Chicago Transit Adventures

Pace Bus 802 to a Snowy ride on the UP West Line back to Chicago

This is final section (part 3 or 3) of February 17th, 2018’s adventures on the the BNSF Railway and UP West Line.

After getting on Pace Bus 802 at the Aurora Transportation Center, we leave on time but it’s a slow ride. It’s snowing fairly hard at this point and the driver is definitely focused on getting us safely to our destinations, but not keeping her schedule. The driver also talks about how in this snowy weather she’s not going to keep her schedule. The driver discusses how she’s just started her shift so that’s why I get on, on time at the Transportation Center. We’re also delayed by one person (who’s possibly homeless) requiring at least 3 trips to get all of his stuff on and off the bus.

I finally get off the bus at 3:47, 11 minutes late across from the Geneva Train Station, when the Outbound train to Elburn is scheduled to arrive.


I cross the street to the Geneva Train Station(22 Photos), luckily – like most Metra trains today at intermediate stops – I hear the 5 to 10 minutes late annoucements so I’m going to be able to ride the full UP West Line from end to end! I quickly cross to the inbound platform for some depot photos.

I cross back to the From Chicago platform as I can see a light in the distance through the snow flakes as my outbound train is arriving.

This train arrives and I take it out, primarily through rural fields on the 2006 8.5 mile extension, we make an intermediate stop at La Fox, followed by a stop just short of the passenger platform in Elburn Yard for a crew change, since the same train will be my train on the trip back to Chicago. We arrive in Elburn(28 Photos) just a few minutes late (this route only has 6 minutes recovery time) for my 20 minute layover. I get my photo essay of the snowy station and parking lot as a snow-shoveler/plowman arrives.


I reboard about 5 minutes early, the now front galley car so I can take some pictures out the front window. I really like the perspective these photos give to my station pages (and something I can’t do when I have my bicycle). I get a few of the Geneva Yard and employee platform as we leave the terminus on time at 4:25pm


Approaching and Stopping at La Fox(6 Photos), I do a mini-photo essay out the front window.


We continue to back a snowy Geneva(6 Photos)


I then enter new trackage for me as we pass freight trains between Geneva and East Chicago. I assume these yards were also used by Metra until 2006. Before the extension, a lot of trains terminated at East Chicago instead of Geneva.

Next stop is West Chicago(5 Photos).


Then Winfield(7 Photos), which has some modern covered benches on each side of the simple station house.


By Wheaton(2 Photos) I’m surprised how crowded the train is getting and give up my group of 4 seats by the front window (I’ve been sitting down on and off), and sit down a row behind.

We stop at College Avenue–(first stop with no front window photos). Then another freight before Glen Ellyn, and then the Glen Ellyn(2 Photos) station. At this point I decide no more sitting (the trains gotten more crowded) and to stay at the Railfan window for the entire ride.


Next stops are Lombard and Villa Park, as I can’t decide if its too dark for photos, at Elmhurst(3 Photos), I find the neat effect of snow and the mid-station grade-crossing.

Next is Berkeley, then Bellwood(2 Photos) where the snow covered island platform looks un-connected from the rest of the world, since a freight train blocks our view of the station entrance

We switch to the outbound track just before Melrose Park(1 Photo) to pass a different, inbound freight.

We bypass Maywood, the first stop we skip (trains on weekends alternate stopping here and Melrose Park), and then stop at River Forest(3 Photos) with a historic station house.

Next it’s Oak Park(2 Photos), where I started today’s adventures with a PACE bus ride, we stop on the island platform.

As we follow the Green Line through Oak Park, I get some photos at Oak Park, Green Line(2 Photos), and Ridgeland(1 Photo) of the unique perspective of these trains out the front window of a passing Metra train.


It’s a much faster ride than the Green Line downtown. We curve away from the ‘L’ Line at Chicago city limits, bypass the last intermediate stop, Kenzie (the only stop on the UP West Line without weekend service).

We pass over the tracks at a grade shared by the Milwaukee West, North, and North Central Service Lines just before their Western Avenue station. We’re then joined from the north by the other 2 UP Northwest, and North Lines, We rise onto the embankment that leads into Ogilvie, crossing above the same Union Station bound Metra lines again, as we enter our terminus.

There is one final memorable moment, before coming to a stop at the Ogilvie Transportation Center(6 Photos), the conductor is trying to get up the crowded staircase of the galley car to get into the cab. He yells at me “Don’t take any pictures of me” before climbing up to the upper level via the luggage rack to get into the cab and talk to the engineer (probably a Union Pacific/Metra safety violation). We then come to a stop.


I leave the station via the lower concourse and look at my phone. I get a $15 Uber credit every month and we don’t have many other travel plans this month (plus Louise’s car is at the Amtrak South Bend station for our return tomorrow night so no need to take Uber in South Bend).

I start looking at Uber Pool rides, and the price falls to less than $5.00 once I walk across the Chicago River so I call one. It’s a very circuitous ride back to the Fairfield Inn Magnificent Mile with one set of passenger already on board, and then taking another person just a few blocks on the snowy evening.