Van Buren Street Station and Millennium Station Platform Design and Track Reconfiguration

Location Chicago, Illinois

Owner Metra

Client Metra

  • Heavy Rail Transit Planning/Design
  • Railway Track Planning/Design
  • Station Planning/Design
  • Structural Design
  • Railroad Coordination
  • FTA Analysis/Study Documentation
  • Stormwater/Pavement Drainage Design
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Surveying

In anticipation of expanding service on Metra’s Electric District, Metra is adding new tracks from Balbo Drive to Millennium Station and providing new platforms at the Van Buren Street Station and the Millennium Station. To accommodate the new facilities, existing tracks at both stations will need to be reconfigured. Lochner is leading the design.

Located in Chicago’s historic Grant Park between Congress Parkway and Jackson Drive, the Van Buren Street Station has three main tracks (Tracks 1, 2 and 3) serving two platforms as well as four storage tracks (Tracks 4, 5, 5A and 6). Lochner’s design will add a second high‐level platform east of Track 4, where Track 5 is currently located. The new 720‐foot high‐level platform will be accompanied by a full‐length canopy and warming house. It will also include stairs up to Jackson Drive and stairs and an elevator down to a new pedestrian tunnel under Tracks 3 and 4 connecting to the existing station. The new platform will serve Track 4, which will be converted into a main track, and Track 5 will be shifted east. Tracks 5A and 6 will be extended south to Balbo Drive, and a new Track 7 will be constructed adjacent to Track 6. Given the historic context of the station, the Lochner team is coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration to confirm the project will be permitted as a categorical exclusion. The team also includes an architectural firm experienced in developing designs appropriate for historic locations.

Lochner’s design for the underground Millennium Station will reconfigure existing tracks and add a new platform. Currently, the upper level station has six tracks serving three platforms as well as one storage track. A new high‐level platform will be constructed on the east side of the storage track. The reconfigured tracks will provide two routes in and out of the station, increasing its capacity and allowing trains to continue to operate if a track becomes blocked.

All trains serving Van Buren Street and Millennium Stations are electrically powered from an overhead catenary system. The Lochner team is designing modifications to the system including new supports, modifications to existing supports, relocating existing wires, and adding new wires where required.

As Metra’s Electric District is Metra’s busiest line with over 100 revenue movements each way and numerous moves from the Millennium Station to mid‐day storage, the new and reconfigured tracks will need to be constructed on weekends, keeping all tracks open for service during the week. Lochner is developing a construction sequence and staging plan that will define each step of the track and platform construction as well as the associated catenary work.

Additional Lochner responsibilities include holding regular coordination meetings with project partners as well as overseeing the project’s drainage, utility, survey, geotechnical, and environmental work.

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