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Metra offers shuttle service to O’Hare Airport during the Democratic National Convention

Metra offers shuttle service to O’Hare Airport during the Democratic National Convention
Metra offers shuttle service to O’Hare Airport during the Democratic National Convention

The airport station, which normally receives 14 trains on weekdays, will receive 44 trains per weekday during political events.

A Metra North Central Service train stops at the O’Hare Transfer Station. In the background is O’Hare’s Multi-Modal Facility – the rental car center, parking garage and terminus of the airport’s people mover system. Metra will provide shuttle service between O’Hare and Chicago Union Station during the upcoming Democratic National Convention. David Lassen

CHICAGO — Metra has set a long-term goal of providing its own rail service between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago. During the upcoming Democratic National Convention, the company will offer a taste of what that service could look like.

The commuter rail operator will offer shuttle service between its O’Hare Transfer station and Chicago Union Station at least hourly on weekdays between August 12 and 30. This service will be in addition to regular daily North Central service, which also includes stops at the O’Hare Transfer station, the station adjacent to O’Hare’s rental car/long-distance parking garage that is connected to the airport terminals by a people mover system. During this time, the O’Hare station will offer 22 round-trip trips daily, up from the usual seven round-trip trips. Trips between O’Hare and Union Station are expected to take approximately 35 minutes. Schedules are available here.

“This service will be a much faster and far less stressful alternative to driving, taking taxis or rideshares on the Kennedy, which is even more congested than usual due to ongoing construction,” said Jim Derwinski, Metra Executive Director/CEO. “And with a one-way fare of $3.75, the trains will also be significantly less expensive.”

Tickets can be purchased using the Ventra smartphone app or from vending machines at Union Station. There are no vending machines at O’Hare Station, so passengers boarding there must use the app or pay for their tickets in cash on board.

Canadian National, the carrier railroad for part of the route, and CPKC, which handles the section on Metra’s Milwaukee West line, have worked with Metra to make the service possible, Metra said in its news release.

Metra has regularly engaged in pre-planning for O’Hare service, using special equipment to do so (see “On the radar: Metra service to O’Hare Airport,” Trains.com, Dec. 18, 2023). Last year, it ran a special train between the airport and Union Station as part of a congressional event that allowed the agency to discuss infrastructure needs with lawmakers (see “News photos: Metra operates special congressional train,” Trains News Wire, December 10, 2023).