A freight-train work stoppage that was about to wreak havoc on local commuters has been put aside for now.
According to Metra, freight railroads and two unions reached a tentative agreement overnight Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 14-15, to avoid a worker strike set to begin Friday.
A number of Metra’s service lines are owned or operated by freight railroads. On Thursday, Metra announced potential interruptions to a number of its service lines — including the Union Pacific North, which makes stops that include Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Glencoe and Highland Park.
“We are greatly relieved that we will be able to continue to provide the safe and reliable service that you deserve and that you rely upon,” Metra said in a statement posted to social media. “Please accept our apologies for this week of uncertainty and anxiety, and our thanks for your patience and understanding.”
UP North line trains in operation after 9:30 p.m.that we were set for cancellation will run as scheduled, according to Metra.
The strike was also set to disrupt the UP West, UP Northwest and BNSF lines.
Metra’s commuter lines “either use tracks owned by freight railroads, intersect with tracks operated by our freight partners, or are dispatched by freight railroads,” Metra says. UP North is owned and operated by freight railroads.
Two unions representing more than 50,000 freight-rail workers were threatening to strike and set a negotiations deadline of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 16.
The UP North line is traditionally the third most busiest (BNSF, UP Northwest) of Metra’s 12 commuter lines — with more than 750,000 users in 2019 and 230,000 so far in 2022.
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