Since the introduction and success of the Sunrise Express reverse commuter train service on the Metra North Line at the East Train Station in 2004, the City has been exploring opportunities to improve commuter service on the Metra Milwaukee North Line at the Telegraph Road Train Station.
Currently, there is a gap in train service at this station. Morning outbound express trains and late afternoon/evening inbound trains are not conveniently scheduled for commuters, residents or families wishing to take this train line into Chicago.
At its October 1, 2018 meeting, the Lake Forest City Council approved a $100,000 total expenditure over the next two years to undertake Phase I of the Lake County Reverse Commute Initiative (a pilot program), to launch in January 2019. The entire project is designed to accommodate Lake Forest residents and businesses as well as Lake County residents and businesses. The proposed new schedule is pictured above.
Phase I: Enhanced Scheduling including a northbound Sunrise Express train and better southbound express service in the evening.
Phase II: Installing a universal crossover switch north of the Telegraph Road Train Station to provide fluidity and flexibility.
Phase III: Implementing the final schedule which will close some of the afternoon gaps in train service and optimize the existing express train service.
A private-public partnership has been created to undertake the Lake County Reverse Commute Initiative including Metra, IDOT, Canadian Pacific, Lake County, Lake County Partners, The City of Lake Forest, and multiple employers and neighboring communities within a five-mile radius of the Telegraph Road Train Station. If the pilot program is successful, the City would be asked to contribute up to $400,000 towards the installation of the universal crossover, which would represent approximately 10% of the total construction cost. Metra states that the partnership will work on an agreement to divide the $4.75 million cost of the crossover, with $2.7 million expected to come from private sector employers, $1 million from transit agencies and $1 million coming from local governments, including those in Lake County.
The City of Lake Forest is working with local corporations to help fund this exciting opportunity.