This line is a favorite of railfans, with an abundance of Metra, Amtrak and freight trains maneuvering around each other on a three track CTC equipped line. The first suburb outside Chicago is Cicero, location of the main freight yard, and historically the location of the Hawthorne Works where Bell telephones were once manufactured. The Hawthorne Works location is now occupied by a shopping center. After Cicero is Berwyn, followed by many quaint old suburbs, which form scenic backdrops for train watching and photography. Brookfield is served by two stations, the Hollywood stop is closest to Brookfield Zoo. A favorite spot along the line is the Highlands station. Trains only stop at Highlands during weekday rush hours, but more regular service is available at Hinsdale, 1/2 mile to the west. Undeveloped land used to exist at the outer end of the line near Naperville. But Naperville has grown rapidly to become Chicago's largest suburb, and new houses have gobbled up almost all remaining land. Service ends at Aurora, which has a new station which was constructed out of what was originally a Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad shops administration building. Next to the station is an old Roundhouse, originally developed by the late Chicago Bears player Walter Payton into a microbrewery and restaurant. An outdoor patio dining area occupies the middle, where the turntable had been. The area near the station has become more touristy over the past few years, since the opening of the Hollywood Casino riverboat, a few blocks away along the Fox River. Weekdays are the best days to ride this Metra line, because of more frequent Metra trains and the opportunity to experience the rush hour. The rush hour features frequent express trains racing through on the center track, passing local trains making stops on an outside track. And "flips", which turn around and run empty in the reverse direction to enable more efficient equipment utilization. And trains frequently switching tracks at the many CTC interlockings. The afternoon rush hour is usually the most convenient for railfans, and can be experienced either at one of the stations, or by riding an inbound train and meeting all those outbound trains.

Speed Limit: 70 mph


Scenes along the line.


Freight and Amtrak action on line.