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Metra and Union Pacific Railroad late last week broke ground on a $100 million project to add third track along a portion of the UP West Line.Nearly 8 miles of third track will be constructed in the only two remaining double-track segments on the line, which runs from Chicago to Elburn, Ill. The groundbreaking ceremony marked the start of construction on the project's first 1.8-mile section, which lies east of the Des Plaines River in River Forest, Ill.Later this year, third track will be added along a 6.1-mile segment from West Chicago to Geneva.Although Metra doesn't have plans to increase service on the line, upgrading the entire line to three tracks is expected to alleviate current congestion, as well as freight and commuter train conflicts, Metra officials said in a press release."Adding these track segments will reduce the potential for delays and improve the travel experience for the 30,000 Metra riders who rely on this line each weekday," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. "Residents along the UP West Line will also benefit from shorter wait times at crossings and fewer freight trains idling on the tracks."The third track installation is the fourth phase of a larger UP West Line improvement project. That project's first phase focused on safety enhancements at Metra stations, such as the installation of a new train warning system.
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