Metro is modifying evening MetroLink operations this week to accommodate maintenance work. The maintenance will focus on rail grinding in Illinois tonight through Thursday night and then again on Saturday and Sunday nights. No rail grinding work is scheduled for Friday night so crews can work on the overhead MetroLink wires near Union Station. The evening work this week will create minor delays for some MetroLink customers and no delays for others.
What is rail grinding? Well, you know when you go ice skating and the rink becomes slushy and worn down from a hard hour of skating? Rail grinding is like a Zamboni; it grinds down uneven places on the track to make for a smoother ride and prevents maintenance issues down the road. But unlike an ice skating rink, a light rail track requires a bit more to even the surface, so the special equipment used for the rail grinding produces sparks. On occasion, these sparks might touch off a small fire along the tracks. A fire suppression crew follows directly behind the rail grinder so area residents should not be concerned if they see sparks or possibly tiny fires. Metro has alerted emergency responders in advance, just in case they receive calls from the public.
Below is the schedule for Tuesday, February 21 through Sunday, February 26:
Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 21-22
Beginning at 8 p.m. through the end of service each night, rail grinding crews will work on the tracks between the Memorial and Belleville MetroLink Stations. MetroLink will operate on a single track at the Swansea MetroLink Station and the Belleville MetroLink Station. Red Line customers may experience delays of between 5 to 10 minutes. Blue Line service will not be affected by the work.
Thursday, Feb. 23, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25-26
Beginning at 8 p.m., MetroLink will implement single track operations between the Belleville and College MetroLink Stations until the end of service each night so rail grinding crews can work on the tracks through that area. Red Line customers may experience delays of between 5 to 10 minutes. Blue Line service will not be affected by the work.
Friday, Feb. 24
Beginning at 8:30 p.m., MetroLink will switch to a single track operation at the Union Station MetroLink Station and the Civic Center MetroLink Station until the end of service so crews will replace the overhead wires in the Union Station tunnel. Blue Line service will only operate between the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station and the Forest Park-DeBaliviere MetroLink Station. Red Line customers should allow an extra 5 to 10 minutes for their commutes Friday evening.