Chicago Pacific Northwest

Getting 9 out of 21 Stations on the 5-10 Minutes late Metra BNSF Railway from Berwyn to Aurora

This is the part 2 (of 3) of February 17th, 2018’s adventures.

After getting off Pace Bus 307 I get my photo essay of Harlem Avenue(19 Photos). I then start walking briskly down Windsor Avenue to Berwyn(30 Photos). There I get my pictures and head to the shelter on the outbound platform. A man is sitting there waiting for the train who talks to me and says on weekends the train is late as he expects. The train finally arrives about 5 minutes late as we see it’s lights in the distance though the Cicero Yard. I start thinking I’m going to plan my trip around spending an hour and 10 minutes in Aurora instead of just ten minutes before my a PACE bus up to Geneva.


I board and hand the conductor one of my ATM fresh twenties, getting a ten back and my weekend ticket.

From here, I’ve identified a stretch of 7 stations I can photograph with doubling back and some walking (there a few weekday/rush hour only stations that are quite close to stations served by most non-express trains) under the Saturday morning schedule. This is due to the fact that Outbound trains run every 2 hours in the AM, while Inbound trains run hourly, before reversing the pattern for most of the PM.

I take this train to Westmont-(22 Photos)

Since my train has arrived late I quickly walk to Fairview Avenue(25 Photos), getting there just a few minutes before the scheduled 9:47am Inbound train, as I do my photo essay, the train is running 5-10 minutes, followed by 15-20 minutes late announcements begin. I debate walking to Main St./Downers Grove but don’t feel like getting stuck there (it’s a bit of a ways from there to the next stop). The Inbound train finally arrives 15 minutes late.


From there I take the Inbound train 2 stops (getting a special BNSF Railway property seat check) to Clarendon Hills(37 Photos)


From there it’s a short walk to West Hinsdale(29 Photos) since the station’s are almost connected by the commuter parking spaces on Burlington Avenue.

This station only receives weekday rush hour service (no inbound trains after 8:56am) so I keep walking to Hinsdale(26 Photos), the main station for this village, which is crowded with people waiting to go inbound.

There I have a decision to make, do I wait for the next (presumed late inbound train) and get Western Springs? or walk to and from the next rush hour only station, Highlands? and possibly miss Western Springs (since I know I’ll make it back in time for it). I decide to take my chances and walk to Highlands(23 Photos)

I get back to Hinsdale  to a crowd still waiting for the next (late) Inbound train. A gentleman sees my camera and says “Hello fellow train nerd” before saying something unintelligible about headphones. The 12:55 Inbound train arrives early enough (about 5 minutes late) that I’m not worried about doubling-back and missing my outbound train.

I take this one station stop (skipping Highlands) to Western Springs(31 Photos), there I realize I’m a few minutes before the scheduled arrival time of the next Outbound train but still start my photo essay with the train still in the station and cross to the outbound platform as soon as I can. The next scheduled 1:11 Outbound train comes in about 5 minutes late again.


At this point it’s 1:15, and the train I’m sitting on is scheduled to arrive in Aurora at 2:01, over an hour before my 3:10 bus up to Geneva. I’m planning to stay on this train and spend an hour eating lunch in Aurora, but a quick look at Google maps shows few lunch options near the station. I then look at the bottom of the schedule and notice that there’s about 10 minutes of padding (Outbound train’s have a 19 minute run time Route 59 to Aurora, but inbound train’s are scheduled for just 8 minutes from Aurora to Route 59). So I examine Google maps for a place for lunch and plan to get off early and get another station.

Lisle(66 Photos), provides the closest downtown on the outer BNSF Railway line stations that are further apart and where walking between stations is infeasible.

There I walk the couple-blocks to Main Street and find an odd mishmash crepe/pizza place where I have both a decent savory crepe and a slice of pizza.

I then head back to the ‘Lisle Commuter Center’ where it starts snowing. As I wait the Emeryville-bound California Zephyr #5, followed immediately by the Chicago-bound Southwest Chief #4, passes (I can see the trains pass each other off in the distance), both running basically on time. My Outbound Metra train arrives basically on time at 2:31, as I breath a sigh of relief that my bus adventure to Geneva (and Union Pacific West Line) will work!


This train arrives at the Aurora Transportation Center(23 Photos) as it starts to really snow at 2:50, 10 minutes early as I predict. I get some photos (will like to return at some point when it isn’t snowing) before boarding Pace bus Route 802 at 3:03 since it’s already waiting.

Continue reading as I take Pace Bus Route 802 to the UP West Line.