Possible freight railroad strike might shut down a number of Metra strains

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) — A doable railroad strike is looming – and it might have a serious impression in your journey plans and past.

The Biden administration has been working to avert the strike, which might start late this coming Friday and will price the U.S. economic system not less than $2 billion day by day in misplaced productiveness, doubtlessly sparking one more provide chain disaster.

As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Monday night time, service on 9 completely different Metra strains within the Chicago space might additionally come to a halt if the strike occurs. The tracks on the Metra strains are owned by freight railroad firms – and if the rail unions select to cease working the trains, nothing will transfer on the railroads. That goes for passenger and freight trains alike.

If that occurs, it’s going to impression extra than simply commuters.

As of Monday night time, Metra trains have been nonetheless transferring in Chicago and the suburbs. But passengers who depend on 9 of Metra’s 11 routes could have to search out new methods to get round if the railroad staff stroll off the job throughout the nation.

The NBSF, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest, and Union Pacific West Metra strains are on tracks owned and straight operated by refight rain firms. Five others intersect with tracks owned by freight companions are dispatched by freight railroads.

The solely strains Metra owns, operates, and controls – and that thus would make certain to maintain working – are the Metra Electric and Rock Island strains.

“I’ve been commuting from the suburbs to Chicago now for over 30 years,” mentioned Nigel Johnson. “I can never remember this happening.”

Johnson is aware of if the trains cease transferring, his commute from Naperville will drastically change.

“It could take two hours if I’m driving,” he mentioned. “On a train, it’s 40 minutes.”

Thousands who depend on Metra shall be in an identical bind to get downtown.

“I guess I couldn’t – yeah I wouldn’t drive, and I wouldn’t take the CTA because it’s too far,” one lady mentioned. “So I’d have to figure something out.”

At Union Station, Amtrak has already suspended three long-distance trains. The Southwest Chief to Los Angeles, the California Zephyr to the San Francisco Bay Area, and Empire Builder to Seattle is not going to depart Chicago – all due simply to the opportunity of the strike.

“Things are coming to a head,” mentioned transportation professor Joseph Schwieterman of DePaul University.

At difficulty is the truth that the 2 key unions representing conductors and engineers have but to succeed in a deal. They need higher pay, and a greater high quality of life.

Friday is the earliest staff might cease providers nationwide – when a 60-day cooling-off interval ends.

Schwieterman mentioned Chicago is particularly important in relation to the rail system.

“We’re affected here almost like no other region,” he mentioned.

Schwieterman identified a strike is way deeper than a commuter mess.

“It really is going to bottle up the freight system. We have supply chain problems already. The ports are clogged,” he mentioned. “You throw in a rail strike – and tens of thousands of containers can’t get to where they want to go – that affect stores and our everyday lives.”

For now, the locomotive unions have left everybody on lookout.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t’ come to that,” Johnson mentioned.

But if it does, Metra riders might be in search of new methods to get downtown.

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