Information published on 20 January 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 432.

Amtrak, United States: Plans now in effect to reduce winter cold at Chicago Union Station

Modified foot traffic patterns for Amtrak and Metra passengers

  • News from UIC members

Amtrak is changing traffic patterns for pedestrian flow at Chicago Union Station to improve temperature conditions for all passengers, other station users, vendors and railroad workers. These changes are effective immediately and will be in effect through Feb. 28.

This action by Amtrak as the station’s owner is in coordination with Metra and in sync with the commuter railroad’s needs and service disruption contingency plans. Limiting the use of some doors will improve the control of the influx winter air into the station, which is expected to reduce incidents such as sprinkler pipe break this week caused by the extreme cold.

However, no changes are planned for the entrances at the Chicago River, to and from Adams St. and Jackson Blvd., which are the highest volume routes for most station users. All exterior entry and exit locations remain in service.

The connecting corridor between the station’s North and South Concourses will be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Foot traffic to the ticket offices for Amtrak, Metra and Greyhound, to and from Canal St., or to and from other services will be redirected. Also, use of the automatic doors and escalators between the east side of Canal St. and the concourse will be limited in off-peak times. Elevators will operate at all times.

Doors to the service drive under the station are now for emergency use or during events in the Great Hall. Pedestrians will be directed instead through the Great Hall or to and from other entrances.

Chicago Union Station Winter Operations Plan – 2015

As the temperature drops, Amtrak and CBRE have taken a variety of steps this year to deal with the cold weather that Chicago Union Station addresses while serving more than 120,000 passengers daily.
The changes that Amtrak & CBRE have made are outlined below and will be activated until February 28th.

The “Metra Service Disruption Plan” when activated will pre-empt this plan.

Adjustment of the Station’s automatic door operation
To address the infiltration of cold air into the Station, some automatic door operation will be adjusted. Signage will be installed to address any change in pedestrian traffic patterns caused by the change in door operations. The operations of doors will be changed off peak hour periods, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. The doors affected by the Winter Operations Plan are listed below.

• Center Concourse Bi-Fold Doors – These doors will be closed off peak hours. Pedestrian traffic will be directed with signage through Amtrak’s Boarding Lounges to access the Canal Street and Madison Streets entrances/exits.

• Track 21 – 23 Doors – Doors will be closed. Passengers and authorized personnel will use Track 17-19 to access the Pass-Through Platform.

• North/South Service Drive Doors – Doors will be placed on manual operation. Access will be for emergency use or during events in the Great Hall. Signage will direct passengers to access Station services via the Great Hall.

Canal Street Main Entrance access
Off peak hours this entrance/exit will offer stair and elevator service only with the escalators turned off. Signage will placed on the interior and exterior to notify passengers of these access changes.

Madison Street Kiosk access
During the Winter Operations Plan, pedestrians and passengers looking to enter the CUS Concourse will be directed to do so by Passenger Platform 9 – 11. Passenger Platforms 5 – 7 and 13 – 15 should only be utilized to board trains.

(Source: Amtrak)