The new train tracking equipment is currently being installed on Union Pacific, SWS, and BNSF trains.  -  Photo: Metra

The new train tracking equipment is currently being installed on Union Pacific, SWS, and BNSF trains.

Photo: Metra

Metra started the rollout of metratracker.com, a new real-time train-tracking website that lets customers see precisely where their trains are and when they will reach their stations.

The new site, made possible by a wholesale replacement of Metra’s current train tracking system, also makes it easier to view schedules and plan a trip on Metra, according to the agency's news release.

“This new train tracking system is a major upgrade and will be a dramatic improvement in our communications to My Metra customers,” said Jim Derwinski, Metra CEO/executive director. “It enables us to do a better job of tracking trains and conveying timely, accurate information, and also includes a variety of interactive new features.”

The website features three gray bars on the menu that provide the site’s main functions:

  • Station Times – This option allows customers to check for train departure times from their selected station. When they pick this option, they will be asked to select the line they use and their origination and destination stations. Once they’ve made their selections and click “Continue,” the next page will show all trains scheduled to make that trip in the next two hours, with the train numbers and predicted or scheduled departure times.
  • Real-Time Map – This interactive map allows customers to see the location of trains along the line or lines that they select, so they can see exactly where their train is and how soon it will reach their station. Customers can click on stations or trains on the map to see real-time information about trains and schedules.
  • Trip Planner – This option allows customers to plan a trip using Metra and other modes of travel between addresses or locations that they select. They can request the “Best Route,” “Fewer Transfers,” or “Less Walking” and choose “Leave Now” or enter their preferred departure or arrival time.

The new $26.7 million train tracking system from Clever Devices of Woodbury, N.Y., required the installation of new GPS tracking devices and other network equipment on more than 1,000 railcars and in 238 stations.

The new train tracking equipment is currently being installed on Union Pacific, SWS, and BNSF trains, and tracking on those lines will increase as the rollout is completed this year.

More from Metra

This news follows the annoncemend that Metra approved a $33.9 million contract to completely rebuild and make accessible three stations on the Metra Electric Line on the South Side of Chicago — the 79th, 87th, and 103rd Street stations.

The work is part of the Metra Electric Community Initiative, a multiyear, multimillion-dollar plan to transform 13 stations on the line, according to Metra's news release.

In October 2022, Metra also debuted the latest addition to its locomotive fleet, a like-new, remanufactured locomotive that promises to increase reliability and efficiency and decrease emissions and operating costs.

The new locomotive, an EMD SD70MAC locomotive that was improved and reconfigured for passenger use with refurbished, upgraded, or new components, was painted in heritage Regional Transportation Authority colors to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the formation of the RTA.

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