Commuter Trains will Continue to Run on Chicago's UP North, Northwest and West Lines
Chicago commuters receive safe, reliable service on the UP North, Northwest and West lines. This will not change. We have been clear with Metra that commuter trains will continue to run on these lines and service will not be degraded or halted. However, we are negotiating a new agreement that would eventually allow Metra to operate the service and take on the Union Pacific employees who currently perform these duties. Union Pacific would continue to maintain the track and manage train movement.
A new agreement would bring the UP-Metra service contract into alignment with contracts Union Pacific has with other commuter operators across its system. Union Pacific does not use its own employees to operate or maintain passenger operations anywhere in the 23 states where we operate, except the service we provide Metra. It also is similar to what Chicago commuters already experience on the Metra North Line, hosted by Canadian Pacific, or the Metra Southwest Line, hosted by Norfolk Southern.
Union Pacific and Metra have differing interpretations of the common carrier duty and whether Union Pacific has an obligation to operate commuter service in Chicago. In Dec. 2019, we asked a federal court in Chicago to determine a common understanding of the law because we believed the court was in the best position to resolve the parties' disagreement. The case has progressed in the court and could be ready for a decision as early as later this year. We disagree with Metra's effort to move the dispute to the Surface Transportation Board now.
Ultimately, we desire a mutually beneficial service agreement with Metra, allowing Metra to do what it does best - provide commuter rail service - and Union Pacific to deliver the goods Americans use every day. As the nation begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, every aspect of life is being re-examined. We are confident that the changes we are making can enhance future operations for both Union Pacific and Metra. Union Pacific believes Metra has the potential to realize economic efficiencies and other qualitative benefits through operating synergies and taking advantage of economies of scale that benefit Illinois taxpayers, while providing uniform service across the region.