North Central Service
North Central Service Overview Type Commuter Rail System Metra Termini Union Station
Stations 18 Daily ridership 5,600 (Avg. Weekday 2009) Operation Opened August 19, 1996 Owner Metra (Union Station to River Grove) CN beyond River Grove Operator(s) Metra Technical Line length 52.6 Track gauge 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) Route mapLegend 55.7 Antioch 50.7 Lake Villa 48.5 Round Lake Beach 46.5 Washington Street (Grayslake) 43.4 Prairie Crossing / Libertyville 39.6 Mundelein 35.7 Vernon Hills 34.4 Prairie View 32.0 Buffalo Grove 29.9 Wheeling 26.6 Prospect Heights 19.8 O'Hare Transfer 18.6 Rosemont 17.4 Schiller Park 15.8 Belmont Avenue (Franklin Park) Milwaukee District/West Line 11.4 River Grove Milwaukee District/North Line 2.9 Western Avenue 0.0 Union Station (Chicago)
The North Central Service (NCS) is a commuter rail line provided and operated by Metra in Chicago, Illinois, and its surrounding suburbs. While Metra does not specifically refer to any of its lines by a particular color, the timetable accents for the North Central Service line are printed in light "Soo Purple".
Its southern terminus is Union Station in downtown Chicago. The line traverses Chicago's western neighborhoods and its northwestern and far northern suburbs to Antioch, Illinois. Between Western Avenue and River Grove stations, the North Central Service shares the right of way with Metra's Milwaukee District/West Line, but does not stop at any of the other stations used by the MD-W. About a mile west of the River Grove station this route turns northward at a junction known as tower B-12. The remainder of the route operates on tracks owned and dispatched by the Canadian National Railway ("CN"). A single daily inbound train, #120, uses a combination of the North Central Service's trackage and the Milwaukee District North line's trackage by using a crossing with that line in Grayslake.
The CN assumed ownership of this route on September 7, 2001 when the CN absorbed the Wisconsin Central Railroad ("WC"). The WC operated this route after it was purchased from the Soo Line Railroad in April 1987. Metra provides its own crews for this service and operates under a trackage rights agreement with the CN.
Service began August 19, 1996. As of 2006[update], this is the only new line in the Metra system since its formation. Prior to the start of NCS, the last passenger service on this route ended in 1965 when the Soo Line discontinued the overnight Chicago-Duluth Laker.
On January 30, 2006, four new stations on the North Central Service opened: Franklin Park, Schiller Park, Rosemont, and Grayslake. Another station, at Grand and Cicero Avenues in Chicago (between the Western Avenue and River Grove stops), was scheduled to be completed by the end of as of 2006[update]. Service doubled from 10 to 20 trains per day with this change in the timetable.
On September 11, 2006, service expanded from 20 to 22 trains when Metra split one rush-hour local train in each direction into two express trains.
- J. David Ingles, Ready or not, here we come, Trains November 1996
- Metra North Central Service schedule
Metra LinesCurrentProposedNICTD Service Stations and Terminals Rolling stock Accidents and incidents1972 Chicago commuter rail crash · 1995 Fox River Grove bus–train collision
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