CHICAGO (WBBM) — Metra is so happy with its test of “quiet cars” on its Rock Island District that it has decided to roll it out on all of its rush-hour trains.
Quiet cars arrive on the rest of the system June 6. Effective that day, the quiet cars on all lines, except the Electric District, will be the second from each end. On short trains, it will be the second car from the engine. On the Electric District, which has no engines, the quiet car will be the third car.
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In the test on the Rock Island District, the quiet cars have been at either end. But Metra Chief Transportation Officer George Hardwidge said there were complaints about using cab cars as quiet cars for a couple of reasons.
He said cab cars tend to be quite crowded, because they are the cars closest to the bumping post. And he said that cab cars, by law, must be equipped with the train’s bells and horns, making them noisier than the rest of the train.
Hardwidge said some equipment is being shuffled, but he said the lengths of trains should not change as the result of the introduction of the cars systemwide.
Quiet cars will remain rush-hour only, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekdays. He did not rule out extending the program to off-peak and weekend trains in the future, but said that could depend on the number of cars that are opened.
Quiet car riders will be asked not to engage in loud conversations or talk on cell phones. Conductors are charged with enforcing the rules, and Hardwidge said compliance during the Rock Island District test has been good, with only “isolated” problems.