This Saturday will be the last chance this season for Chicago area residents to use Metra’s Heritage Corridor to explore the “Rails, Trails and Ales” – and more - along the historic route on Saturdays.
Metra has operated the Saturday excursion trains, equipped with Metra’s new bike cars to carry extra bikes, along the route all summer, but the last runs for this season will be this weekend. Outbound trains 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 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 here.
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.