Metra will be offering special service on the Heritage Corridor Line on ten Saturdays this summer, giving Chicago area residents opportunities to explore the bike and running paths, festivals, craft breweries, restaurants, and vibrant communities along the historic route.
The excursions, dubbed “Rails, Trails and Ales,” will provide three round-trip trains, each equipped with Metra’s new bike cars to carry extra bikes, on ten consecutive Saturdays from July 2 through Sept. 3. The trains will leave Chicago Union Station at 10:30 a.m. 4:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. and make all stops to Joliet. Inbound trips will depart Joliet at 8 a.m., 1:45 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. making all stops to Union Station. The schedule also provides an opportunity for those living along the Heritage Corridor to use Metra for trips to the city on Saturdays. Full schedules can be viewed at here.
“Summer is a great time to explore the entire Chicago region and adding this special excursion service is an affordable way for My Metra riders to explore some areas that aren’t normally served by trains on weekends,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “Bring your bike on board and ride a bike path. Check out a weekend festival. Ride a zip line. There are scores of possibilities along the Heritage Corridor Line.”
Metra’s Heritage Corridor Line was named after the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal Heritage Corridor, which the rail line parallels. Many of the towns that are now stops on the line are closely linked to the canal’s creation, with rich and interesting histories, and bike paths that use the canal’s former towpath or connect with it are accessible from many of those stops.
In this time of record-high gas prices, Metra’s $7 Saturday Day Pass, which offers unlimited rides for a single fare, makes exploring the Chicago region by rail an unbeatable bargain. Metra’s Family Fares, which allow, three children, age 11 and under to ride free with a fare-paying adult, can be used in conjunction with the Saturday Pass. A list of some of the sites, restaurants, breweries, and biking/hiking paths near each Heritage Corridor stop can be found here.