Metra extending to Elburn, no plans for DeKalb station

By Shivangi Potdar

With gas prices rising steadily, public transportation such as Metra looks increasingly attractive. Area residents are left to wonder if Metra will ever extend to DeKalb.

Metra spokesman Tom Miller said, “We’re not really looking to expand to DeKalb.”

Miller said Metra is not currently looking to expand beyond the six county area: Lake, McHenry, Cook, DuPage, Will and Kane.

“We’re fully engaged with expansion projects we have at hand,” he said.

One such project is the expansion of the West line to Elburn.

DeKalb is approximately 15 miles from Elburn and 23 miles from Geneva, home to Metra’s closest station.

A big factor to deter Metra from heading this way is the price tag associated with it.

Miller said expanding the line from Geneva to Elburn, which is only eight miles away, will cost more than $100 million.

DeKalb City Manager Mark Biernacki said another disadvantage of bringing the commuter rail service to DeKalb would be that it would make the city a bedroom community, where people return only to sleep.

Biernacki said it is possible to see Metra in DeKalb but not for many years, since the level of ridership needed to support such a line is not here.

Commuters that enjoy the service out of Geneva will now find it much more convenient from Elburn, he said.

DeKalb resident Kelly Joy said, “If we’re making long trips to Chicago, since gas prices are going up, it would probably be more economical [to take Metra].”

Joy said a lot of students are from Chicago and they don’t bring cars, so a Metra station in DeKalb would be beneficial.

However, Joy said she would not use Metra very frequently.

Another resident, Chad Tinsley, felt he could use Metra here.

Tinsley said bringing Metra to DeKalb would mean he would not have to drive to Geneva to take the train.

Junior history major Matt Hardy was in favor of seeing Metra in DeKalb.

“It would be really cool to be able to hop on the Metra and be in the city,” Hardy said.

He said it would be cheaper to get home and he could visit the city more often.