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March 1, 2024

MetroLink Schedule Change Starting March 4 Westbound Platforms Reopen at Skinker and University City-Big Bend Stations

A new MetroLink schedule will be implemented on Monday, March 4, at the same time as two westbound Blue Line platforms reopen for the first time after being closed for more than a year and a half. Flash flooding in July 2022 caused millions of dollars in damage to rail signals, switches and MetroLink communications equipment on a two-mile stretch of MetroLink by the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station. Since that time, the MetroLink schedule has reflected time built in to accommodate delays for special operations to move trains through that station. Blue Line riders have only been able to board and exit trains from the eastbound platforms at the Skinker Station and the University City-Big Bend Station since then. Starting March 4, the westbound platforms at both stations will reopen and the MetroLink schedule will be adjusted to remove the extra time needed for the speed restrictions and switching issues at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station.

That is welcome news to Blue Line customers who patiently waited for a new signal house and its components to be replaced so normal operations could resume at that key junction on the MetroLink system.

MetroLink Operation Details | Monday, March 4

SCHEDULES

Blue Line and Red Line MetroLink service will continue to operate with eastbound and westbound trains running every 20 minutes. However, with the schedule being adjusted for train arrival times, MetroLink customers are encouraged to check the updated MetroLink schedule on MetroStLouis.org or the Transit app, or contact Metro Transit Information at 314.231.2345 (phone) or 314.207.9786 (text) for assistance.

CHANGES TO METROLINK TRAIN BOARDING

The westbound platforms at the University City-Big Bend and Skinker MetroLink Stations will reopen on Monday, March 4. It was necessary to close these platforms due to the flood damage, which required both westbound and eastbound MetroLink passengers to use the eastbound platform to board their trains. On Monday, westbound Blue Line passengers will need to use the westbound platforms at these stations to catch their trains and will no longer need to cross to the other platform.

Normal boarding will also resume at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station on Monday, March 4. MetroLink passengers at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station will resume boarding all westbound trains (Red and Blue Line) from the northside of the platform and all eastbound trains (Red and Blue Line) from the southside of the platform. After the flash flooding the boarding areas were changed to accommodate the special operations at the station.

BACKGROUND

 

On July 26, 2022, more than nine inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours, and the resulting flood damage severely one sections of the MetroLink system between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park-DeBaliviere Stations. In the hours and days following the flood, bus shuttles were serving many MetroLink stations due to severely limited train service. On July 30, Red Line MetroLink service was restored, and Blue Line was partially restored. Blue Line MetroLink service would not resume its full route to the Fairview Heights Station until November 2022.

The final damage assessment estimated more than $40 million in costs for flood mitigation and repairs to the light rail system, which included the loss of one MetroLink train, substantial damage to both elevators at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station, damage to five miles of track, and substantial damage to communications equipment and signal houses, which are important for managing track switches and train movement.

Metro Transit’s Rail Systems and Maintenance teams have been working non-stop to replace equipment and repair all of the flood damage. Track repairs were completed, with the majority of repairs finished in the three days following the flood. Both elevators at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station returned to service in 2023. Metro Transit teams have now completed the installation and testing of all the new signal and switching equipment components and the MetroLink communications system, allowing Blue Line MetroLink service to resume normal operations on Monday, March 6. A new signal house was manufactured and installed on higher ground at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere to help protect the system against damage in the event of flash flooding in the future.

Transit customers can view the new MetroLink schedules now at metrostlouis.org. It may be early next week before the new schedules appear on the Transit app. Riders who have questions or need assistance can contact Metro Transit Information at 314.231.2345 (phone) or 314.207.9786 (text), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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