Forum on BNSF Delays: Rep. Lipinski, Metra CEO to Hear from Riders at Monday Night Meeting

Chicago Tribune

Rep. Dan Lipinski is hosting a public forum Monday night so riders can ask Metra officials about delays on the BNSF line to Aurora.

Metra CEO Jim Derwinski and BNSF Railway Vice President of Passenger Operations DJ Mitchell will attend the meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at McClure Junior High in Western Springs, according to Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat.

Riders at the meeting can ask about their experience with delays, cancellations, schedule changes and other problems on the BNSF line. The line had 16.2 million passenger trips in 2017, which equates to 21 percent of Metra’s total ridership, said Lipinski’s office. The line includes stops in Naperville, Downers Grove and Hinsdale.

BNSF suffered from air conditioning breakdowns, overcrowding and delay issues during the summer. Metra and BNSF officials blamed several factors, including the age of the cars, which average more than 30 years old, the amount of traffic on the line, and freight interference problems. Implementation of new train safety technology, which required a major schedule change, also contributed to some delays.

On-time performance for BNSF, defined by whether a train arrives within six minutes of when it is scheduled, was 91.9 percent through September of this year, down from 95.2 percent in 2017, according to Metra.