New Start Process STAR Line SouthEast Service UP-NorthWest UP-West MetraConnects en Español


To meet the population explosions within Northeast Illinois, Metra has begun planning to address transportation issues in four separate areas. Metra is currently seeking funding under the latest federal transportation bill, Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), to implement and launch the following proposed rail alternatives within four distinct corridors:

  • Suburban Transit Access Route, or STAR Line - a first-of-its-kind suburb-to-suburb commuter rail service between Joliet and O'Hare International Airport
  • SouthEast Service (SES) - pioneering service designed to bolster commuting opportunities in south Suburban Cook and Will counties
  • Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW) Line - expansion of service to eastern McHenry County and new express and reverse-commute service to northwest Cook County
  • Union Pacific West (UP-W) Line - a significant upgrade of the line's capacity, speed and reliability for the counties of Cook, DuPage and Kane


In November 2001, through the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) transportation bill, Congress awarded Metra three Full Funding Grant Agreements for major new service projects. That funding led to the improvements on the North Central Service, the UP-W Line and the SouthWest Service. New service began on these lines in January of 2006, on-time and $50 million under budget.

Our success under TEA-21 gives Metra confidence it will be successful in moving the SAFETEA-LU New Start projects forward through the federal process to further expand service in your community.

New Service Chart

Regional Benefits

As you can see, these New Start projects reflect Metra's regional approach to commuter transportation. Service in Suburban Cook and the collar counties has the potential to grow exponentially with the addition of 30 new stations in communities never before served directly by Metra. The city of Chicago would also receive continuing benefits as all four projects would facilitate access to the city.