will also see and hear onboard messaging directing passengers to NATO Summit information available via “My Metra” and online at Metra’s website prior to and throughout the NATO Summit.
12. Metra is also alerting its passengers with station signage, station announcements and visual information displays.
Metra understands that these changes are inconvenient for many and we apologize. We have made our best efforts to minimize service disruptions and ensure the safety of our passengers. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this unprecedented event.