Metra Train

(File photo; BNSF Metra photo)

Metra is the planning stages for a Metra extension through Kendall County.

Any possibility of a Metra commuter train to Plano or Sandwich may be late arriving.

A third track would have to be established from Aurora.

Through Plano, the large 100-year old arched bridge over Big Rock Creek and a bridge over Little Rock Creek may not have enough room for a third track. This is Metra Director of Engineering Andy Roth, who said six viaducts in downtown Aurora used to have three tracks.

Could Montgomery, Oswego or Yorkville have a station edge over Plano or Sandwich? While Metra officials did not identify any town’s advantage, this was the comment by Metra’s David Kralik.

In addition, a third rail from Aurora to Sugar Grove may be needed. Metra’s Michael Gillis told why.

From 2010-2019, Metra was projecting a $5 billion plus deficit, according to its website.  Preliminary costs for the Kendall County Extension are between $400-$500 million with $5 million in annual operating and maintenance costs. Only $100 million has been secured through last spring’s state capital bill program. That could mean local funding said Metra’s David Kralik.

There is the Regional Transit Authority or RTA involved as Kendall County is not an RTA county.

The preliminary report shows two to six daily round trips to Chicago on weekdays.

In placing a station at Plano, Sandwich, or Yorkville, a train storage yard would be required, according to METRA.  With the exception of Sandwich, the other four locations would need 500-800 parking spaces, expandable to 2,000.

Oswego and Montgomery would require a pedestrian tunnel under the tracks. Oswego already has 300 spaces at its Orchard-Mill Road site from a former park-n-ride, which is designated for a station. Montgomery’s location shows it at Main and Mill streets extending south of Webster Street near Route 31.

In Yorkville, four optional locations exist.  One is at Eldamain Road and Route 34 extending to Faxon and Beecher roads. Another is proposed for Route 47 on either the north or south side of a current underpass. A fourth site shows it near Cannonball Trail and Route 47.

In Plano, the station options are downtown near the Amtrak Station, but would require closing Center Street and adding parking and a new station. Another Plano option is the north side of Route 34 and west of Little Rock Road.

The Sandwich location shows it being north of Route 34 by Gletty and Fairwind Crossing roads. The report indicates Sandwich needs only 150-250 parking spaces with a future of 300.

Current Kendall County Metra riders use the Aurora, Elburn, Rt. 59 stations, Naperville, Geneva, LaFox, or Joliet stations. Amtrak services Plano with four stops daily on its Chicago route. Amtrak also has plans to increase the number of trains, expanding services from Rock Island to Chicago.

At the meeting, two Metra officials confirmed the proposed Starline Route, just east of Oswego, on parts of Canadian Pacific tracks from north of Plainfield to O-Hare, downtown Chicago, and Midway was placed on the shelf this past summer.

All possible sites show a warming house, parking facilities, pedestrian and vehicular access and public roads would have to be constructed or improved. Inbound and outbound platforms would be built.  Environmental impact research on air and water quality, noise, and vibration is a part.

In its report, Metra said adjoining properties show potential impact with tracks flipping between north and south of existing tracks. In addition, the 14th Street yard in Chicago would have to be improved.

Residents in Kendall County and the possible station stops are encouraged to complete Metra’s online survey at metrarail.com/Kendallextension by January 6th.

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