METRA EQUIPMENT CYCLES

Information on how Chicago's commuter rail equipment is scheduled, including which trains turn around to become which trains, enabling efficient equipment utilization.


Union Pacific

Schedules (weekdays)
Equipment Cycles (weekdays)
Schedules (weekends)
Equipment Cycles (weekends)

Milwaukee District (includes North Central Service)

Schedules (weekdays)
Equipment Cycles (weekdays)
Schedules (weekends)
Equipment Cycles (weekends)

Rock Island District

Schedules (weekdays)
Equipment Cycles (weekdays)
Schedules (weekends)
Equipment Cycles (weekends)

Burlington Northern Santa Fe

Schedules (weekdays)
Equipment Cycles (weekdays)
Schedules (weekends)
Equipment Cycles (weekends)

Southwest Service/Heritage Corridor

Schedules (weekdays)
Equipment Cycles (weekdays)


These Web pages are based on Metra equipment cycle information dating from January 2006, when service on three Metra lines was expanded and extended. In addition, some 1999 information on Metra equipment cycles is used, where data is missing or inconsistent in the 2006 information. Some of this information might be speculative, but this information at least gives a general idea on how equipment cycles work. Information is subject to change.

The Metra Electric and the South Shore Line are not included. Electric multiple unit cars offer greater flexibility than diesel locomotive hauled push pull trains, in the ability to to readily combine and split trains. And the result is equipment assignments and cycles, which are way too complex to include here.

Listed with each train is cycle information. This includes the previous train ("OFF") whose equipment turns into that train, and the subsequent train ("NEXT") using that same equipment.

For most Metra lines, the equipment cycles begin and end with the day, as trains are stored overnight at outlying coach yards. Most cycles repeat themselves the next day. Although on a few lines, some cycles are "paired" with other cycles, with the trains trading places the following day, and reverting to the original cycles the next day. Trains are generally serviced at the Chicago coach yards between rush hours, with cars switched in and out as needed. The Metra Union Pacific operation is quite complex at times. With cycles generally beginning during the mid day at the Chicago coach yard, and some cycles lasting two or three days, operating on various schedules over the three Union Pacific lines.

For each line, and for each type of schedule (Weekday, Saturday, Sunday), schedules are listed on two Web pages. The "Schedules" pages list the trains sequentially like a normal timetable, but only the end point times. Complete schedules are at the official Metra Web site. The schedules here include which trains turn into which trains, and information on empty equipment movements. Stations with empty equipment movements are capitalized. Trains with both end points capitalized carry no passengers at all, and are not listed in the public timetables. These trains usually operate away from Chicago in the morning rush hour, and to Chicago in the afternoon rush hour, mainly to allow the equipment to make an additional rush hour trip. Trains with one end point station capitalized generally operate empty between a designated station and an outlying coach yard.

The "Equipment Cycles" pages show the same end point to end point train schedules, but sorted by equipment cycle. Shown is how each set of equipment is scheduled, over a day or two.

SCHEDULE CHANGES SINCE 2006

Dates of new timetables issued by Metra, since this January 2006 equipment cycle information was made available.