Metra's Electric District is the 5th busiest commuter rail line in Chicago, and the only one of which is electrified. It runs for 31 miles from Millenium Station in Chicago to University Park in the suburbs, and has a total of 49 stations, most of which are of wooden construction. The Route In TSW, the route would ideally be the entirety of the Metra Electric District. This includes the full 31 mile mainline from Millenium Station to University Park, the 5 mile branch to Blue Island, and the other 4 mile branch to South Chicago (93rd Street). Metra's operations on this line include all-stops, express, and semi-fast trains, plus NICTD's South Shore Line and Canadian National's freight trains. Southbound (away from Chicago) Northbound (towards Chicago) The Illinois Central completed its mainline from Chicago to New Orleans by the 1870s, and had developed a large commuter network. When Central Station was completed in 1893, the IC's former main station, Randolph Street, became the hub for the commuter lines. By the end of the First World War, there were over 300 steam departures daily from Randolph Street. In 1919, the first of many improvements was made when all but one of the at-grade crossings on the main line were eliminated. In 1926, the line was electrified at 1.5kV DC, and new electric multiple units were ordered. In 1971, a replacement set of bilevel Highliner cars were ordered from the St. Louis Car Company, which served until 2016. In 1967, the Chicago RTD began funding the commuter service, and electrification was extended a short distance south to where the line ends today at University Park. The line was purchased in its entirety by the newly-formed Metra in 1986. Starting from 2005, Nippon Sharyo began delivery of the Highliner II, which were also purchased by the South Shore Line. The route is mostly 4 tracks, with 2 for commuter service and the other 2 being for Canadian National freight trains and Amtrak's City of New Orleans, Illini, and Saluki trains to Union Station. In some places, there can be as many as 6-8 tracks, however. The South Chicago branch is 2 tracks all the way, while the Blue Island branch and the main line from Richton Park to University Park are both just 1 track. Freight travels mostly to and from the large yard at Homewood, although I believe there are some local industries along the line. Services The route sees commuter service from both Metra and the South Shore Line, and Amtrak service from Union Station to Homewood. From Millennium Station, Metra has 80 weekday departures and South Shore has 20. Of these 30 go to South Chicago, 21 go to Blue Island, and 29 go all the way to University Park. South Shore trains use Metra Electric tracks as far as 111th Street/Pullman, then branch off and proceed another 70 or so miles out to South Shore, Indiana. There are 84 inbound trains daily to Millennium Station as well, with the breakdown of services being roughly similar. 30 trains come from South Chicago, 21 come from Blue Island, and 33 originate at University Park. Canadian National also operates a large number of freight trains south from Homewood to other major hubs such as Memphis. They also run a number of local freights to service industries at various points along the line. While not really in the scope of the route, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Indiana Harbor Belt all operate yards close to the main line, and interchange moves would be somewhat common. Amtrak runs to Union Station via the St. Charles Air Line, and as such would not really fit on the route. As it is, there are only 2 rounds trips daily - the City of New Orleans and the Illini and Saluki, which are different names given to the northbound and southbound runs. Important Locations Millenium Station South Chicago/93rd Street Blue Island Homewood Markham Yard (Homewood) University Park Rolling Stock Metra livery NICTD/South Shore livery Nippon Sharyo Highliner II Built by Nippon Sharyo from 2005, they are now the primary EMUs on the line. Metra operates the largest fleet, but the South Shore Line has bought a few to bolster their roster. The route would ideally come with both liveries as I do not believe there are any major differences between the two. The bodyshell is based on that of the Nippon Sharyo gallery car. In real life, the South Shore do operate a second type of EMU, but I personally don't think it warrants the dev time because it's not a central part of the route. EMD SD70M-2 The main freight workhorse of the route, Canadian National rosters 190 of these. They are seen mostly on road freights, so on this route that would be between Homewood and University Park. Built for CN between 2007 and 2011, they are some of EMD's latest freight units on the market. EMD GP38-2 Everyone's favorite road switcher is back, with a vengeance. Canadian National might have purchased the Illinois Central in 1999, but a surprising amount of locomotives are still kicking around in the old IC paint to this day. This would run the local and yard switching services from Homewood. Freight Stock The freight rolling stock included in CN: Oakville Subdivision would honestly be fine, although there are two additions to the fleet I'd like to see. Firstly, a different type of hopper other than the Trinity one that's come with everything so far. Secondly, a different type of boxcar. Both of these things would go a long way towards improving the realism of the route by a large amount. Another way to do this is to repaint the boxcars into a variety of fictional leaser liveries with different colors, just to get that traditional mixed train look. One other thing I would like to see are the double stack container cars from Heavy Haul. Final Thoughts While at a first glance the Metra Electric District doesn't seem like it has a ton of replayability, I think the variety of services and branching nature of the route makes it an ideal candidate for TSW. Additional functionality could be brought to the route by using substitution from the Oakville Subdivision on the GP38-2 services to provide a more modern look for the route with the CN/IC liveries side by side. The route also brings some possible DLC opportunities, such as the P42 or the Siemens Charger that Amtrak now uses on their Midwest trains, and additional CN locomotives. As always, feel free to leave feedback below.